Use of symbols

In your exam question, you are also asked to focus on the use of symbols in the short story “Hollywood” by Bobby Nayyar.

Most of the symbols in the short story are related to elements of the setting. Here, we discuss the following ones:

  • The Hollywood cinema
  • Sae’s studio
  • The sycamore seed
  • The way Sae views Tarsem

The Hollywood cinema

The first and obvious symbol is the Hollywood cinema. Initially, it is a symbol of escapism and a world of dreams, as the narrator himself confesses: “Just me, the silver screen and my dreams. Nothing could touch me in those moments.” (ll. 20-21)

Furthermore, the cinema is a symbol of London for the narrator, similar to the people living in the city:


The way Sae views Tarsem

Lastly, an important symbolism is hidden in the way Sae views Tarsem. Initially, when she sees him at the cinema, she thinks about drawing his portrait and naming it “Man alone in cinema” (l. 37) – being symbolic of the way Tarsem felt about his life (he was just an ordinary man without any particular purpose).


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