Here's an interesting article about Ernest Hemingway. The part I find most interesting occurs on page 4 where Hemingway that the symbolism which English teachers so often attribute to stories is not premeditated. He states "No good book has ever been written that has in it symbols arrived at beforehand and stuck in".
This quote supports my long held belief that the symbolism English teachers claim to find in books was usually not intended by the author and as such is entirely subjective. In school I always hated being criticized by an English teacher for not seeing the symbolism they claim is the "only" valid interpretation. Frequently these teachers would speak as if they had some sort of notebook from the author containing their secret thoughts about hidden subtext they had woven into their novel. What a crock!