I agree it's a valid trope, and the examples on the trope page itself fit its description, but seeing it used properly outside of that seems to be an exception. Like I said, people just seem to be using this any time they want to discuss symbolism. I'll take some examples to illustate.
Rule of Symbolism
: The film, despite taking a lot of flak for its derivative plot, makes judicious use of symbols: dreams, twins/doubles, living inside another body...
In "Winter Is Coming," the Starks find two dead animals who died fighting each other - a stag and a direwolf. The latter has six pups which map directly onto the Stark children (including Jon Snow
, who gets an albino who ran or was driven away from the others). Everyone is disturbed by this in-universe, as the symbolism of the house sigils is very important in Westeros.
All these are just pointing out and explaining the symbolic elements in the work in question, which is not
what the trope is about (according to its description, it should only be used for when symbolic elements are shoved into a work and their inclusion is justified pretty much only by their symbolic meaning, and these examples certainly don't count, especially as their writers make no attempts to explain how these elements are inexplicable). It's as if Rule of Funny
were being linked to just for discussing and explaining funny elements in a work, but not to point out where suspension of disbelief is stretched for the sake of humor. I haven't really looked into that, and I hope that's not common, but if it is, it would be wrong too.
For contrast, here's an example of a seemingly valid use of the trope, but it's a rare exception:
Rule of Symbolism
: By Word Of God
, the reason for the seeming Big Lipped Alligator Moment
, "Paris Holds the Key to Your Heart", is not merely to show off Bernadette Peters, nor 1920's Paris, but a reflection of both cultural progress at the time and Anastasia's Character Development
. On the one hand, Russia was dying while the rest of Europe was explosively alive, with much of this renaissance based in Paris; on the other hand, this ties into Anya leaving a dead world for one vibrant and alive, paralleling her leaving behind an empty, soulless existence for one where she could bloom, grow, and begin a new, happy life.
Here the symbolic element is a Big Lipped Alligator Moment
(by definition an somewhat inexplicable scene that doesn't advance the plot) which seems to be there mainly to get some symbolism across - just what Rule of Symbolism
Maybe discussions of symbolism within a work should just go to a works' YMMV page (under a new meta concept trope called Symbolism, Symbolic Themes, etc.) or even its own special page; I think Rule of Symbolism
is being abused because people have no other outlet for discussing symbolism. Funny stuff and cool (= awesome) stuff have their own crowning sections, but symbolic stuff has only Rule of Symbolism
edited 10th Jul '12 7:55:24 PM by spellraiser