Roses as a Symbol in Classic Stories
Roses as a Symbol in Classic Stories

Directors and other creatives have for years used roses in telling stories as it allows them to tell a part of the story that words are unable to. While it’s easy to assume that roses only symbolise romance and love, they have been used as a metaphor for rebirth, destruction, lust, and more. Here are some of the most popular stories in which roses have played a key role. Two are iconic movies, including a modern Disney classic, while the other is a popular novella.

American Beauty

American Beauty uses roses in some stunning ways throughout the movie, whether it’s growing outside of the house, on the coffee table, or in bathtubs. It first appears as though the rose represents passion, love, and lost. And while that may be the case, it also represents something deeper. It’s been said that roses are used in the film as a symbol of decay of suburban life in America, especially when you consider the film’s tagline: look closer. This is shown through the protagonist Lester Burnham’s (Kevin Spacey) fantasies about a night with his daughter’s best friend. The roses in the film were specifically chosen as they’re susceptible to rot, which is a mirror of a family that was whole and pure, but then later begins to fall apart.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast became to be symbolised by the Enchanted Rose after it captivated audiences due to its purpose and beauty. The rose is symbolic of physical beauty and fate, as the Beast, who was originally a man, was transformed into a monster after he refused to help an elderly lady in need. The story said that the Beast needs to learn to love someone before the last petal of the rose falls on his 21st birthday or he will forever remain a monster.

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland

When white roses have been accidentally planted instead of red, the cards fear that they might be subject to the Queen of Heart’s wrath as the Queen is quite partial to red roses. It is thought that white roses are a symbol of serenity, innocence, and purity, which was Alice’s life prior to her falling down the rabbit hole. Once she sets foot in Wonderland, however, she has no choice but to enter the world of adulthood and quickly learn to mature.

It didn’t take long for this novella to become the world’s fourth most-translated book. The story tells of a pilot who comes to be stranded in the desert when he meets a prince who has fallen to Earth from an asteroid. Watercolour illustrations decorate the pages of the book, which were drawn by the author himself, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. One of the more well-known illustrations is of the titular character while he lies in a field covered by a thousand roses. It’s believed that the roses here represent all of his past decisions, loves, and friendships that he left behind.