The symbolism of color in life and in stories is interesting and even fascinating. The title of my current work in progress uses color in a symbolic way with a double meaning. In this case, my title speaks to both the issue of depression as well as an unexpected death and the unburying of secrets and a shocking revelation that follows. Are you trying to figure out what the title could possibly be that would hint at all of that?
I’m sure you are aware there is a whole psychology of colors? There are the colors of business, the colors of culture, the colors of personality, and even the colors of sex (psychologically speaking). Colors have numerous meanings and hold a great deal of symbolism in all societies. The meanings, however, are not necessarily the same from one culture to the next. The difference in meaning across cultures fascinates me.
For example, In China, the use of red is used for logos, packaging, and advertisements. They view the color red as positive and lucky. In Middle Eastern countries, however, red is a symbol of caution, danger, and evil.
For fun, when you’re reading a book, take note of how and when color is used to set a mood or define a character’s personality, or someone’s intent, and more. And pay attention to the setting of the story and how the use of a certain color might clash with your own cultural perception of that color.
Not everyone has a favorite color, but most of us have at least one color we’re consistently drawn to. Of course, our mood often plays a role in the color of the day or moment, but what color do you find you’re consistently drawn to? For me, it’s green. More specifically, it’s olive green. That color to me represents comfort, warmth, peace, and beauty.
If you want to know what your favorite colors say about you, check out this interesting and in-depth article at Empowered by Color.
Sometimes we identify certain colors with people we know, either because we know they love that color, or because we associate them with it for other reasons. For example, a dear friend of mine (now deceased) loved the color turquoise. Now, when I see that color, I think of her. Not only because she loved the color, but mostly because turquoise fit her personality. It’s bright, sharp, cheerful, and uplifting, just as she was.
Of course, colors don’t dictate personality or even completely outline it, but there is something to the psychology of color and its symbolism. Pay attention to how it’s used all around us to motivate, calm, or even provoke us. Keeping in mind differences from culture to culture.
Circling back to the use of color and its symbolic meaning in books, below is a list of books with color in the title. Read one or two and see how the color of the object plays more of a role than possibly the item itself. Or an equal role. It might be fun!
· “Girl in a Blue Dress” by Gaynor Arnold.
· “A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire” by Amy Butler Greenfield. (This sounds interesting!)
· “Blue Shoe” by Anne Lamott.
· “The Secret History of the Pink Carnation” by Lauren Willig. (I really enjoyed this book and the series)
· “Red Kayak” by Priscilla Cummings.
I’ve only read one of the above mentioned books, but I just added a few to my “to read” list on Goodreads!
Book recommendation: “The Secret History of The Pink Carnation” by Lauren Willig. Yes, I’m pulling from the list above because this is a favorite of mine. If you enjoy romantic historical fiction, give Lauren Willig books a try.