Symbolism in play The Minister’s Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne Explicatory Essay
Nathaniel Hawthorne has primarily used symbolism in his work as a style of narrative maneuver. A symbol like the black color has been used to denote the veil itself. It is a symbol of evil and secret sin of humanity. The veil representation has been commonly used to illustrate fear of the unknown and the rigidity in the puritan society.
Besides, the typical nuance veil has rested in the somatic and conceptual disadvantage that it establishes, amid the minister and his brethren and the shame that it articulates.
Hawthorne (89) describes that the congregation trust that the exterior exhibits offers evidence in regard to a person’s essential features, thus his or her incredible comportment. Hence by embracing the veil, the minister diminishes the authority on which the faithful can accurately envisage his conduct.
This causes isolation of the minister with his congregation, although he is made reckless already by simple action of wearing the veil. Fragment of the terrifying effect of veil descends from consciousness (Meyer, 65).
The consciousness alludes that the other person is capable of seeing without being identified or seen himself. This is illustrated by members of the congregation when they say “the most blameless girl and the man of cynical breast sensed as if the minister had crept on them. Behind this dreadful veil, revealed their amassed unfairness of deed (Hawthorne, 113)
As the congregation cannot aptly predict where the minister is gazing, they trust and assume that they are being watched diligently than normal. This hypothesis is reinforced by the theme of the discourse, which “had typified furtive evil and the miserable secrecies which people skin from the rest of society”.
Hence, the ministers exemplify the responsibility of “God”, whose probing examination can decode secret mystery of an individual of the soul. Equally, the wearing of the veil is a signal of being guilty. As a classic illustration for the society, the minister accordingly infers that individuals have to accept the same.
The minister criticizes the people by being chauvinistic and fallen from the philosophy of ethics. They are extremely concerned, with the growing power drilled over them in embracing shared uniqueness of Puritan America. This is apparent in fundamental battle amid the people and society (Hawthorne, 79).
The Minister’s black veil symbol can also be illustrated clearly on the universal variance between puritanism and sensitivity, which is the attitude that hominid are dualistic; they have inherent, evil side and an internalized, moralistic side.
Rendering to this set of conjecture, the “Evil or darkness” as described by Hawthorne, we can infer that darkness is a natural part of an individual (Hawthorne, 97).
The Minister recognizes the evil in him and formulates alternatives to curb obstacles that can preserve his sentient character from intolerable and suppressed self. This obstacle is embodied in the veil (Meyer, 104).
It is subsequently transferred as a reflection of clandestine sin. The congregation epitomizes the cognizant of the persona, which entails the ethics and tenets verbalized by humanity. To evade frightening acuities from inflowing cognizance, they embrace multiple instruments. The multiplicity of these shield instruments is illustrated by the antiphons of minister’s homily (Hawthorne, 3).
Various people search for means of appraising the situation, as in case, the existence of others. Others find a way to befuddle themselves from their feelings, by talking and laughing loudly. Other people dismiss or refute their feeling of the situation.
Symbols in Hawthorne’s play, The Minister’s Black Veil illustrate the impenetrable obstacle existing in all human souls. The point illustrated by the symbols alludes that every individual should accept his or her “black veil” (Meyer, 123). However, if we humans are contented in accepting the evil in them, there is a concern to come when individuals will be compelled to put aside their veils.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Minister’s Black Veil, Iowa: Perfection Learning, 2007
Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing, London: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007
Symbolism in three literature works Analytical Essay
Use of symbolism in literature works has been utilized more often to represent true meanings of the stories as conveyed by writers. Presenting symbolism in stories has several advantages.
These include presenting readers with the opportunity to interpret ideas from such works. In addition, symbolism improves a reader’s critique and presents him/her with valuable poetic analysis skills. Most authors use symbolisms in their works to send clear but silent messages to audience. This helps in giving varied interpretation of literary works.
Another significance of symbolism is its silent message, which appeals to readers. These are usually found in most artistry works. They form the foundation of artistry since almost every message in arts focus on interpretation of symbols and images. Symbolisms are utilized to add quality to the works presented.
This paper will analyze symbolisms used in three literature works presented below. These are in “The Cherry Orchard”, “The Hairy Ape”, and “Madame Bovary”. It will also endeavor to identify at least one symbolism in each of these works as presented by the author.
