Symbols, Universal Symbols, Contextual Symbols, Allusions, and Irony.

symbol (sim-bol): a symbol is a word or object that stands for another word or object. The object or word can be seen with the eye or not visible. For example a dove stands for Peace. The dove can be seen and peace cannot



For example, the infinity symbol is a symbol to show infinity. You can see the symbol, but you cannot see actual infinity.

 Universal symbol: a word or object that most everyone agrees on the meaning



This image is an example of a universal symbol. The skull and crossbones stand for poison. So, if you see this symbol on a box or bucket, please don’t eat what is inside of the container.

Contextual symbol: a word or object that stands for something else just in the story or situation.

allusion (a-LOO-zhuhn):  a reference in a literary work to a person, place, or thing in history or another work of literature. Allusions are often indirect or brief references to well-known characters or events. Allusions are often used to summarize broad, complex ideas or emotions in one quick, powerful image.



The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins has many allusions hidden within the book. One example is the arena where the contestants compete in ‘The Hunger Games.’ The arena is meant to allusion the Coliseum in Rome, where chosen contestants would fight to the death for the entertainment of people. 

irony (i-RAH-nee):  a literary term referring to how a person, situation, statement, or circumstance is not as it would actually seem. Many times it is the exact opposite of what it appears to be.



An example of irony is in the story, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. In the story after Romeo is banished from the town for killing Juliet’s cousin, Juliet is told she must marry Paris, but Juliet is in love and secretly married with Romeo. In desperate need to get out of marrying Paris, Juliet takes a potion that will put her in a coma for forty-two hours. Soon, Romeo is told from a servant that Juliet is supposedly dead. Romeo then commits suicide by drinking a potion. When Juliet awakes from the potion effects she is told Romeo is dead, and also commits suicide. 


One thought on “Symbols, Universal Symbols, Contextual Symbols, Allusions, and Irony.

  1. good allusion, but how do we know it’s making a reference to the coliseum? I’m confused about the irony for Romeo and Juliet. This all bad timing but not setting us up for the opposite to happen.

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