Denotation is generally defined as the literal or dictionary meaning of a word as opposed to its connotative or associated meaning.
Let's try to understand this term by means of an example. If you look for the meaning of the word "pigeon" in a dictionary, you will see that its meaning is "a kind of pigeon, a wild and domesticated bird with a heavy body and short legs". In literature, however, “dove” is often referred to as a symbol of peace.
Denotation and connotation
In literary works, it is common for writers to deviate from dictionary meanings of words in order to generate fresher ideas and images "literary means" means metaphors, parables, personifications, exaggerations, understatements, paradoxes and puns. Even in our daily conversation, we deviate from dictionary meanings of words, preferring connotative or related meanings of words to get our message across experienced:
Dog - indicates shamelessness or an ugly face.
Dove - indicates peace or meekness.
Home – suggests family, comfort, and security.
Politician – suggests negative connotation of wickedness and insincerity
Pushy – suggests someone is loud-mouthed and irritating.
Mom and Dad – when used instead of “mother and father” suggest loving parents.
Short Examples of Denotation
She recognized the lovely aroma of her mother’s cooking.(Smell)
Vegetables are an inexpensive (Cheap)
Hanna’s interest in interior decoration has turned into her leisure pursuit.(Hobby)
Aunt Jolly lives in a hut deep down in the forest.(Cabin)
I stopped for brunch at a diner situated in the bay area.(Café)
His parents are conservationists.(Environmentalists)
My old computer has died.(Venerable)
In a stealthy and quiet way, Bob entered into his lawyer’s chambers.(Cautious)
The son was somewhat intimidated by father’s assertive (Confident)
Ben is an adventurous (Courageous)
Emily moved around the shore and stopped to take rest.(Relax)
The man is flocking together young sheep.(Lambs)
Harry has a pet and keeps it in a cage.(tamed animal)
Sara forgot her sweater at home and is cold during her walk.(Chilly)
John returns to his home (Family)
Denotation Examples in Literature
Example #1: Mending Wall (By Robert Frost)
“And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.”
In the above lines, the word “wall” is used to suggest a physical boundary, which is its denotative meaning, but it also implies the idea of an emotional barrier.
Example #2: A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal (By William Wordsworth)
“A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears —
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.
No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Roll’d round in earth’s diurnal course
With rocks, and stones, and trees."
Wordsworth makes a contrast between a living girl and a dead girl in the first and second stanzas respectively. We are familiar with the meaning of the words used in the last line of the second stanza: stone, stone and tree. However, the El poet uses them connotatively, where "rock" and "stone" imply cold, inanimate objects, and the tree suggests dirt and thus the burial of that dead girl.
Example # 3: How you like it (By William Shakespeare )
the world is a stage,
And all men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And a man in his time plays many roles, ... ”
Shakespeare moves away from the denotative meanings of the words in the previous lines, to give a symbolic meaning to some words. The phrase "a stage" symbolizes the world, the word "players" suggests human beings, and the word "parts" implies different stages of their lives. days.
Example # 4: Wild Asters (By Sara Teasdale)
“In the spring, I asked the daisies
If their words were true,
AND the clever, clairvoyant daisies
She always knew .
All the stupid asters
Nobody knows. "
Sara Teasdale develops a series of striking symbols by deviating from the denoting meanings of words. In the lines above," spring "and" daisies "are symbols of youth." Brown and sterile "is a symbol of the transition from youth to old age. Finally," bitter autumn "symbolizes death.
Example # 5: Richard Cory (by E. Robinson)
" And he was always dressed in silence,
Y He was always human when he spoke ...
"Good morning", and he glowed when he walked.
And he was rich, yes, richer than a king ...
And Richard Cory, one quiet summer night,
He went home and the head with a bullet. ”
Here, the poet uses denotative language to emphasize the personality of Richard Cory, who was rich, me In fact, he was“ richer than a king. He was well educated and a perfect celebrity, everyone in town wanted to be like him. It shines brightly in his speech and gestures, however, in the end he commits suicide.
Example # 6: Nicomachean Ethics (by Aristotle)
“[C] ontemplation is both the highest form of activity (since the intellect is the highest elevated in us, and the objects it apprehends are the highest things that can be known), and it is also the most continuous, because we are more capable of continuous contemplation than we of any practical activity. ”
In these lines, Aristotle explains the literal function of contemplation in the human mind. Furthermore, he explains that contemplation is a human activity that is carried out continuously. words that directly describe contemplation.
Example # 7: Fire and Ice (by Robert Frost)
“Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say ice ...
But if I were to perish twice,
I think I know Enough about hatred
To say that for destruction ice ... "
In the previous lines, the poet has used various denotative meanings of the words. Here," some say "denotes a group of people, and" I know "represents the personal experience Then "end", "fire," "Perish" and "destruction" denote destruction and death.
Example # 8: Moby Dick (By Herman Melville)
“It has been hinted what the white whale was to Ahab; what, at times, was for me, has not yet been said. Apart from those more obvious considerations about Moby Dick ... It was the whiteness of the whale that most of all horrified me. "
Ishmael opens the previous example by referring to the white whale, calling it “Moby Dick”. Furthermore, it specifies and refers to the white color of the whale, and uses it in its literal meaning.
Readers are familiar with denotations for words, but denotations are generally restricted meanings. Writers therefore are deviate from the denotative meaning of words to Create fresh ideas and images that add deeper levels of meaning to ordinary words. Readers find it convenient to understand the connotative meanings of words due to the fact that they are familiar with their literal meanings.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw