From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We are not dealing in the symbolic or the metaphorical here, only writing that is factually-presented. Just the straight-up lowdown. You'll see literal language most often in journalism, news reportage, and history (though, of course, just because information is presented in a literal, factual way, that doesn't mean it's necessarily true or objective).