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Old 19 February 2014, 03:15 PM
A Turtle Named Mack's Avatar
A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
Join Date: 21 June 2007
Location: Marietta, GA
Posts: 21,451

Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
How does one "overdo" seeing symbolism in things?

ETA: If g-you see it, you see it.
I have often heard or read people talking about symbolism in different things where there is no sense to the symbolism claimed, and it seems to be just that person's imposition of their own attitudes on a work, utterly unsupported by the work, and with no explanation for how the presence of X actually means Y. Back to the Charlie Brown Christmas as an example, trying to adduce symbolism to each of the various dance moves of the Peanuts gang beyond the fact that they were all dancing would be to impose meaning that the artists did not put into the work. You can reflect on that as showing them living in the moment as a good thing, or as ignoring the Christmas pageant they are supposed to be preparing as a bad thing, or some variation on that. But the dancing is just dancing; it is what they are doing. It reflects their mental state. If you want to call it symbolic of their mental state, I am okay with that, but if you were to try to claim particular meanings beyond that to the dance moves, you had better at least be able to explain a substantial basis for your claims, either in traditional symbolism or how the symbolism works in the context of the show. Some things are just setting or description. In A Horse With No Name, both the horse and 'the river that flowed' are symbolic - they mean something beyond just a horse and a dry riverbed. But the 'plants and hills and rocks and things' are just setting the scene of being in a desert; they do not symbolize being in a desert, they ARE the desert. To put it simply, 'sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.'
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