Denotation is usually described as literal or dictionary meanings of a word in contrast to its connotative or associated meanings.
Let us strive to apprehend this term with the help of an instance. If you search for the that means of the word “dove” in a dictionary, you may see that its which means is “a sort of pigeon, a wild and domesticated chook having a heavy frame and short legs.” In literature, however, you regularly see “dove” used to intend a image of peace.
Denotation and Connotation
In literary works, we find it a not unusual exercise with writers to deviate from the dictionary meanings of words to create fresher ideas and photographs. Such deviations from the literal meanings are mentioned as “figurative language,” or “literary devices,” e.G. Metaphors, similes, personifications, hyperboles, understatements, paradoxes, and puns. Even in our daily conversation, we diverge from the dictionary meanings of phrases, preferring connotative or associated meanings of words so as to accurately bring our message.
Below is a listing of a few commonplace deviations from denotative meanings of words that we experience in our every day life:
Dog – indicates shamelessness or an unpleasant face.
Dove – shows peace or gentility.
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 – while used instead of “mom and father” advocate loving dad and mom.
Short Examples of Denotation
She recognized the lovable aroma of her mom’s cooking. (Smell)
Vegetables are an inexpensive (Cheap)
Hanna’s hobby in indoors decoration has was her entertainment pursuit. (Hobby)
Aunt Jolly lives in a hut deep down within the forest. (Cabin)
I stopped for brunch at a diner situated within the bay area. (Café)
His parents are conservationists. (Environmentalists)
My vintage laptop has died. (Venerable)
In a stealthy and quiet way, Bob entered into his lawyer’s chambers. (Cautious)
The son became truly 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 collectively younger sheep. (Lambs)
Harry has a pet and continues it in a cage. (tamed animal)
Sara forgot her sweater at home and is bloodless in the course of her walk. (Chilly)
John returns to his domestic (Family)
Denotation Examples in Literature
Example #1: Mending Wall (By Robert Frost)
“And on a day we meet to stroll the line
And set the wall between us as soon as again.
We preserve the wall between us as we go.
To every the boulders that have fallen to every.”
In the above lines, the word “wall” is used to suggest a bodily boundary, that is its denotative which means, however it also implies the idea of an emotional barrier.
Example #2: A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal (By William Wordsworth)
“A shut eye did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears —
She appeared a thing that couldn't feel
The touch of earthly years.
No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Roll’d spherical in earth’s diurnal course
With rocks, and stones, and trees.”
Wordsworth makes a evaluation between a living female and a dead woman within the first and second stanzas respectively. We are familiar with the meanings of the words used in the remaining line of the second stanza: rock, stone, and tree. However, the poet makes use of them connotatively, where “rock” and “stone” imply bloodless and inanimate items, and the tree shows dust and as a result the burial of that dead girl.
Example #3: As you Like It (By William Shakespeare)
“All the arena’s a stage,
And all the ladies and men merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one guy in his time plays many parts, …”
Shakespeare moves faraway from the denotative meanings of words inside the above lines, so that it will supply a symbolic sense to a few phrases. The phrase “a stage” symbolizes the arena, the word “players” shows human beings, and the word “parts” implies one of a kind tiers in their lives.
Example #4: Wild Asters (By Sara Teasdale)
“In the spring, I asked the daisies
If his phrases had been true,
And the clever, clear-eyed daisies
Now the fields are brown and barren,
Bitter autumn blows,
And of all of the silly asters
Not one knows.”
Sara Teasdale develops a number of hanging symbols via deviating from the denotative meanings of the phrases. In the above lines, “spring” and “daisies” are symbols of adolescents. “Brown and barren” is a symbol of transition from adolescents to vintage age. Finally, “sour autumn” symbolizes death.
Example #5: Richard Cory (By E. A. Robinson)
“And he was constantly quietly arrayed,
And he become usually human when he talked …
“Good-morning,” and he glittered while he walked.
And he become rich — yes, richer than a king …
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and placed a bullet via his head.”
Here, the poet uses denotative language to emphasize the personality of Richard Cory, who was wealthy, certainly he was “richer than a king.” He become well-educated, and a super celebrity – all and sundry within the town needed to be like him. He shines brightly in his speech and mannerisms, nevertheless, he kills himself in the end.
Example #6: Nicomachean Ethics (By Aristotle)
“[C]ontemplation is both the very best form of activity (because the mind is the best element in us, and the items that it apprehends are the best things that can be known), and also it's far the most continuous, due to the fact we're more able to non-stop contemplation than we're of any practical activity.”
In those lines, Aristotle explains the literal feature of contemplation inside the human mind. Also, he explains that contemplation is a human activity that is achieved continuously. He makes use of phrases and words that immediately describe contemplation.
Example #7: Fire and Ice (By Robert Frost)
“Some say the sector will lead to fire,
Some say in ice …
But if it needed to perish twice,
I think I know sufficient of hate
To say that for destruction ice …”
In the above lines, the poet has used some of denotative meanings of phrases. Here, “some say” denotes a set of people, and “I know” represents personal revel in. Then “end,” “fire,” “perish,” and “destruction” denote destruction and death.
Example #8: Moby Dick (By Herman Melville)
“What the white whale became to Ahab, has been hinted; what, at times, he became to me, as yet stays unsaid. Aside from those more obvious concerns touching Moby Dick…It turned into the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me.”
Ishmael opens the above instance by way of referencing the white whale, calling him “Moby Dick.” Also, he specifies and refers to the white color of the whale, and using it in its literal that means.
Function of Denotation
Readers are acquainted with denotations of words but denotations are commonly constrained meanings. Writers, therefore, deviate from the denotative meanings of phrases to create fresh ideas and pics that add deeper degrees of meanings to commonplace and regular words. Readers find it convenient to understand the connotative meanings of words because of the fact that they are familiar to 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