H is for House

Today, I want to talk about a house. Not my house, but WHAT the rooms in a house symbolize; using dream interpretation to strengthen writing by employing symbolism engages the reader. I’m using Dictionary of Dreams by Rose Inserra (paraphrasing) to help guide us through the process of understanding what each room represents. 


ATTIC: It represents your memory, intellectual life or matters you’re burying.

BALCONY: It represents the excitement and hardships of romance and aspirations. If the balcony is up high, you are detached. If you are in danger of falling, you might feel anxiety.

BASEMENT: It represents your most secret fears or parts you’re hiding.

BEDROOM: It represents how you “feel about your emotional and sexual life (i.e., privacy, relaxation and sensuality”).

CHIMNEY: It represents how we deal with others emotionally, from inside to out.

DOOR: It represents inhibitions or progress and how you are willing to deal with them. A closed door might represent someone closing you out or your inability to delve into your fears and desires.

KITCHEN: It represents family life and “where your emotions are most at home.”

OUTSIDE: It represents your feelings about appearances. Can’t get inside, might mean you are not in control of your life. You are an onlooker.

PASSAGES/CORRIDORS: They represent the transitions between “different aspects of our personality, or contrasting life stages.”

STAIRS: They symbolize the effort it takes to reach a goal or enlightenment.

WALLS: They can “divide and impede vision, and also suggest the things that frustrate us or stand in the way of our desire.” Up high=objective perspective. Basement level=”exploring your emotions about an issue.” Climbing out=avoidance.

With dreams and your writing, everything is up for interpretation. Using symbolism in writing will push readers to look past your words and into their mind to analyze and connect with the story. It's up to you to decide how you will incorporate the symbolism into your writing.  

What symbolism have you employed in your writing?  


Amie Kaufman said…
Oh, that's so cool! I had a dream about a house with a zillion flights of stairs just recently. Guess I know what that's about!
KC Kendricks said…
Isn't it interesting how we subconsciously move our characters to those locations.

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Erin Kane Spock said…
That is really cool and makes me even more freaked out by my dreams. :)
I think of items or symbols in developing my characters, but nothing in regard to the story itself. I have one character that is a force of nature, so people are pulled by her tide, she storms in, etc...
Susan Kane said…
This explains a lot about dreams where the house is central. Lately, the house that was my childhood home is being carried away by a flood, and my parents are trying to save it. Of course, all those are gone now, so I don't know why I keep having this dream.
My characters spend time exploring the town, and the porches. And, they seem to spend a lot of time in the town cemetery.
Josh Hoyt said…
This is fun to look at great post. It is interesting how we interpret different things.
Anna said…
You should also take a look at The Poetics of Space by Bachelard. He does a great philosophical/aesthetic reading of the home (and other spaces). Cool topic!
Kate Larkindale said…
Wow! Who knew so many simple day-to-day things could mean so much! My new book takes place almost entirely within the one house (it's kind of claustrophobic) and these are interesting things to think about in relation to that.
walk2write said…
My dreams usually take place outside, and water in some form is almost always a part. Topographic features will play a huge part in my novel, and the characters will discover things about themselves through the lay of the land.

Great post!
THis is fascinating. Thinking about my WIP and how all of this applies. Very cool.
Langley said…
So interesting! I've studied what colors represent but not different rooms. Love this post!

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