Symbolism is the term used when we use an object to represent something else. Often, we use tangible symbols-actual objects-to represent ideas or qualities that are not tangible. These ideas and qualities are typically abstract nouns (remember, that an abstract noun is an idea or concept that cannot be seen or touched).
3. White-peace; surrender
5. Red-love (in some cultures, red means other things)
8. Fire-knowledge; passion
Examples of Symbolism in Literature
1. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but . . . sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." From Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird (The mockingbird is a symbol for an innocent person who is harmed-like Tom is harmed in the book.)
2. In The Hunger Games, Katniss covers Rue's body with flowers: "I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do that there is a part of every tribute they can't own. That Rue was more than a piece in their Games. And so am I." (The flowers are a symbol of her humanity; a tribute to her as a person.)