Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
Remaining true to its own cunning, the crow is a shifting and ambiguous symbol. Inman strongly identifies with this bird, looking to it with envy as a creature of independence, freed from the constraints that the world imposes. Ruby highlights the crow’s merits when she points out its resilience and tremendous capacity for survival. While the crow suggests doom and destruction, it also demonstrates the dark instincts troubling man’s soul.
Forked roads feature prominently in the text. Inman is often required to choose a direction or to take some course of action directed by the road ahead. Crossings symbolize the boundaries Inman traverses between the realms of the terrestrial and the spiritual.
For Inman, dark-haired women symbolize Ada, the woman to whom he is returning. Each dark-haired woman is brave, self-sufficient and captivating. These women seem to act as beacons or markers along Inman’s journey, leading him home to Ada.