Use of Color in Literature

How has the use of color in literature changed, especially in more recent works? Our tv shows and movies are closely edited, digitally graded, and dominated by blue and orange. We over-edit our "candid" photos, dimming the colors to look retro or cranking up the contrast. Do we see a similar trend in written descriptions?

Has the symbolism behind colors changed? Has the use of certain color symbolism been reduced as the result of changing trends?

As our literature becomes divided into increasingly smaller genres and subgenres, is the use of color similarly divided? Thrillers will always be "darker" than romances, of course, but are there other trends in symbolism, shades, etc?

  • I love this topic because there is so much symbolism in color, and it does change depending on how you use it. One fun fact you might explore: many colors symbolize different things depending on what part of the spectrum they are from. For example, in the 1995 remake of A Little Princess, director Alfonso Curan used many different shades of green. Warmer greens (jungle, lime, Kelly) were meant to convey the beauty of India, Sara's warm personality, etc. Colder, darker greens (gray-green, hunter, olive) were used on the attic, to convey Miss Minchin's harshness, etc. – Stephanie M. 7 years ago
  • I find it interesting that, although many people claim to understand symbolism, they often won't notice many important clues to a story given (indirectly) through colours because they aren't highlighted for them. When I started studying Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire", my teacher at A Level told me that Williams is brilliant because he seems to never waste a word, and as the play's original title was in fact "Primary Colours", there is plenty of important context hidden behind colours. Williams is definitely one of the writing worth looking into; his use of imagery is sublime! – kristinagreta 7 years ago

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