Symbolism Sample Essay Paper

Symbolism Sample Essay Paper.

Symbolism Sample Essay Paper

Category: English

The assignment is a 4-5 page paper. The prompt is the following, “Compare the MEANING of two symbols encountered in our reading (one from one work one from another). By “symbol” we refer to an entity that represents – that means – much more than itself. Caesar is a dog, but me means much more than that. I request that you have knowledge of these works by Freeman and understand them well. I would like for the connection to be made between the symbol of the parrot and the dog caesar. Please refrain from explaining the plot and assume the reader knows the stories well.

Requirements: 4-5 pages  

Symbolism Essay

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Freeman is a renowned American writer, editor, and literary critic whose works have graced the publication industries for many years. Most of her literary works use symbolism, meaning that they always have hidden meanings that entice readers to think and analyze further. The book, A New England Nun, describes the life of Louisa Elisa, the protagonist, who lived on a farm with two animals, a dog and a bird. On the other hand, The Parrot describes the life of a woman who lived in solitude with a parrot in New England. The following essay will discuss Freeman’s two symbols in his works, the parrot and the dog. In addition, I will analyze their importance, compare and contrast their hidden meanings as portrayed in Freeman’s book.

Solitude is symbolized in both ‘The Parrot’ and the New England Nun as we see that both the owners of the parrot and the dog are loners. The parrot’s mistress lived alone and had curated a comfortable life by decorating her house with white curtains and beautiful carpets on the floor (Freeman, 1900). Caesar had been locked up in his house for a long while the canary was always in its cage too. For the more significant part of his life, he had dwelt in his secluded hut, shut out from the society of his kind and all innocent canine joys (Freeman, 2012). This is symbolic because it highlights Louisa’s life of solitude and anti-socialism. Louisa always lived a life of solitude with minimal visitors, a situation that made her bitter and unable to interact with her neighbors. Isolation is also seen in the caged bird who had been so used to being alone to the extent that it raised the alarm when Joe Dagget visited. Both the parrot and the dog were similar because their owners were loners, a characteristic that forced them to be loners too.

Consequently, Caesar and the parrot represented a sense of hope to their owners as they were a connection to the past and the outside world. The parrot’s mistress was always sad and gloomy, and the parrot was the only bright thing in her life (Freeman, 1900).  On the other hand, Louisa was always nervous o having visitors at her place. However, she felt very comfortable around Caesar as it was a connection to her dead brother. Therefore, the alarm emphasizes Louisa’s discomfort when Joe Dagget visits her. Louisa kept eying them with mild uneasiness. Finally, she rose and changed the position of the books, putting the album underneath. That was the way they had been arranged in the first place (Freeman, 2012). Louisa had been so comfortable in being alone and setting her things a certain way. When Joe Dagget slightly moves the books on the table, Louisa is very uncomfortable. Therefore, this relationship symbolizes that a person can be too comfortable being on their own until they cannot entertain anyone else.

The parrot and the dog also contrast in ways such as their relationships with their mistresses. The parrot loved his mistress, as Freeman indicates that it was fed and talked to with a language of love, like how two souls that understood each other spoke (Freeman, 1900). Their relationship contrasts with that of Louisa and Caesar because of the fear that was between them. Although Louisa fed him every day, she was still scared of the harm that the dog could do if unleashed. Since his youthful days, the dog has been chained because of bad behavior that involved biting a neighbor. As a result, Louisa decided to chain him to prevent further tragedies, ‘but there was a neighbor who bore on his hand the imprint of several of Caesar’s sharp white youthful teeth, and for that, he had lived at the end of a chain, all alone in a little hut, for fourteen years ( Freeman, 2012).  This phenomenon indicates that every being will have to pay for their actions, whether good or bad. In addition, the world is not always fair because sometimes the retribution might be too severe and may not match the wrongdoing. In this case, Caesar being locked up for fourteen years seems unfair for a mistake such as biting another person. Louisa had a choice of training the dog on how to handle visitors and neighbors and still let him move around. Instead, she chose the gravest punishment for Caesar.

