Here I would like to discuss the use of autumn in literature.
Symbolism of autumn
Autumn symbolism is a natural dichotomy. It is both beautiful and sad. Look at the following quotes:
” Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of all.” by Stanley Horowitz
“Falling leaves hide the path so quietly.” by John Bailey
Autumn can be seen as old age, but before sickness and death to harvest of a lifetime learning. To me autumn shows loneliness, and ones deep thoughts and soul.
Autumn evolves into the season for older people to focus on the meaning of life. It symbolizes that one must not look back and move towards maturity.
Shakespeare used to see autumn as a season of sadness as well as abundance. Later on British understood the ironic humor in autumn.
Use in Poetry
Poets such as Whitman, Browning, Frost and Yeats use autumn in extensive ways.
From John Keats’ poem, To Autumn, 1820:
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Use in classic literature
An example of autumn symbolism in a classic literature is ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ by Washington Irving. The story itself, of course, is quintessentially autumn. It is fall in New England when the story takes place; the world is decorated with turning leaves and pumpkins, and the whether has turned chilly. But it is the horrific action and grisly death of Ichabod Crane which truly brings the symbolism into play – the death and destruction of life that comes as the winter creeps in.
Autumn is a versatile symbolic tool in literature, and classic writers used it a great deal in their stories to portray feelings from joy in nature to sorrow in impending death or loss of love. The reader’s imagination is stimulated to remember fall in their own way, and that memory is projected on to the telling of the story to personalize and make the experience more visceral than it might have been otherwise.