Symbolism is a literary technique used by a manifold of authors. Symbolism is using an object, person, place to represent something greater than what it actually is or means. For example, the crucifix symbolizes the honor and sacrifice and love off all men. Symbols also represent suggestions for ideas, like traffic lights, red symbolizes stop, yellow symbolizes slow down, and green symbolizes to go. Symbolism is even used to celebrate, in the Hispanic culture a quincenera is used to symbolize a female child becoming a young lady.
In the short story, Mama Johnson, mother of Dee and Maggie is a hard working women, she goes off trying to collect money to send her oldest daughter, Dee to get an education. Little to know that Dee would come
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“Mrs. Johnson wears clothing that is practical for the kind of life she lives. Her overalls and flannel night gowns depict her non-nonsense, harsh life that she leads on a daily basis.”(Bmad) Mama Johnson’s wardrobe says much about her life. She doesn’t need long, vibrant dresses to show her representation of her culture. She had a tough life time Mama Johnson’s life hasn’t been a walk in the park. “She’s a large, big-boned women with rough, man-working hands”… “Mrs. Johnson, we are told collects money at her church so that Dee(daughter) can attend school.” Mama Johnson has worked hard all her life, trying to support both of her girls, and collecting money for Dee’s education.
Maggie’s had a hard life, she’s been burned, scared, put down by her sister. Yet she still smiles at the world. “Sometimes I can still hear the flames and feel Maggie’s arms sticking to me… her eyes seemed stretched open, blazed open by the flames reflected in them.”(Walker716) Maggie’s burning in the fire at her house shows why she is now the way she is who knows maybe she used to be different, but this tragic fire made her soul become a burden. “ Maggie is described as rather unattractive and shy; the scars she bears on her body have likewise scared her soul, and as a result, she is retiring, even frightened.”(Velazquez)
Maggie is very to herself, she shut herself out from the world, she felt ugly with scars. Maggie knows her history. “ Maggie carries her heritage inside.