Going down by history, various authors have been utilizing symbols to write their literary pieces. Anybody who has a habit of reading English literature will not miss spotting the usage of symbols. However, individuals who have just begun reading or students tasked to write a literature review on ‘what does rain symbolize in literature’ will be unable to notice the symbol or understand its significance. The main purpose for utilizing symbols in literature is to captivate the reader’s attention, who appreciates reading their works.
Considering the works of poets, they generally try to present meaning through their poetries. The meaning could be in the form of a personal experience or the things impacting humanity. They use symbols to bring out secondary meanings to their expressions. Barring this, symbols also help to fill the gaps. Symbolism is a great way to make you understand something you could not understand through words. Using symbols can nonetheless be difficult for both the author and the reader. In the next section of this blog on what does rain symbolize in literature, we will discuss in detail the usage and significance of rain in literature.
The usage of symbols in literature requires careful examination. However, certain symbols are clear and can be seen from far-off places. Water is one such symbol that is widely used in literature. The form can be different, as it still remains water at the end. Writers use lakes, streams, waterfalls, rivers, or rain to depict water. There is a certain apparent context of water in our lives, which will be discussed in this part of the blog on what does rain symbolize in literature.
Water portrays life, purity, spirituality, cleansing, and washing away sins. Water is an essential requirement and an ideal source of life. Birth and rebirth are often discussed in the context of water. It is one of the vital forms of baptism among Christians, and it symbolizes spiritual death and resurrection. It is to say that water is an obvious symbol of spiritual births. What does rain symbolize in literature? It symbolizes the appearance of life in addition to spiritual birth.
In the contemporary wasteland, April is the cruelest month for people. It portrays a rebirth; hence people like winters that represent spiritual death. Eliot, an author, uses Tiresias as his protagonist to tell something engaging about contemporary people. The protagonist loves traveling and has arrived from the German prince. His association with family, relatives, and other community members has been completed severed.
The materialistic comforts of life surround him. Elliot uses symbols to describe culture, life and morality, and spirituality. He demonstrates that contemporary individuals are like the German prince. Today, people are more associated with physical comforts than religion or morals. In Munich, the shower of rain in the winter overtakes their time. But the people fail to understand the purifying nature of rain and try to take shelter by hiding themselves. For the author, the significance of rain is limited to creating a nuisance.
What does rain symbolize in literature; the question can be analyzed from various angles. Shelly, a poet, has a different viewpoint concerning rain. Her poem, ‘Cloud,’ depicts that rain begins from the cloud before reviving the soil. Clouds take the role of a gardener who waters the flowers through the rains and helps the birds enjoy misty mornings on the buds.
Rain, in this case, is symbolized as a good harvest. Rain, in such cases, is central to life and existence, completely contradictory to what is represented through Eliot’s work, where individuals disregard the fertilizing nature of the rains. They tend to look for places to take shelter from the rain.
The life of Tiresias, depicted in this blog on what does rain symbolize in literature, demonstrates spiritual barrenness and the end of contemporary civilization. The extent of contemporary civilization emerges only as dead trees, shells of stones, and dry stones with no sound of water. It is clear from the work that distance from spiritualism has descended upon the people.
Milton, another great writer in her book, ‘4 Paradise Lost,’ has given an account of Eve’s surprises concerning her roots. Eve’s relationship with Adam kindles back as she sees her reflection in the lake. She is moving on a track to self-realization. Her thoughts tell her that she has given birth to humankind.
The instances shared above in this blog on what does rain symbolize in literature about Tiresias and Eve depict two things. On one side, Tiresias finds nothing around, whereas Eve finds her inner self after looking at her reflection in the water.
It is said that Egyptians first utilized the Tarot Pack of 78 cards to foretell the increasing level of water in the Nile River, which epitomized the coming back of fertility. It is totally in contradiction with what we see today. The card here is being used in fortune telling, which is a hundred percent hoax and illegal. The God of rain is symbolized as the Phoenician sailor who drowned.
To symbolize summer’s death, God’s effigy was drowned in the river. The tale of the drowned Phoenician can be identified with an English myth of King Fisher, whose injuries bring barrenness to the land. The instance portrays a curse that affected Europe in the twentieth century.
It also unearths the reality of the sly utilized by fortune tellers of the contemporary era. Drowning reminds individuals that water is not the only way to die; people can also die due to spiritual dryness over the wasteland.
The poetry of William Wordsworth demonstrates a different angle of the water than what has been discussed previously in this blog on what does rain symbolize in literature. The poem ‘The Prelude,’ refers to lakes which is a different way of discussing water. He looks back at his younger days when he was a boy and had freedom and entrapment.
Being a curious boy, he once at night took a boat from a shepherd for a ride. He thinks about a cliff and rides deep into the lake, but the cliff’s height and rising water make him shiver down his spine. The shining and clear view of the lake among the mountains aroused curiosity in the boy.
