Symbolism Within Essay, Research Paper
Symbolism in various means of media, such as film or literature, can be vital to fully understanding the message the author or director is trying to get across. Works such as The Secret Garden and the human era development myth, The Four Ages are no exception. The symbols used throughout the previously mentioned pieces of work are not quite as obvious, but still contribute to the emotional impact of the message conveyed. Such basic elements as the setting of a film help set the mood for the audience. As well, carefully chosen colours provide intuition into the emotional aspects of the work. The naming of eras experienced in The Four Ages provides a deeper insight to the nature of the era and extracts the necessity for a full explaination of the period.
The environmental surroundings in the film, The Secret Garden, are an excellent example of setting the mood for the audience. In the opening credits, the viewers are shown a small girl, Mary Lennox, being dressed by, what seem to be, her servants or maids in a plain, dimly lit room. A bit further into the film, Mary is shown wandering around an impoverished town in India wearing a dress unsuitable for the occasion. She is then shown tumbling down a small hill, while no one takes notice. Through the voice-over narration, the audience is enlightened on her family situation. Mary s parents are so involved in their work and social events that they neglect to take care of their daughter and so her childhood suffers. This is one reason Mary despises life in India. When Mary looses her parents to an earthquake, she shows no sign of morning when she moves in with her Uncle residing in England. However, the gloomy, damp climate of her new home in England clues the audience into the fact that she does miss her parents and feels just as lonely as she did while her parents were still alive. As Mary explores her new surroundings, she finds a garden dedicated to her deceased Aunt. It appears to have been closed up for some time, as everything in the garden is dead. This is a symbol of the deep sorrow, felt by her Uncle for his lost wife, and the repressed feelings both he and Mary possess. As Mary explores the garden more thoroughly, she discovers a new bud sprouting. This represents new life as well as an insight into Mary s future of a new beginning and the potential she may have to a happy or better life. After Mary is granted permission to tend to the garden and plant new flowers, she treats it with great care and respect. The audience is then wowed by the serene beauty of the hidden garden that grew out of the vast amount of time Mary and her friends put all their heart and soul into. An enormous feeling of accomplishment is felt by all as the audience realizes that Mary s lonely, boring, and emotionless life has come to an end and is moving on to a new life full of joy and emotions. The carefully chosen colours also accentuate this feeling of hope.
The thought put into choosing the colours of clothing adds to the emotional impact felt throughout the film. Before Mary discovers the secret garden, most of her wardrobe consists of dark, dull colours. These colours only add to understanding Mary s inability to express her feelings and emotions. However, when Mary is shown dancing around her new creation of beauty, it is filled with vibrant colours, and she is dressed in a clean, white sundress. The audience is given the impression of purity and innocence and the sense of a new beginning is only further electrified. Along with colour choice, name and word selection are a carefully planned component to creating moods.
When the author of the myth, The Four Ages chose to the name the eras after medals received in competition, the audience is provided with an impression of the environment for that period. For example, the first age mentioned is the Golden Age. During this age, the reader has an instant feeling of an ideal era. This perception is then strengthened by the description following the naming of the age. No laws, judges, or punishment was needed, there was no need to travel or destroy the fruitful earth, and everything was supplied for man by nature. As the myth continues, the reader is introduced to the next age, the Age of Silver. Naturally, because of the association to medals, this age is perceived to still be ideal, however, less appealing characteristics exist. For example, the four seasons are introduced along with the need for man to build and invent new paraphernalia to remain alive. The Age of Bronze follows the Age of Silver and is thought of as even less appealing. As in the preceding ages, this impression is strengthened as the author describes mans natural adaptation of aggressiveness and slyness. The final age, the Iron Age brought on images of total chaos and lack of care towards the earth and its elements. By naming the ages after medals received in competitions, a thorough description in not necessary to understanding the status of the era. A gold medal is received for the best performance, and so The Golden Age only seems a suitable name for the ideal life. The rest of the ages just follow suit in order of the ideal to the unideal ways of life. Environment, colour choice and word selection is only a few examples of the symbolism used within various forms of media.
Without the usage of symbolism, many pieces of work, such as The Secret Garden and The Four Ages , would have to be lengthened greatly in order to fully describe the important aspects of the work to sufficiently understand the purpose of the work. Whether it is to portray an ideal world or express the emotions felt by the characters, symbolism is a mechanic of great importance.