texts and the rules that govern the arrangements of those signs. 5 Language. A language seems virtually to contain in it all the possible texts and their meanings
that can be expressed in that language. 6. Text. One of the most prevalent views on this matter nowadays is that the limits on the meaning of texts are exclusively
imposed by the texts themselves. 7 Cultural function. A key element that has not been mentioned is the cultural function that the text has, for the function of the
text as determined by the culture in which the text is produced. A culture, then, understood as a community of persons who share certain values, beliefs, and rules
of behavior, determines the function of texts and those functions in turn establish the overall parameters of meaning.
F. Literary Symbols
A literary symbol is something that means more than what it is. Its an object, a person, a situation, an action, or some item that has literal meaning in the
story but suggests or represents other meanings as well. A very simple illustration is to be found in name symbolism. Most names are simply labels. Seldom does a
name tell anything about the person to whom it is attached, except possibly the individuals nationally. In a story, however, authors may choose names for their
characters that serve not only to label them but also to suggest something about them.
More important than symbolism of name is the symbolic use of objects and actions. Some symbols will fit so naturally into the literal context that their
symbolic value will not at first be apparent except to the most perceptive reader.
In other stories usually stories with a less realistic surface they will be so central and so obvious that they will demand symbolical interpretation if the story is to
yield significant meaning. In the first kind of story the symbols reinforce and add to the meaning. In the first story they carry the meaning.
In addition to having the same associations as conventional symbols, literary symbols may derive additional associations through their use in a
particular literary work. Often a character, place, action, event, or object is used to suggest multiple meaning in a particular story.
For instance, ‘a watch’ or ‘clock’ denotes time; as a literary symbol in a particular work, it might seem to suggest
just the passing of time, or it might convey anything from a characters inability to recapture the past to the idea of time running out - or, it might suggest more than
one of these ideas. Thinking about an objects possible meanings can suggest a variety of ways to interpret a text.
G. Theory of Symbol of Roland Barthes
Roland Barthes was born on November 12, 1915 in the town of Cherbourg in the Normandy. He was the son of naval officer Louis Barthes, who was killed
in a battle in the North Sea before he reached one year of his age. His mother raised him in French city of Bayonne, the place where he received his first
exposure to culture. According to Barthes, symbols always come in form of text or context. In
its process of existence, myth concept becomes crucial. Myth itself is not an
Laurie G. Kirszner Stephen R. Mandell, Op. Cit., p. 249.
object, but it is a form of communication system in delivering messages. Myth is a speech, so all things can be considered as a myth as long as they appear in the
context. Myth is determined by its way of delivery. Thus, myth is a message not only in verbal form but also in other forms, such as advertisements, films,
paintings, photography, etc. in our daily life. All of them are usually used in delivering message.
Barthes follows the concept of semiotics of Ferdinand de Saussure, the father of structuralism. He has stressed that semiotic is the study of linguistic
meaning which uses the sign system that is the concept of sign “signifier” and “signified”. He makes the systematic model in analyzing the meaning of signs. He
focused his concept in “two order of signification” First order
Source: John Fiske, Introduction to Communication Studies, 1990, p. 88, as quoted by Drs. Alex Sobur, M.Si., In the book of Analisis Teks
Media , 2004, p. 127.
Sunardi, Semiotika Negativa, Yogyakarta: Kanal, 2002, p. 45.
Here is the diagram of Roland Barthes’s concept “two order signification.” This diagram explains that ‘the first order or the first signification’ is rooted from
the structure of Saussure “signifier” and “signified”. It is the relationship between signifier and signified in the sign. It means that the first order or ‘the first
signification’ is the main or the true meaning of sign. For example, we have a
concept “a yellow flag” in our mind, so the concept as a signified is shown into a real shape or form that is ‘a flag with a yellow’ color. In this case, Roland Barthes,
the owner of this denotation which means the true meaning of sign or reality meaning such as the example above, that is the concept of ‘a yellow flag’, it refers
to ‘a flag with yellow’ color in reality. The second order or the second signification is ‘connotation’. Barthes
relates the first order or the first signification with the culture or custom. It describes the interaction when the sign interacts to the emotion of reader and to
the custom and culture value which create the connotative meaning. For example, ‘a yellow flag’ in form, the true meaning of it, is only a flag with a yellow color,
and the meaning change when it is related with the culture of Indonesian people where they define it as a death.
Normally, ‘denotation’ means the use of language to mean what it is said, while, ‘connotation’ means the use of language to mean something else that it was
said. For instance, the word ‘black’, besides it’s contain meaning as one of the colors, it is also associated for the Western societies with have the concept of
‘dark’, ‘devil’, ‘sinful’, and ‘dangerous’. The denotative meaning of ‘black’ is as one of the colors that were known well to the neutral which is suitable to all
colors. The connotative meaning is the opposite with the true meaning, it related to the Western culture that they say ‘black’ is ‘dark’, ‘devil’, ‘sinful’, and
‘dangerous’. A concept of ‘yellow flag’ in our mind, is the concept of signifier, then, we
prove it into a real shape or form that is a flag with a yellow color, it is a denotation means of the phrase a yellow flag that is a flag with a yellow color.
But in the connotative meaning, ‘a yellow flag’ is means ‘death’, that means if there is ‘a yellow flag’ it means ‘death’.
In the semiotic approach, it is not merely about word and images, but it is about an object too; that can function as ‘signifier’ in production of meaning.
