Sunday, December 4, 2011
Symbiotic or Symbolic?......you be the judge
I was discussing the relationship between a character who violently and ruthlessly acquired ivory and rubber in the Congo in exchange for money from England, but more importantly, he received the status and recognition that fed his ego and healed deep emotional wounds he received by the middle class rejecting him. It was more than just a give and take - it was his sustenance. I described this relationship as "symbiotic". Imagine a clown fish in an anemone. He receives shelter in the anemone and in return he feeds it. It may initially sting him, but he will continue to live in it and eventually become immune to the sting.
My TA said I can't use a scientific term when writing about historical literature. He crossed it out and put "symbolic" in its place. I did not MEAN it was symbolic. I could use the term but would have had to add an explanation as to what it symbolized. Isn't it better to just use the descriptive word "symbiotic" and let the reader make the connection?
Readers - waddayathink?