Symbolism and Motif Entry: Hope

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:

Sun coming out behind a cloud
The warmth of sunshine
Rain on a dry landscape
The smell of rain or moisture in the air

In Society:

Pink cancer ribbon
Random acts of kindness
Open doors
Schools, youth centers
Light bulbs/light sources…

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Hope. Some are more powerful than others. Being given a vaccine for an illness or finding out one is a candidate for a new treatment is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, an open door may not foreshadow hope 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.

Bookmark and Share


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, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
10 years ago

I love these lists! They conjure up so many emotions in me and my brain starts racing thinking of places I could use them.

Thanks for sharing! It’s a great reference (and point).

10 years ago

You rock, Angela! I love all the examples you give–things I never would have thought of. Hope is one of my favorite things. 😀

Angela Ackerman
10 years ago

Thanks, everyone. I hope this one is helpful, because I feel that all novels should always offer some hope as part of their make up. Without hope the reader’s involvement and connection to the character’s plight will never go as deep as it can, and ultimately hamper the novel’s success.

Rainbows [even small ones] are what keeps the reader reading, because it keeps the character fighting, right? 🙂

Julie, thanks so much for the shout out! I really appreciate it when people spread the word about The Bookshelf Muse! You guys are all great about doing this too, and I can’t thank you enough!

Have a great weekend!

Julie Musil
10 years ago

Angela, a shout out to you on my blog!

Karen Lange
10 years ago

Love this one! Hope is such an important and necessary thing.
Have a great weekend,

Julie Musil
10 years ago

I feel hopeful just reading this post! Thanks, once again.

10 years ago

Nice list! I like these posts. Keeps me thinking!

10 years ago

This has nothing whatever to do with your above post. I just wanted to say — after reading your comment on my blog — holy freaking cow. I just simply cannot imagine going through that. And I don’t think I could write about it either. Ever.

Stina Lindenblatt
10 years ago

Thanks, Angela. What perfect timing!

Shannon O'Donnell
10 years ago

Oh, I love this one, Angela. Hope is a GREAT topic. And daffodils are one of my favorite things on earth! 🙂

Paul C
10 years ago

This is a very good list. For society I also suggest:
artistic graffiti, street name, architectural style, decour …Enjoying your posts.

Christina Lee
10 years ago

You always get me thinking!! Good Stuff!