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Freshman Summer Success Program

Sea Turtle

Sea Turtles: Symbols of Resilience and Persistence


The turtle is an ancient symbol that represents creation, endurance, determination, strength, stability, longevity, fertility, and innocence. The turtle also provides protection, good fortune, and brings happiness and good omens.

Turtles and tortoises are frequently depicted in popular culture as easygoing, patient, and wise creatures. Due to their long lifespan, slow movement, sturdiness, and wrinkled appearance, they are an emblem of longevity and stability in many cultures around the world. Turtles are regularly incorporated into human culture, with painters, photographers, poets, songwriters, and sculptors using them as subjects. They have an important role in mythologies around the world, and are often implicated in creation myths regarding the origin of the Earth. Sea turtles are charismatic megafauna and are used as symbols of the marine environment and environmentalism



As a result of its role as a slow, peaceful creature in culture, the turtle can be misconceived as a sedentary animal; however, many types of turtle, especially sea turtles, frequently migrate over large distances across the ocean and, therefore, their images have a very positive connotation implying a dynamic resilience and perseverance. (In The Grapes of Wrath, for example, John Steinbeck uses the tortoise as an emblem of the resolve and persistence of the "Okies" that travel west across the US for a better life.) Some admire the cultural characteristics of the turtle to be assertive and peaceful. Some people prefer sea turtles, because they are perceived as symbols of strength, courage, longevity, knowledge, security, tenacity and persistence.

 

 

Last updated or reviewed on 7/27/12

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