...So Does Season!

Chapter 20

Presented By: Evan Imlay

Seasons Always Have Deeper Meanings

This chapter talks about how seasons are used in literature. They can:

  • portray an author's tone
  • create a mood in the story
  • portray emotions
  • parallel character or personality traits
  • foreshadow events
  • draw attention to a big theme in the story

Seasons in literature can be presented in a variety of ways including the literal season or a character's name.

Each season has emotions and/or ideas that are commonly associated with them and this is why authors use them so often.

Why Should Students Learn This?

Understanding the literary nature of seasons can help readers anticipate future events in a novel, understand the mood, and uncover deeper themes in a story.


What does Winter Mean?

Winter can symbolizes loss, sleep, death, sadness, hibernation, anger, hatred, and coldness.


What Does Spring Mean?

Spring can symbolize rebirth, enlightenment, growth, childhood, and youth.

Many of the ideas we associate with seasons date back thousands of years and can also be found in religious texts such as the Bible. In the Bible, Christ's resurrection happens in the Spring, which happens to be the season of rebirth and new life.


What Does Summer Mean?

Summer can symbolize freedom, light, heat, adulthood, romance, love, fulfillment, and passion.


What Does Fall Mean?

Fall can symbolize old age, harvest, ripeness, change, reflection, decline, and tiredness.

How Seasons...

Affect Mood in a Story

Each season has certain feelings and ideas associated with it (discussed above) that can change the mood in a story.

For example: winter and spring in Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

  • Winter = cold, death, suffering
  • summer = hope and warmth

Parallel Character and Personality Traits

Seasons can also represent character traits and personality. They can be represented in a variety of ways including literal season or a character's name.

For example: President Snow in the Hunger Games Trilogy

  • Snow falls in the Winter
  • Winter is cold, dark, and bitter
  • President Snow is a cold, dark, and bitter leader who will do anything he can to maintain power.

Another Example: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

  • In the book we know it is fall because Thorin says "Tomorrow will be the last week of autumn" (Tolkien 227).
  • This autumn stands for a harvest and change.
  • Bilbo changed from a cowardly Hobbit to a courageous warrior that took down a dragon.
  • Harvest = the benefits Bilbo and the gang of dwarves will reap in the form of gold when they recapture the Lonely Mountain.

Draw Attention to a Major Theme

Sometimes seasons are there to represent a theme in the story.

For example: Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour"

  • "She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which someone was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves" (Chopin 1).
  • Spring time = the feelings of freedom and the start of a new life that Mrs. Mallard has after her husbands "death".

One Last Thing

Most people have a general understanding of what the seasons mean and that is why it is not uncommon for authors to use them in ironic ways.

This is meant to draw the reader's attention to details that may reveal a larger theme or idea in the text.

Modified Jigsaw (Learning Activity)

1. I will pass out Shakespeare's Sonnet XCVIII (98).

2. Read the poem to yourself and then get into 3 large groups based on your season.

3. Read the sonnet again and focus on your specific season with your group.

  • Some Questions to ask: What does my season mean in the sonnet? Where does it appear in the sonnet? Would the story change if my season was omitted from the poem? How is it used in the poem?

4. I will then assign each person a number in each group and they will get in a group with people that have the same number. Discuss each of the seasons in depth and give answers to some of the questions from the previous group. Also discuss what you think the overall meaning of the sonnet is by using your knowledge of the seasons and knowledge from previous chapters.

5. If time allows, write an extra line for the sonnet (I know that it will be more than 14 lines) that includes the season of fall in an effective and meaningful way.

Works Cited

Ahmed, Abdul Sattar. “Oh God, Guide Us Along the Straight Path.” Onislam. 2011. JPEG File.

Carotenuto, Gianna. “Dec 21st Winter Solstice – A Yoga Ceremony.” Yoga Healing Arts. 2013. JPEG File.

Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” Literature and Its Writers: A Compact Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. 3rd ed. Boston: Bedford, 2004. 137-39. Print.

Collins, Suzanne. Mockingjay. New York: Scholastic, 2011. Print

Fisher, Stacy. “Winter Stag.” Freebies. 2013. JPEG File.

Foster, Thomas C. How to Read Literature Like a Professor. New York: HarperCollins, 2003. Print.

Holy Bible King James Version. Ed. Manford G. Gutzke. Iowa Falls: Riverside Book and Bible House, 1968. Print.

Lewis, C.S. The Chronicles of Narnia. New York: HarperCollins, 2001. Print.

Mate. W. “Path between the trees wallpaper.” Superb Wallpapers. 2013. JPEG File.

Pivot Team, the. “Winter is Coming.” Pivot Conference. 2013. JPEG File.

Shakespeare, William. “Sonnet XCVIII.” Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Oxquarry Books ltd, 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.

Shpilenok, Igor. “My neighbor, ‘Boyfriend’, a young male bear drinking from the river.” Russian Nature Photography. 2011. JPEG File.

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2001. Print.

Any Questions?