Paper Proposal– Symbols, Love, and Nature: When Three Become One

In this essay, I intend to speak to the issue of the romance-genre in media using naturally-occurring objects as symbols. In “Guigemar” and “Laüstic”, nature is used to denote a specified meaning in each story; Guigemar has a wound that only his lady-love can heal, the physical symbol becoming metaphorical. The nightingale is a symbol for the love the knight holds for his love in “Laüstic”– once it is killed, its status is elevated beyond simple representation into a physical reminder. Both stories show that the use of an object changes the object itself and the message conveyed by using it. An entity used solely as a symbol for symbolism’s sake is an impossible idea. Using an object to mean something it not of its original purpose changes the intent of the object forthwith. I will use past and present examples of media– literature, movies, and video-games– to illustrate such a point.

Sanders’ Adaption and Appropriation will help show what an adaption of a text and an object does to the subject. The subject is irrevocably changed through its meaning, its representation, and its misinterpretation. I will subsequently relate the idea of adaption to the use of an object for representation. As an example, in “Laüstic”, to adapt the nightingale from a literal singing animal into a symbol of love lost changes the bird’s purpose but also its reception. The nightingale is no longer just a bird, but something beyond itself, taking on both human traits and its natural traits. The modern examples will be a little more difficult to show, but one example I’ve found to be intriguing is the videogame “Dragon Age: Origins”. In it, a character named Alistair offers the protagonist a simple flower. Alistair comments that he saw it, and asked himself “how could something so beautiful exist in a place with so much despair?”. The rose became more than a flower given as a gift, growing into a representation of human emotion and hope. With other evidence, I hope to show that objects take on more than their original meaning when used as symbols to represent romantic interests.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *