AP English Literature
In The Picture of Dorian Gray, author Oscar Wilde employs the literary element of symbolism to help us, the audience to see the protagonist Dorian Gray’s transformation from a innocent naïve individual to later a soul marked by secrets and sin. It is also, through symbolism that we see exactly how and what influences Dorian to his destructive path and ultimately his dramatic end. Wilde uses the symbol of the yellow book given to Dorian by Lord Henry as a symbol of the negative influence Lord Henry has over Dorian and a representation as well of what Dorian can eventually become.
For instance Wilde illustrates Dorian’s obsession with the yellow book in an interesting way, this is shown in Chapter 10 when Dorian initially receives the yellow book from Lord Henry. When Dorian opens the book and begins to read the book he becomes so engrossed in its story of about its wealthy protagonist who dedicates his life in seeking aesthetic pleasures, that he loses track of time and is late in meeting up with Lord Henry. The yellow book is described as being a being a bad influence and taking over Dorian making him lose awareness of his surroundings, “It was a poisonous book. The heavy odour of incense seemed to cling about its pages and to trouble the brain. The mere cadence of the sentences, the subtle monotony of their music, so full as it was of complex refrains and movements elaborately repeated, produced in the mind of the lad, as he passed from chapter to chapter, a form of reverie, a malady of dreaming, that made him unconscious of the falling day and creeping shadows.” From this we begin to see how Dorian’s obsession begins, and also Wilde exemplifies Dorian’s obsession in Chapter 11, when Dorian who is so moved and almost devoted to studying this book that he has nine copies of the book made, “He procured from Paris no less than nine large-paper copies of the first edition, and had them bound in different colours,...