What Does Gold Symbolize In Literature?

Gold has accompanied the history of human kind from its very beginnings. The story of gold and its symbolism starts with the first person who ever dug out a gold nugget. In different ages in the evolution of man, gold gathered many legends around it, stimulating the imagination with its beauty.

In contemporary popular tales, gold is present very often. There is always a main character who is supposed to go on a quest for a gold bird, a tree with gold apples, a gold fish, a gold castle. These tales are a collection of beliefs widely spread especially among the people living in rural areas, and enriched with details by each generation. Gold is considered the ultimate value and the journey made for finding it always turns out to be rewarding. In the end the hero either marries a beautiful princess, manages to save someone dear from a danger or receives half of the kingdom. The voyage towards the gold target usually represents the evolution of a person from adolescence to adulthood. Reaching gold signifies gaining knowledge and experience on the world.

In cultures different from ours, like the Egyptian one, gold used to be associated with religion very much. This was the result of their considering the god of the sun Ra their supreme god. Gold is directly associated with the color and the brightness of the sun. In Ancient Egypt it didn't represent a commercial value, being used only by the pharaohs and by the priests in religious rituals. The respect of the Egyptian people for gold is documented in Eloise Jarvis McGraw' s children novel "The Golden Goblet".

Another aspect tightly connected with gold is the gold rush. This phenomenon happened in waves as new mines were discovered throughout the world. The very famous American writer Mark Twain, in his attempt to find gold, came home with several stories behind the gold dream, stuck to him because of his artistic sensibility. He captured in short stories like "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" on a cheerful narrative tone which characterizes his works, episodes of the life of gold miners.

Nowadays no one is searching for lost treasures chests anymore. People have become more realistic and very connected with the economic reality. Nevertheless gold has remained an asset and buying gold represents a guarantee against the fluctuations in the financial world.


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