Symbolism SAQ
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Symbolism SAQ

Are you a pessimist, an optimist, a realist, or an idealist? Which classic American literature character do you relate to best? All you have to do to find out is read the following twelve questions and pick the response that relates to you. Once you've finished just click the back button on your browser to return to the Symbolism SAG homepage and find out more about your personality type.

Question 1:When Hester Prynne moved to New England, she was surprisingly educated and well spoken, not one of the common positive qualities found in women from that time period. Along with her eloquence, she had very expressive dresses. Being a sewer, she made dresses lined with lace, a popular fashion of Europe. The people of the Puritan world found the lace to symbolize gaudiness, as if she were trying to be better than everyone else. If you were in possession of such a unique keeping, what would you think or do?
Keep wearing it. Society has no effect on what you should or should not do
Stop wearing it. Making a good impression in a new world would be more important than trying to impress others.
Keep wearing it. It expresses where you came from and who you are, not your opinion of being higher than others.
Wear it occasionally. The puritanical society will disapprove, but sometimes it feels nice to rise above others.

Question 2:The Red Badge of Courage was a story of war, yet ironically it was situated in a serene setting of a forest. Some see it as a place of testing; holding the secrets of nature which man must penetrate to find meaning. It also symbolizes a place where life thrives. Henry was astounded with the forest’s ability to stay peaceful and tranquil in a time of war. If you were in a similar situation such as an unknown forest… what would go through your mind?
Fear from being lost, claustrophobia, darkness
Peaceful, beautiful, full of positive things
Keep walking. Enjoy the optimistic attributes of nature
This is what all the world should like

Question 3:In Of Mice and Men Candy’s dog is a representation of something once useful and full of life, and now means nothing at all on the ranch. It symbolizes what will happen to migrant workers when they are no longer able to perform tasks on hand. If a dog, once loved and used for a purpose, was slowly dieing in a very similar situation, what do you think you would do.
Let it live as long as it can in the work house. Who cares if it may smell?
Put it to sleep. The dog is no longer useful and cannot benefit us in any way.
Tell Candy to leave the dog outside. It may hurt him, but he smells. There is no need to kill the dog.
Put the dog to sleep. At this point, it is probably in more pain than anything. Killing the dog will help it.

Question 4:In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby owns a car. It represents egotism, and in essence the car is a representation of himself. The car symbolizes his wealth and his dream. If you owned a car as Gatsby did, what would you do if the love of your life hit someone?
Keep it. It’s too good to give up. It may be noticeable, but I can buy myself out of the situation.
Get rid of it. It is not worth taking any chances.
Hide the car. Neither of us deserve to put through the consequences.
Admit that you hit the woman. Showing your love that you love her/him more than the car will mean a lot.

Question 5:In the novel The Red Badge of Courage, the flag that is carried during battle is a sign of an armies place in battle; likewise, the courage of the person who is carrying it since the flag bearer must always be on the front lines. Similarly, if you were put in a situation in which you were the quarterback for your high school football team and were asked by your coach to think of and execute the final play of the game to win the playoffs, which of the following would you do/say?
Of course I’m going to take charge coach, leave this up to me, take my word, I’m going to make it happen.
I’m not so sure coach, it’s not like we ever win these close games anyway, maybe Teddy over there knows of a good play, go and ask him.
Sure coach, I could think of a play that has the right variables, it’s just that I’m not sure if it could be executed since we never practiced it.
Yes indeed! I could cook up a sweet play that will stump their whole team; it just has to be precise in all twenty-one parts to it.

Question 6:In the novel The Scarlet Letter, the wood in which Hester goes to in order to escape all the commotion throughout town resembles her safe haven. In the woods, Hester feels one-in-one with nature and releases her from her stress and worries that are apparent back in the town. Similarly, if someone in your school started a bad rumor about you and everyone you pass in the hallway makes fun of you about it, which resembles the actions you would take to escape these rumors and make you feel comfortable again?
I don’t feel bad at all, as long as I know what is being said in the school is false, what else matters, I just ignore what’s being said and go on with my life.
This is so horrible, these rumors are ripping me apart and all I think about throughout the day is what people are saying about me, how can I ever move on in life with this going on?
Although it hurts to know that people in the school are spreading rumors about me, I am able to get through this matter by resting in my bedroom and concentrating on all the “important issues” in my life, and then it becomes apparent just how insignificant the rumors are.
The only reason why people start rumors anyway is because they feel insecure on their own lives, there’s no point in wasting my own time and energy on these inconsiderate lowlives.

Question 7:In the novel Of Mice and Men, Lennie’s puppy is one of several symbols that represent the victory of the strong over the weak. Lennie kills the puppy accidentally as he has killed many mice before, by virtue of his failure to recognize his own strength. Like an innocent animal, Lennie is unaware of the vicious, predatory powers that surround him. Similarly, if you were unaware of your own strength and one of your four cats died as you accidentally played to rough with it, which of the following explains your reasoning for the tragedy?
I take full responsibility for the death, I shouldn’t have been pushing them around as hard as I did and I have learned my lesson now.
I cannot control myself and there is no possible way I can ever be in control of another living creature again.
I will make sure I respect the cat and give it a proper burial; I will try to make the best of the situation.
Maybe the cat wasn’t dead after all, I will do some praying this evening and maybe it will be crying in the morning for some food.

