It does seem like modern fiction just “tells the story” without much symbolism. Is symbolism an older literary device, like excessive description, that is not used much any more? Do you think there was as much symbolism as English teachers seemed to think? What are some examples of symbolism from your reading?
*points to Life of Pi post*
Life of Pi was published in 2003, I think, and it is chock-full of symbolism. It's got symbolism a plenty. As does The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.
But yeah, I do agree that modern fiction just tells the story. It uses the character and the plot to explain and illustrate its meaning rather than having the reader decipher what that picture of a daffodil on the wall could mean.
And I do think that symbolism is slowly dying out. An author here and there still uses it but it's not as prevalent as it used to be.
Growing up on "modern literature" I wasn't really trained to look for and to try to interpret symbolism. When it's present in books I totally miss it. Which I guess is what English class is for.
For the most part, I think the teachers are right on in the symbolism that they see in books. It all makes sense to me. But I wouldn't have seen it myself so I don't think I can really criticize them for how they interpreted the book because they obviously did far better than me.
I do like symbolism. It's a like a treasure trove of hidden stuff waiting to be unearthed. :P