Lit Crit Research: Search Engines and More Symbolism

We need to start searching with words such as: analysis, critique, symbolism, themes, etc. So, it’s now or never. Jump in… Let’s go…

Newport Beach Public Library

If you don’t have a Newport Beach Public Library Card yet, you will need to sign up for one first. Once you have signed up and are given your library number. Write it down. Somewhere safe. Now, you can log in anytime. Once you have signed up for your Library Card, then you can move into Articles and Databases from there. Look the  encyclopedias, author databases, literary engines and homework helps. Remember, the search engines that will open will work just like Google and Yahoo. All public libraries work the same… so, if you have a library card to a major public library, you can use their database system.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is just like Google, but it filters out all of the “unwanted” junk. It will help focus your articles and really tie together some lose ends. Google Scholar will also help narrow your topic to all academic sources and websites.


Alltheweb is a search engine put out by Yahoo. It doesn’t help narrow the topics, but it does search… all the web. Imagine that.

Virtual Salt

And, for the rest of the rest. Virtual Salt is a great web site that has a ton of search engines listed. They are not all for our types of topics. But, if you read the descriptions, you can find more than what you need.


*** This list isn’t exhaustive… so, remember there is a Page on the Fine Print of Research Links, always check there.

Hopefully this will help in being the final glue for your thesis, essay and overall critique of your books. Take a look through both of your stories and read the following types of symbolism. If your book has animals but no flowers… then you only need to research the animals that show up in your stories. Remember you can create a thesis where you mention that the authors use of symbolism conveys a “particular” message… one author can convey that message with color and the other with a bird.

Color Theory

This is one of the best websites on Color Theory it is so interactive and you can use the ideas and facts in your overall critique of the paper. Watch the movies that pertain to your book and start putting ideas together. Check out the lab and see what colors can complement each other and why. Play around and see if you can get a feel for what your illustrator was thinking about when they illustrated your story.

Note: if you have a story that uses black and white illustrations remember this… Why did the author have all these color choices and chose not to use any of them? That has to mean something… right?

Also remember, your Grimm and Anderson books don’t have illustrations, but that doesn’t mean they don’t use color symbolism. This last website will help if you really need to dig into color theory and symbolism… it isn’t as fun as the lab but it has more information that you will ever need.

Religious Symbolism

Religious symbolism is something that should come easy to us… think Jane Eyre. We have studied stories that have Christ figures, seekers, devil characters, etc. But, that only covers Christianity and even more importantly it only covers personified people in Christianity. There are a lot of religious out in this world and a lot them will be found throughout your stories. Start digging into symbolism of:

  • World Religions: What are they and what symbols take their place.
  • The Cross: There is more than just one archetype of the cross… if you have a cross in your illustration, check this out.
  • Christianity: Check out the number three for your reading of The Count of Monte Cristo
Animal symbolism is a huge part of children’s literature. Why chose a tiger when you could have a story about a hippo? Check out animal symbolism to see what the author chose to convey in their stories. PS. This website looks cheesy… but it is amazing with information.
Why do we associate roses with love and lilies with death. This website will help you navigate through any flowers in your children’s book. Same Cheesy website as above, with the same fabulous information.
What can we say … it is all about the apple. Not to mention that if you don’t have any of the above symbols in your stories… almost everyone of your stories has a tree in it. Check out what that tree means… here.

Fire and Ice

You should know more about fire and ice that you ever want to know. But, if you need a recap from Jane Eyre here ya go.

Number Symbolism

Number Symbolism starts to get a little weird. The link above is useful… but not necessary something I would stake my life on (Interruption… it is very new-age-y). There are repeated numbers in the bible, and those show up in a lot of your stories as well.


That should get you really far. Don’t forget about all of the other ideas that we have already learned about this year: fire and ice, religious, birds, the green light, the American Dream, etc. The details may not have been put into this blog post, but you know what the authors are trying to convey.

Remember : a critique isn’t necessarily a fact. But, it is an assumption you, the reader and writer of this paper, made by putting together the information you know about the world around you.  Again, if you have any questions, please post them here and I will answer them as soon as I can.




Written by:

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply