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Symbolism of the Summer

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 Kenny Muzzey

“What do you think this is symbolic of?” Our professor questioned the class. Hands shot up like whac-a-moles out of their dark box hoping for a glimpse of the flashy lights, prizes, and people within the arcade. As the ideas and inputs flew about the room creating further discussion and deliberation, I raised my hand. Patiently, but eagerly waiting for the professor to call upon me. Finally! “I understand the concept of symbolism, don’t get me wrong, but isn‘t it entirely possible that there is no specific meaning behind this? I mean, take it for what it is worth. Couldn’t symbolism just be a case of an individual with an overactive imagination?” I asked. To this day I do not know if I necessarily believed the slop that I had just dished out, but it was not so much about the question as it was about her response.

The end of summer. What is that symbolic of? What comes to mind? A return to school perhaps? These questions, their answers, the factors that affect your individual response, depend on a variety of variables. Mainly, who you are, simple stuff really, do you have children, are you a student, what age you are, where you live, what you do. They are all fickle factors that influence your interpretation of input.

For a lot of people this time of year, the end of the summer is symbolic of the beginning of school. The death of freedom and a return to a routine as students transition from simplicity to structure. On the contrary, school can hold a much different meaning. Parents see the opposite side of the spectrum, more freedom, less routine, as their children return to the drudgery of another school year. Others view returning to school as an opportunity, an investment, and a future. They see it as a better job, a higher income, a chance for more. While another grouping of individuals feel as it is their chance to escape, escape their parents, their jobs or internships; escape adulthood for a few more years, and most importantly a temporary escape from the “real” world even if it is for four short years.

"Yes and no.” My professor stated, “Writers place symbols within their works to characterize concepts or ideas that they deem important.” She went on to explain that furthermore, the symbols can be representative of events from the era, the socioeconomic status of the world, a peoples struggle for freedom, civil rights, or just one individual’s desire to be heard. The part that stuck with me is how these symbols change with the times and adapt to the new environment, much like we, as individuals, become tailored to our environment. What it boils down to is the person, the symbol, and the meaning they assign to it.  Sometimes it is not necessarily about the question, but the reaction and the response.

~Kenny Muzzey~  

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