Symbolism is a representation of an idea or issue by the use of symbols. These symbols do not have to be an image. In the contrast, the symbols in writing are more often a small passage that represents an issue or idea. Symbolism in writing is indirect so it depends on the readers to figure out what the symbol is representing. Authors use this method of symbolism because it gives their readers some room to think about the issue. There are many examples of symbolism in the book, Chanda’s Secrets.
When authors are writing a story, a book, they want to engage their readers. When readers are engaged in the book, they take more interest in it and this becomes beneficial to the authors. One of the methods is by using symbolism. When an author uses symbolism, it gets the reader to think more about the issue in depth. Also, it is more interesting to have the readers guess rather than just coming out with the point directly.
The first example that I was able to find was on page 7. It said, Esther whispered “The café manager lets me use the leftover time on his Internet coupons because he likes me.” She winked First, we look at what we know. We know that Esther gets paid by the tourists who take pictures with her, but we also know that some of them look up her skirt. Knowing this, when Esther says ‘because he likes me’ we know that she is letting him do something of the sort. In conclusion, Esther is getting leftover time on the Internet by allowing the café manager to do something similar to the tourists who look up her skirt. Esther’s winking was a big hint that led us to this conclusion.
I was able to find another use of symbolism on page 27. On that page, it said, “Don’t be a baby. Lots of men cheat. All over the world.” said Esther. “How would you know?” Chanda asked. Esther got a funny look in her eye. “I just do” Previous to this part of the book, there are several hints as to what Esther does to earn money. This tiny dialogue between Esther and Chanda clears it up even more. We know that Esther gets paid by the tourists who come to town. This means that “men all over the world” are the tourists from all over the world, coming to see Esther. This can mean only one thing. The men (tourists) cheat on their wives with Esther. The part about Esther getting a funny look in her eye helped us further prove what idea the symbol was representing.
The last example that I found in the book was on page 34 and 35. It said, “There is nothing wrong with Esther. Her mama died of TB. They died like they said at the funerals. “Of course they did, and you didn’t hear any different from me. Your auntie just wants to protect you, that’s all.” She winks slyly, “A word to the wise: there’s what people said and there’s what people say.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “Oh yes, you do.” She whispers. This part of the book is showing another use of symbolism. In other words, this is saying that there are rumours of Esther’s parents dying of AIDs. From what the author had told the readers previously in the book, AIDs is a common disease in the area. Also, the author had told us that many people lie about the disease because they are ashamed of it. When Chanda’s “aunt” (Mrs. Tafa) winks slyly and tells Chanda that many people lie, Chanda tries to deny it. However, the author has made it very clear about Mrs. Tafa’s assumption of Esther’s parents having AIDs.
Symbolism comes in different styles, depending on the author. However, the author of Chanda’s Secrets had used the information that the readers already knew about in order to use symbolism. The author had his readers guessing throughout the book and this really got the readers more interested. I thought it was very effective and it really engaged his readers with the story.