Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Freedom

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:

The open sea
A horse
The wind
A bird in flight
An open field…

In Society:

An open prison cell
An open lock
An open door
Empty shackles or handcuffs
A broken chain
A key…

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with freedom. Some are more powerful than others. Empty shackles are a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a bird in flight could represent numerous things and may not foreshadow freedom 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.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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8 Responses to Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Freedom

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

  2. ralfast says:

    Mirrors always work for me. A bit overused but a good fall back as objects are concern.

  3. This is great! Thanks for sharing!

  4. AubrieAnne says:

    This is a neat idea. When I’m writing, I don’t often think of symbolism, but this puts it into perspective. Sybolism doesn’t have to be overly complicated.

  5. Heather says:

    I love this one! What an excellent symbol to use in one’s work. Thank you! I’m inspired now!

  6. This could also help title duds like me Title a WIP

  7. Matthew Rush says:

    I’ve run out of clever things to say about these posts, but only because their level of awesome is that difficult to put into words!

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