Actually, what really bothers me is when authors try to give every damn single object in the story a deeper meaning than simply focusing on the plot.
It makes me feel like I'm in English class when I have to pay attention to so many details BESIDES the plot! I want a story, not an English essay!
It doesn't make your story any "deeper" whatsoever if you inject it with a crapton of symbolism and names with deeper meanings to them.
If the characters live in Oldtown, then calling the school Oldtown Comprehensive is just fine. You don't need to try hard and call it St. Jude's because he's the patron saint of lost causes and everyone who goes here won't make much of their life.
Ahh!! I disagree!!
I mean, I get where you guys are coming from. You're tired of heroes and villains with names like "Justice McKnightly" and "Amphibius Puffwart". That can and does get distracting (although I would argue it is sometimes very entertaining). But please, please, please, don't discount the value of literary symbolism! Plot is
most important, but it is very fun to play with symbolism as an author.
I understand the frustration of feeling like the story is shoving the symbolism in your face. I don't like that either, and consequently I think symbolism in literature should be subtle. Because how satisfying is it, upon reading a really good book, to go back and find the deeper layers it contains? To me, that is very satisfying. Finding hidden meanings is fun
. And not everyone (including me, until just now) knows that St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes. It's more clever than if you just called it "Hopeless Academy". It's like an in-joke for the readers who do know, and a "OH! I SEE WUT U DID THERE!" for readers who will eventually find out.
I feel like the general attitude about literature these days is that using symbolism in literature is pretentious and "academic". I guess I am probably biased, since I very much enjoy literary analysis, but I find that very sad. I like when there is a reason or purpose behind the author's choices. You know how you enjoy reading trivia about your favorite show or subject? It's like that. It's the little details that make the whole experience richer.
and not just "Hopeless academy is hopeless and the students are all failures" it becomes "Saint Jude Academy is rumoured to be cursed! none of the students ever excel. I wonder why..?" and then the reader can go "Ahaha ITS FUNNY BECAUSE THE NAME" People who DONT know will then learn in the trivia or TVTropes or word of mouth, or interviews or something and go "Ooooh~ aha thats clever! clever clever author~"
Symbolism can also work as a form of Foreshadowing. you meet the main couple in spring time under the cherry blossom tree "How romantic!!" you say. but wait!! Cherry Blossom trees can also symbolize death! the main couple is doomed! what seemed to be a light hearted romance was actually a tragedy! or maybe not...
Cherry blossoms also symbolize a new beginning! instead of a tragedy perhaps that couple has a baby a few episodes later. or maybe the hero's life changed for the better because he meets this woman?