Monday, April 10, 2017

The Symbolic Language of Weather




“When all is said and done, the weather and love are the two elements about which one can never be sure.”
― Alice Hoffman, Here on Earth



I love symbology and use it where ever possible. The atmospheric world of Gothic fiction is rife with secret symbolic language, and the weather is one of those ingredients that could be added to the mix.

How many times have we seen it rain during a funeral in the movies? Rain has long been equated to tears and sorrow, so it is used as an emotional trigger. Weather is all about the emotions.

Weather descriptions can have an internal or an external effect. Meaning, they could be used to affect your characters' emotions and actions or used to describe your characters' emotional state. Another use is to foreshadow a situation. A sudden change in the weather might signify that something bad is about to happen. The fog rolling in might mean there is a secret to be revealed.

I also like to juxtapose weather with the actions of a scene. For example, having something tragic befall my character while it is sunny and bright. This is jarring because it is unexpected. Creating an emotional response in your reader is what most storytelling is about.




Here, I've listed some emotional and symbolic associations to weather conditions.

Rain - Renewal, Rebirth, Cleansing, Sorrow, Tears
Storms –  Anger, Turmoil, Struggle
Flood – Uncontrollable, overwhelmed, in over your head, the release of pent-up energy,  as in a broken dam.
Lightning – sudden revelation, transformation
Overcast – depression, confusion, pent up emotion
Light Clouds – peace, serenity
Fog – Confusion, uncertainty, mystery, secrets
Mist – Confusion, uncertainty
Snow – purity, isolation, untapped potential, clean slate, neglect
Ice – stuck, at risk
Heat –  danger, passion
Humidity – anxiety, repression
Sunshine – fortunate and grateful, tranquility, peace
Wind - change, restless, strength
Extreme Weather -
     Tornado - destructive, out of control
     Hurricane – obsessive emotions
     Tsunami -  overwhelmed

Do you use weather symbolically in your writing? Are there any other weather conditions you'd add to this list?

♥ Shadow.

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