Linguistics and Literature Studies Vol. 4(4), pp. 290 - 294
DOI: 10.13189/lls.2016.040406
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On Symbolic Depiction of the Background in Robert Stevenson's Short Story

Lai Peng *
School of Foreign Languages, Sun Yat-sen University, China


This paper analyzes Robert Stevenson's short story (Markheim) by probing into the symbolic meaning of objects and sounds in the background of a murder scene. Different from most short stories by other writers, who tend to express the theme by creating sophisticated characters and constructing complicated plot, this story lays unusual stress on the background and endows it with symbolic significance and textual prominence. The symbolic contrast between brightness and darkness at the place of the murder and the symbolic contrast between silence and sounds in the surroundings of the scene can be interpreted as the conflict between good and evil in Markheim's mind after he murdered the shop keeper and thus committed a sin. The symbolic depiction of the background helps to build up the psychological tension within the murderer and contributes to the manifestation of the theme: the struggle between good and evil and the conquest of good over evil. Symbolism in background depiction is shown by this paper to be an effective literary technique for revealing the theme and is thus worth drawing on even by contemporary writers.

Symbolism, Background, Theme, Short Story, Markheim

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Lai Peng , "On Symbolic Depiction of the Background in Robert Stevenson's Short Story," Linguistics and Literature Studies, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 290 - 294, 2016. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2016.040406.

(b). APA Format:
Lai Peng (2016). On Symbolic Depiction of the Background in Robert Stevenson's Short Story. Linguistics and Literature Studies, 4(4), 290 - 294. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2016.040406.