The problem with using symbolism like this, however, is that it’s not only obvious, but often used as a crutch in writing. It’s a lot easier to fit out an antagonist with symbols and motifs that are shorthand for “bad guy” – spikes, snakes, the color black, fire – than it is to actually show how they’re a bad person. It’s also a lot less interesting and, frankly, insulting to the reader.

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