Symbolism can be somewhat daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Resist the temptation to run straight to the Internet to google the symbols in your novel--try doing it yourself FIRST and then check yourself if you're unsure.
The first step: know what a symbol is. A symbol is an object that represents something else--often an abstract concept or idea.
The second step: look for frequently mentioned objects or objects that receive a lot of attention. If an author spends a lot of time talking about a specific object or it is repeatedly brought up, there's a good chance it's a symbol. Sometimes symbols are particularly obvious. Consider Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. There's a reason the novel's named The Scarlet Letter instead of All About Hester. The red letter that Hester is forced to wear is a symbol representing...well, we'll discuss it after you've read the book.
Still not sure you understand symbolism? As we read each book, you will find an area of our discussion forum dedicated to symbolism. Be sure to participate actively in the discussion board. Before long, you'll be picking out symbols on your own with no trouble at all.