Entertainment / Literature / Cultural Symbol: A symbol widely or generally accepted as meaning something specific within an entire culture or social group, as opposed to a contextual symbol created by a single author that has meaning only within a single work or group of works. Examples of cultural symbols in Western culture include the cross as a symbol of Christianity, the American flag as a symbol of America's colonial history of thirteen colonies growing into fifty states, the gold ring as a symbol of marital commitment, the Caduceus as a symbol of medicine, and the color black as a symbol of mourning. Examples of cultural symbols in other cultures include white as a symbol of mourning in Japan, the Yin-Yang sphere as an oriental symbol of oppositional forces in balance, the white crane as a symbol of longevity in Mandarin China, and so forth. Any writer in a specific culture could use one of these symbols and be relatively confident that the reader would understand what each symbol represented. Thus, if a writer depicted a pedophilic priest as trampling a crucifix into the mud, it is likely the reader would understand this action represents the way the priest tramples Christian ideals, and so forth. Contrast with contextual symbol and archetype.
Symbol Adjective Synonyms: representation, figure, metaphor, allegory, insigne (singular, plural is insignia), token, sign, emblem, badge, image, logotype, mark, trade mark, colophon, brand, code, abbreviation, phonogram, initialism, cryptogram, acronym, monogram, password, shibbol
Entertainment / Literature / Contextual Symbol: A unique or original symbol an author creates within the context of an individual work or an author's collected works. Examples include the Snopes family in Faulkner's collected works, who together fu MORE