Giovanni's Room
Giovanni's Room
by James Baldwin
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A Brief Note on Symbols in Realistic Fiction

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

In short, there are not a lot of symbols in realist fiction, especially in character driven realist fiction told by a first person narrator. One of the assumptions of the realist novelist is that symbols don't just exist in the world; symbols are created by people and they only gain significance as more men and women come to see them as symbols. So Giovanni's room becomes a symbol because David perceives it as a symbol. America becomes a symbol because Giovanni says things to David indirectly by talking about his homeland.

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