‘Clothes’, for example, it has a simple physical function, besides ‘to cover’ and ‘to protect’ the body from the weather. But it has two meanings; to construct
meaning and to carry the message. Like an evening dress and jeans, as the clothes,
they mean a thing to cover and to protect the body, and the clothes are ‘a signifier
’. And the meaning ‘to cover’ and ‘to protect’ is ‘the signified’. Those clothes had two meaning; an evening dress may signify ‘elegance’ with a bow tie
and tails for man and beautiful long dress for girl, and jeans may signify ‘casualness’ with certain kind of sweater in the night time or shirt and casual
shoes. The meaning both of them as the material to cover and protect body is called denotative meaning, while, the other meaning for them as elegance and
casualness is called connotative meaning. Another example is ‘food’. The main meaning of food is the necessity as
the basic need for our life to survive. But food also has another meaning, it can be
seems from its function, such as an identity of class and status. One kind of food is ‘steak’; where the main function of ‘steak’ is as ‘the basic class’ for human
being, but it has other function that can be identified as social classes; ‘poor’ and ‘rich people’.
‘Steak’ is identified to ‘rich people’ because it is one of the high class food, we are able to recognize it from the price which is expensive, there is no
matter for rich people to buy anytime but not for poor people, they will think twice for they have not enough money to buy it. Denotative meaning of ‘steak’ is
a basic need for human being and connotation meaning is classifying social status. The sifting of denotative meaning to connotative meaning is influenced by
the culture. The connotative meanings for the ‘black’ color, ‘yellow flag’, ‘dress’ ‘jeans’ and ‘steak’ are resulted from the local culture where those signifiers are
exist. That is why each signifier has many connotative meaning refers to the culture’s imitation.
In the level of connotative meaning, Barthes used the new terminology for ‘signifier’, ‘signified’, and ‘sign’. The purpose is to differentiate between the
terminology that is used by structuralism and semiotic. He used the terminology of form for ‘signifier’, the concept for ‘signified’, and signification for ‘sign’.
Those are three of the new terminologies that have same meaning with the three terminologies of structuralism.
So, in his theory, Barthes explains that there is a shifting or self-concealing from one symbol to another. In systematical way, Barthes explains that there are
three stages of significance or signing. First of all, denotation contains elements
of significance and signified. Secondly, primary meaning or connotation in which both of elements is combined to become Sign. Thirdly, secondary meanings in
which both of those elements are combined to become Sign in level III.
CHAPTER III RESEARCH FINDINGS
A. Data Description
The writer would like to present the research findings in the chart. The chart below portraits the symbolism and the symbolic meaning with their supporting act of its symbolism.
Table 1 No. Corpus
Symbols Denotative Meaning
Symbolic Meaning ActPage
metal chairs are set one
at each side of the table. Four mismatched
chair. Separate movable seat
that incompatible to each other.
It symbolizes miscommunications in four members of family. They
have different point of view about their life as a family. Thus, it
results in constant dispute in their family.
3. In the down right corner
is a pile of wooden debris… which are the
remains of a broken
In the down left corner of the stage are a
and small gas stove…
Refrigerator. A movable barrier used
to open and close the entrance to a building,
or vehicle, usually a solid
panel, hinged to or sliding in a frame
Apparatus in which food and drinks are
kept cold. It is symbol of the aggressive
elimination of spatial distinction between inside of the house
family and the outside of house stranger. It is representation of
the barrier between inside of house family and the outside of house
It is Symbol of spiritual hunger. It was shown by the inability of the
in providing satisfaction for their
refrigerator there are no eggs… Slamming
refrigerator and looks
opening refrigerator and staring
into it… …Ella turns and opens
the refrigerator…Emma: physical needs.
Emma: Just habit? Ella:
What? Emma: Opening and closing?
Weston: …He crosses to
the refrigerator and opens it… He slams
the refrigerator door…
Ella: …Now, the first thing is that you should
never go swimming…
swimming No action or no activity
through water using the arms
and legs, whether for It is symbolizes no activity of
6. Ella: …She’s only just
now having her first period.
Weston: What’s the
matter with her?
Wesley: …She’s got her
Emma: I’M TAKING THE
Horse. pleasure, exercise, or
used to carry loads, for It is symbol of a change.
Symbol of masculine, strength and power,
Wesley enters again from right carrying a
small live lamb.
Wesley: Staring at lamb “Eat American
Lamb. Twenty million
Wesley: It is. It’s a
Young of the sheep.
A carnivorous canine mammal smaller than
A person considered to lack
Symbol of sacrifice and weakness.
Symbol of duality and outward violence as predator
Symbol of the social outward violence
11. Weston: I don’t need a
bed… He finally gets
on table so that he’s
lying flat out on it…
Weston: to lamb as he folds clothes
… Should I tell ya’ something about
A piece of furniture with a flat top and one
or more legs, used for placing things on or
doing things at.
A large bird of prey with a hooked beak and
broad wingspan that hunts by day.
predator It is represents to Taylor and Ellis.
Symbol of altar for reincarnation.
capitalist system. II169
13. Weston: …He was after
those testes. Those fresh
Ella: You remember. What happens next?
Wesley: A cat comes.
Cat. The male gonad or
sperm-producing gland testis usually with its
A small domesticated mammal that has soft
usually, a long furry tail,
or meowing sounds. It symbolizes personal power. It
represents to Weston as a father in the family.
14. Ella: And they come
crashing down to earth.
Both of them come crashing down. Like the
whole thing. Eagle
down. Fall or strike suddenly
and noisily. Both
the destruction of the family society
capitalist system. III200
C. Data Analysis