Question 8:In the novel The Great Gatsby, the green light is a multi-faceted piece of symbolism in which its most obvious interpretation is that the light is symbolic of Gatsby's longing for Daisy. Daisy is part of it, but the green light means much more. Gatsby has spent his whole life longing for something better. Money, success, acceptance, and Daisy and no matter how much, he has he never feels complete. Even when he has his large house full of interesting people and all of their attention, he still longs for Daisy. He created in his dreams for the future a place for her, and he will not be content to have that gaping hole. So the green light stands for all of Gatsby's longings and wants. And when Nick talks about the green light at the end of the book he says 'It eluded us then, but that's no matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch our arms out farther....' He connects the green light to all people. Everyone has something that they long and search for that is just off in the distance. That is the green light. Similarly, if you had been longing for an ex-girlfriend that you had left on good terms and had shared some great moments together, which resembles your actions/approach?
I think there’s a good chance that things can be the same as they were back then, I’m going to try and contact her and express my views and feelings.
That was then, she probably has a new boyfriend now and is happy with her decisions, maybe I should just let it go and move on to someone else.
I’m going to give her a call and slowly re-start everything with her, cleaning the slate and beginning from scratch, that’s the best way to forget the past.
Maybe she’s saying the same thing about me, I will hang around by my phone for the next couple days hoping that she is on the other line.

Question 9:In the novel The Great Gatsby, the billboard of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg looking down on the dirty streets of the city symbolizes the eyes of God. The billboard is practically ignored and the eyes of 'God' are faded, symbolizing the departure of the civilization from religion to materialistic gain. Religion in the 1920’s did not play as important a role as it did in the years before. People who moved into the cities were looking for easy living and amenities--like cars, lights, and inexpensive factory produced products, which were available only in the cities. The middle class social groups in the 1920’s did not care about the past or future; they were aware only of living life to the fullest in the present. The people ignored God as they enjoyed the new wonders of city life. People went to parties, dances, speakeasies (illegal liquor bars), and jazz clubs, to name a few. In a way, everybody in the 1920s was living a dream. Similarly, when you go off to college and are no longer controlled by your parents telling you what you can and can’t do, what choices do you decide to make knowing you are in control?
I’m at college for crying out loud; I’m going to enjoy my freedom and party like I never have before.
I’m going to remember the manner in which my parents raised me and respect my ethics and not do anything they wouldn’t approve of me doing, while still partaking in all college parties and activities.
I’m going to have a good time and set a tolerance for myself when situations become stretched too far. That way I am still abiding by some of my parents upbringings of me.
I will have to sit at home every night in order to abide by my parents rules. Either I go against everything my parents taught me or I suffer through four years of college.

Question 10:In Of Mice and Men, the two main characters, George and Lennie, spend their time working on a farm in order to save enough money to buy a farm of their own. They plan to buy a couple of acres of land in order to grow their own food and live by their own terms, George even promises that Lennie can tend to the Rabbits, as he had always wished to do. The farm represents the possibility of freedom and hope for the men. On the farm they will be able to live by their own rules and do whatever they wish to do. It symbolizes man’s desire to be free from the restraints of society and to live life without the interference of corruption by others. Suppose you were taking a trip and happen to be traveling across rural countryside. If you saw a working farm with men plowing the fields what would you think of?
That the production levels of the year have been up and the farm hands are sure to see profit.
That you would enjoy working the beautiful countryside.
Of the freedom of being outside with no restraints of working inside.
That these people will never see any financial benefits from the work they are doing and that they are doomed to be in poverty forever.

Question 11:In The Scarlet Letter, there is a large gathering place in the center of town where town meetings are held. At the head of the large opening is a scaffold upon which Hester Prynne as well as Arthur Dimmsdale find themselves on more than one occasion. Hest is forced to stand upon the platform when she is first accused of adultery as a form of punishment. Later Dimmsdale admits his own part in the crime on the very same scaffold. The stage which was originally built to hold town meetings, represents the image and morals of society that the townspeople had originally built up for themselves, but once those values were established, like the alternative use for the platform, the society forced disgrace upon their values by out casting Hester. Similarly, today we have means to punish those who have broken laws within our own society. If you were to come across a jail what would you think of?
The inherently evil nature of mankind and the endless cycle of crime and ineffective rehabilitation in today’s society.
That those within are serving the deserved time for the crimes they have committed.
That those drawn into crime by unfortunate circumstances are receiving deserved rehabilitation and will eventually be returned to society completely reformed.
Your own imprisonment within the confines of society and your desire to break free from societal rules by creating your own standards.

Question 12:In the novel The Red Badge of Courage, the main character, Henry, the youth, finds himself wandering through the forest after he had fled from battle. He is lost and searching for somewhere to go. He comes across a dead soldier lying in the woods. The body has decomposed and is left alone in the middle of the forest. The soldier symbolizes the insignificance of one man in war. It shows the frailty of human life lost among the confusion of war. If you were preoccupied with a dilemma while you were driving alone in your car and you came upon a dead deer on the side of the road, what would you think of?
How the world is in too much of a rush to actually care about anything but themselves
That you could help this animal rest in peace by removing it form the side of the road and giving it a proper burial.
Your old pet Sparky that died when you were young
That animal control or highway patrol should remove the carcass quickly before it is hit again

This Quiz has been designed by Margaret Aery.