Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Alienation

Every day we interact with objects, places and sensations that affect the way we think and feel. This can be used to the writer’s advantage by planting symbols in the reader’s path to reinforce a specific message, feeling or idea.

Look at the setting and the character’s state of mind, and then think about what you want the reader to see. Is there a descriptive symbol or two that works naturally within the scene to help foreshadow an event or theme, or create insight into the character’s emotional plight?

In Nature:

A tree separated by its fellows by a fence or path
The runt of the litter
An animal hanging back from the herd
A pile of pulled weeds
A straggling bird trying to keep up with the flock
An island…

In Society:

Sitting alone in a crowded cafeteria
A single car in the parking lot
A person sitting alone at the back of a bus
A sign that excludes (“Members only” or “You must be 18 years of age to enter”)
Private clubs, societies, group memberships
A kid at a skateboard park with no skateboard…

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Alienation. Some are more powerful than others. A group of animated, laughing teenagers who suddenly go silent at your presence is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a single car in a parking lot may not foreshadow alienation on its own.Let the story’s tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.

Symbolism is a universal language that can add great depth and meaning to your story.

So you can reap the full benefit of this powerful tool, we’ve expanded the entire collection by 70% and integrated it into our online library at One Stop For Writers. Each entry comes with a long list of ideas for symbols and motifs, and we’ve included popular symbolism examples from literature and movies, as well. These entries have also been cross-referenced for easy searchability across all our other thesauri. To see a free sample of the updated Symbolism and Motif Thesaurus along with our other collections, pop on over and register at One Stop.

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Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, an online library packed with powerful tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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18 Responses to Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Alienation

  1. Pingback: Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Isolation | WRITERS HELPING WRITERSWRITERS HELPING WRITERS

  2. Pingback: Symbolism Thesaurus Entry Collection | Writers Helping Writers

  3. Kate says:

    I didn’t think you could ever surpass your other thesauruses, but this one takes the cake! Brilliant.

  4. I am giving you an award on my Sat. post. 🙂

  5. PJ Hoover says:

    Your posts are really making me realize how much depth symbolism can add. Thanks!

  6. Anna says:

    I find that alienation comes up over and over in my stories, so this post gave me a lot to think about. Thanks!

  7. Such a great post and so true, thanks for getting me thinking!

  8. Angela says:

    Thanks Eric and L.J. I’m glad this entry helps!

    Mary, good adds. >>HUG<< Shannon I’m glad all this information is helping you write! Thanks C.R.! Kelsey, nice to see you comment and thanks for letting me know you find the thesaurus collections helpful. 😉 Bish, great! Wait–is that great? LOL Thank you Kelly, Tricia and Lisa & Laura. Thanks for popping by!

  9. Great list! What a fun way to think of ways to spice up your writing!

  10. Those are indeed some lonely-feeling images. Thanks so much for helping me muse on the emotional aspects of imagery.

  11. Kelly says:

    Great topic, great list!

  12. Bish Denham says:

    I feel alienated just reading this list! Excellent.

  13. Kelsey says:

    Ooh, lovely. I am definitely stealing some of these.

    I’ve been following your blog for a while but haven’t commented yet–but these thesauri (thesauruses?) have been infintely helpful. Thanks a bunch for putting them together!

  14. I wish you could see the wonderful folder of your Thesaurus Entries I’m building. It’s becoming one of my favorite writing resources. 🙂

  15. Mary Witzl says:

    Abandoned shoes and umbrellas always strike me as good alienation symbols (but of course the shoes can’t still be in pairs). Anything that usually comes in twos but is all by its lonesome self works too.

    And now I feel like getting a hug…

  16. Great list! Loving the symbolism entries 🙂

  17. Eric says:

    This is a really great list. While your posts are always helpful, this one struck me as being particularly good. Nice job.

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