Resisting the welcoming and serene nature of lakes and waters is tough. Similarly, William could not resist going into the lake, so he took the boat at an odd time. However, the rising water made him change his perspective. The once safe waters changed into wretched and fearful waters.
He wanted to take pleasure through the ride, but the experience made him panic as it was difficult for him to return. Though the water seems quiet and peaceful after his return, he still has troubles in his chest due to the experience. The freedom and entrapment that we had discussed previously in this blog on what does rain symbolize in literature is clearly depicted through Wordsworth’s discussion.
In this blog on what does rain symbolize in literature, we came across two kinds of poems discussing the dreadful experiences of water. In one, the fear of dying by drowning in the water is depicted, and in the other, there is a little calmness in the beginning, but going deep, it becomes a horrifying lake expedition.
In a different instance, a woman comes to her lover and tries to find out whether or not he remembers or knows anything. The lover responds that he recollects only one sentence: ‘ Those are pearls, that were his eyes.’ The sentence has been quoted from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The sentence came automatically without any relation to neither spirituality nor giving any idea about the transformation of the man.
Through the sentence, the writer referred to a person who stayed in the water for long after drowning. His eyes turning into pearls signify that he is about to die if he remains underwater. The conscience of the individuals in the contemporary world has changed lifeless like the eyes.
The writer John Donne refers to a sad lover who has to depart from his soul mate. Donne, in his poetry, ‘A Valediction: of Weeping,’ represents water in the form of tears. He refuses to hold her at the poem’s beginning but gets hold of his lover’s reflection in his tears as they roll down his eyes. Although they are departing, they are still enjoined together. The lover’s tears become his fruit and logo as he goes through his grief when he has moved away. He says his tears will not stop after the lover leaves him, and he will continue sailing along the water.
At the point at which individuals begin to cry, their eyes are filled with tears making it impossible to see one another. As previously discussed in this blog on what does rain symbolize in literature in the wasteland, individuals are waiting for something to shake their dull lives; however, in the poem by Donne, departure takes a central stage than anticipation.
Rain symbolism can also be found when water and fishing are regeneration signs. It was compared to a change in society. But, in the modern world, the two things have lost their spiritual; symbolism. Another author, D.H Lawrence, considers water a crucial human existence requirement. No one can imagine life without water; even in the present world, people believe in saving water. Going by the daily news, you will realize that people are encouraged to preserve water in any form.
However, it is quite contrasting with the people of wasteland that we had discussed in this blog on what does rain symbolize in literature. The people there are wasting water to make their skin softer.
Through his poetry, D.H Laurence has tried to show what does rain symbolize in literature; for instance, in one of the lines, he says, ‘A snake came to my water-trough on a hot day, I in pajamas for heat, to drink there.’ At the start of the poem, the writer depicts water as a drinking item, and then a snake comes into the water and poisons it when it gets into its mouth. The poet wants to quench his thirst but cannot, as he has to deal with the snake. The snake notices the poet but continues to drink.
Mathew Arnold, another poet, contributes to what does rain symbolize in literature by depicting his obsession with water in his poem, ‘Dover Beach.’ Each section of the poem depicts water as amounting to sadness, mystery, and tears. At the start of the poem, he refers to the patience of the sea during the full tide.
He discusses the Dover Straits that look bright beneath the moon. The poet asks his lover to come and see the motion of the waves. However, the poet brings a twist to the calmness by referencing a sad explanation of the waves by Greek dramatist Sophocles. As per Sophocles, the sound of waves makes him remember human tragedies.
The poet talks about the flowing of the sea of religious faith in ancient times. But since then, the concept has been surrounded by doubt and disbelief leading the world into cheerlessness and barrenness. For him, religion has lost its grip making the people more skeptical about humanity.
The Waste Land poetry of Eliot, in part IV, ‘Death by Water,’ symbolizes water clearly through its title. In this literature, water was more about purification than regeneration. Water is like destruction in the present day society of desolation. Although it is not the water that has changed its function, instead, the men have become inhuman. Wealth and worldly pleasures have taken over human emotions.
On similar lines, A.K Ramanujan has tried to depict what does rain symbolize in literature through his poetry, ‘The River.’ Through his poem, he portrays water as a flood that takes the lives of the villagers, along with a pregnant woman. The damages that water brings in the form of floods each year concern him.
The poet is from India, from the city of temples, Madurai. He states that each year during summer, rivers flow through the city. First, it flows as a narrow stream, and then rainwater makes it a flood. Various obstacles prevent the water from passing through the gates. After the floods, the bridges are repaired to restore their structure. The poet has tried to showcase the destructive side of rainwater through the literature. So, for both poets, Eliot and A.K Ramanujan, what does rain symbolize in literature? It is destruction.
It can be concluded that rain in literature symbolizes water’s positive and negative sides. This blog on what rain symbolize in literature shows that it is both life-giving and life-threatening, considering how society perceives it. It is evident from this blog on what does rain symbolize in literature that the contemporary world has become disintegrated from its morals and spirituality, making water useless.
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