Although most people in the community feared Caesar, Joe Dagget always saw him as a friendly dog that could relate well with other people despite his past mistakes. Louisa always warned the children and neighbors not to go too near the dog because he might bite them. Mothers charged their children with solemn emphasis not to go too near to him, and the children listened and believed greedily, with a fascinated appetite for terror, and ran by Louisa’s house stealthily, with many sidelong and backward glances at the terrible dog (Freeman).  Freeman used this fear of unleashing Caesar to represent Louisa’s anxiety about getting married to Joe Dagget. In addition, Joe Dagget was not afraid of releasing the dog and letting it walk into the streets because he believed it had learned its lesson. “There ain’t a better-natured dog in town,” he would say, “and it’s down-right cruel to keep him tied up there; someday I’m going to take him out.’’ (Freeman, 2012).  It symbolized that Joe knew that there is so much more to an individual than society may portray them. Although humanity had painted Lily as the perfect candidate for him to marry, he knew that choosing Louisa would be a worthy sacrifice because they had waited for each other for fourteen years.

The act of Joe Dagget wanting to unleash Caesar just because he had been locked up for too long symbolizes how individuals can make very poor decisions. There was no proof that Caesar had learned his lesson and would not have hurt another person after being unleashed. Freeman uses Joe’s mindset about unleashing the dog to highlight his poor decision-making skills even in his life choices. Although Joe Dagget was madly in love with Lily Dyer, he still wanted to marry Louisa because they made fourteen years back. I’m going right on an’ get married next week. I ain’t going back on a woman that’s waited for me fourteen years an’ break her heart.” (Freeman, 2012). This represents poor decision-making based on non-provable facts, as represented by Joe Dagget.

As Louisa was eavesdropping on Joe and Lily’s conversation, it was evident that Joe had feelings for Lily because of how he hesitated and according to both of their tones. “Well, I hope you won’t — I hope you won’t, Lily. God knows I do. And — I hope — one of these days — you’ll — come across somebody else –” (Freeman, 2012).  Joe is indecisive and unable to stand his ground. As a result, he waits for the people around him to make decisions and later goes ahead with them. When Lily chooses to go back to her home, Joe agrees. Additionally, when Louisa declines his hand in marriage, he is also okay with her decisions. Therefore, Joe’s unconcerned nature is accentuated not only from his decision to unleash Caesar but also in his life decisions.

On the other hand, Louisa’s decision of projecting her fear of the world by leashing Caesar is wrong because there are more appropriate ways to deal with Caesar’s behavior rather than caging him. Whenever Joe mentioned unleashing Caesar, Louisa started thinking negatively about the number of children who would bleed as a result. She pictured to herself Caesar on the rampage through the quiet and unguarded village. Louisa saw innocent children bleeding in his path (Freeman, 2012). Therefore, It symbolized just how messy and disorganized her life would be if she were to marry Joe. The children’s bleeding in the roads was an emblem of how noisy it would have Joe as a husband. After Joe Dagget had left for Australia, Louisa had sent ties with her mother and brother, meaning she was not lonely. However, after their demise, seven years later, she curated a solitary space for her dog and her bird, and she felt comfortable. She liked the quiet she had created for herself and did not want it ruined by Joe Dagget. How Louisa treated her dog was very different to how the mistress treated the parrot. The parrot was very dear to his mistress, as she did everything to protect it. Even after the minister had gotten married, Martha knew that the parrot had a soul and that it would offer a much more fulfilling companionship than what the minister would have offered (Freeman, 1900).  The difference in the relationships symbolizes just how different people choose to relate to those around us. We can choose to let them be our friends or be scared of the unknown.


Freeman, M. E. W. (2012). New England Nun. Rarebooksclub Com.

Mary Freeman. (1900). The Parrot

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