Welcome to Symbolism Saturday! For anyone new to Symbolism Saturday, this is a bi-monthly Saturday special that I originally started sharing on Instagram and Twitter. In these posts, I highlight an example of symbolism in pop culture in a bite-sized exploration. Today, we’re taking a look at a symbol from the anime movie Wolf Children (おおかみこどもの雨と雪).
What is Symbolism, You Ask?
In a nutshell, symbolism is a literary device where the author of a creative work (like books, video games, and cartoons) uses an object (like a bird, necklace, color, or, occasionally, person) to represent a complex or abstract feeling or idea (like peace, loneliness, death, or, occasionally, a person). If you want to know more, I have a post taking an in-depth look at symbolism and Over the Garden Wall.
Heart and Home Connected
Today’s symbol is another of many meanings: Hana’s home in Wolf Children.
When widowed Hana first arrives with her young children, her new mountain home is tattered and needs upkeep. It’s still a sturdy home, but it has fallen into disrepair while waiting for a new occupant. With dedication and hard work, Hana manages to restore the home. It takes a lot of trial and error for her, but by the end, she has a wonderful place for her family to live.
The house represents her hopes for her family’s future. Hope is a sturdy thing that, even in disrepair, is usually there when you need it. Upkeeping it is difficult because many things in our lives can disrupt it. In Hana’s case, she has to overcome the death of her husband and the fear of having no idea how to successfully care for two half-wolf children.
The house also represents her family. It’s a bit tattered and needs a bit of mending following her husband’s death. As her children grow, they develop their own personalities and start to pull away from one another as their ideals diverge. With a little hard work, Hana and her children are able to restore their bonds.
Finally, it represents Hana herself. When Hana first arrives at the house, she’s in a tattered state. She’s been through a lot, and feels lost but determined to move forward. The harder she works to restore the house, the more she also grows and restores herself. As the house becomes more of a comfortable shelter, Hana becomes a more confident, experienced woman.
If you enjoyed this Symbolism Saturday post, be sure to stop by for a new one every other Saturday. Do you have a favorite example of symbolism in pop culture? Be sure to share it in the comments! You can also connect on Twitter at @Popliterary, or send a message on the “contact me” page.
And as always, if you have a literary device you want to know more about, or a game, comic, show, or movie that you want to see make an appearance on the blog, leave a shout-out in the comments!