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Color Symbolism in Short Stories and Poems

Autor:   •  December 1, 2012  •  Essay  •  626 Words (3 Pages)  •  3,017 Views

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Both the short story "Clothes" by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and the poem "Oranges" by Gary Soto use the literary strategy of color symbolism. The poem and short story are similar in that they both use color to represent emotion and transitions involving maturity. However they are different in that the authors choose to use it in different ways and to achieve different goals.

In "Clothes" the author uses color symbolism and analogy to express the emotional changes that the main character is going through and to anchor her to her Indian beliefs during her transition from girl to women. The author gives many examples of color that represent established Indian beliefs. For example,the girl describes her bride-viewing sari as follows: "Its body was a pale pink, like the dawn sky over the women's lake. The color of transition." She talks about her preference for a certain color

of sari for her flight to America; "I wanted a blue one for the journey, because blue is the color of possibility". She also uses color as an anchor to her previous life; for example, "I love the color, the same pale blue as the nayantara flowers that grow in my parent's garden." In this quote she is talking about her new jeans but at the same time alluding to something back in India

and anchoring herself with this thought. Finally, she begins to

develop her own color connections when she decides to stay in

America after her husband dies. She wants to forge a new life for

herself. This is shown when she says; "She wears a blouse and

skirt the color of almonds the color of the earth and seeds." This

connection may represent new growth and new beginnings.

These examples along with others in the story support the idea

that color represents the main character's attempt to find a

sense of security in a time of great personal change.

In contrast, "Oranges" by Gary Soto uses color symbolism to

illustrate the main character's emotions. In the poem he uses

light and fire and bright colors such as orange, yellow and red.

The color orange symbolizes the main character's excitement

about taking out the girl, the possibility for bright and joyful

beginnings. Her "rouge cheeks" indicate that she is the focus of

his

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