“The Cherry Orchard”
This is a story in a Russian setting with several presentations of symbolisms. Among these, include the Cherry Orchard, and Breaking string. This play emphasizes mainly on the past and memory.
For instance, they refer to their room as a nursery even though it is clear that there are no children in it. Symbolism is conveyed in the form of Cherry Orchard, which is heavily presented throughout the play. Almost everything revolves around this symbol. It is quite interesting to note how Ranevsky perceives orchards.
The Cherry Orchard is presented as a huge gigantic tree in Russia and is estimated to produce over 4 million pounds of cherries from one crop. It is quite amazing that with such amount of cherries, Ranevsky cannot be economically sustained. Moreover, Lopakhin’s estate covers more than 2500 acres, which should be covered by Cherry Orchards.
According to Firs, recipe used to make cherry jam was lost, and this seems to explain why they could not cover most of the estate with Cherry Orchard. This can be seen as a relic of past and symbolizes end to the period when Cherry Orchard was useful. Furthermore, the Cherry Orchard’s unrealistic size, which is assumed as largest in Russia, presents another symbolism of past memories.
In this regard, the Orchard is symbolized to represent a certain aspect of memory. It is also quite important to note that memory is represented by different characters in varying ways. For instance, each of the characters perceives a different aspect of past events with Orchards. An example is Ranevsky who relates the Orchard with his dead mother whom he perceives to be walking in Cherry Orchards.
In essence, the Orchards represents a symbol of his past that is unwanted and may provide reasons why more crops are not planted in that estate. In this case, the Orchard represents personal relic to Ranevsky, in her idyllic life as a young girl.
Other representations of Orchard include those presented by Trofimov, who observes Serf’s faces in the orchard. The Serfs had died as slaves in that Estate.
To him this orchard reminds him of suffering the slaves underwent. Lopakhin on the other hand sees Orchard as a representation of his brutal childhood and a hindrance to prosperity. Evidently, each character has a reason to like or hate the crop, no wonder it is magnified in unrealistic manner. It can also be noticed that here is a major division between the youth and old.
According to Lopakhin, the orchard presents an obstacle to prosperity, while in the case of Ranevsky, its past memories are relishing. This is a further proof of the Orchard’s representation of past memories. It is therefore quite clear that every event and happenings as well as characters try to relate to Cherry orchards in one way or another. The orchard is therefore used as a symbolism in this play.
“The Hairy Ape”
The Hairy Ape is another story that reveals more about social and cultural realities. This is quite evident in Firemen and Yank’s residence, which is conveyed as a formidable cage.
This place contrasts Mildred’s environment. Several symbolisms are used in this story, these include Steel, Apes, Thinkers, among others. The paper therefore exposes deterioration of civilized individuals into an animalistic being. This is observed in their lifestyles. For instance, Yank thinks he is an Ape. Apes have been used as a representation of symbolism in this story, the Hairy Ape.
This can be seen throughout the story. In fact, Apes appears almost in every part of this story. Yank is referred to as an Ape and this makes him think he really is an Ape. He goes on to inform people that he is an Ape, which makes it quite interesting. Similarly, Mildred also thinks she is an Ape, which continues to emphasize on its use as a symbolism throughout the novel.
According to Senator Queen, American civilization is degenerating back to Apes, with a reflection of true Ape in Scene 8. In addition, Queen attributes this to Wobblies that characterize American population. In this context, Ape is used to symbolize man, who at this state does not need technology. The Ape is also used to represent man who is behind in technological advances, class, and elements of the contemporary society. In this sense, Ape’s main concern is survival.
Yank is continually linked with his relatives who were considered as primates. In fact, just like the Apes, Yank struggles to think and is majorly concerned with ways of survival.
In addition, his understanding is at its lowest since he does not comprehend the class system that exists in his surroundings. Moreover, his language is also the lowest and basic, at best. Yank is also territorial and obstinate; these descriptions also match male Apes. Another similarity that can be drawn from Yank and Apes is the fact that they are both aggressive and bull headed.
From these descriptions, it is clear that Ape is used to symbolize backwardness in light of civilization. It has also been employed to symbolize the need to think beyond survival. This is observed in Yank’s way of life, which only focuses on survival in his setting. Moreover, the setting is also described as a cage. In essence, Ape has been applied throughout this story as a symbolism.
This novel starts in a school setting where the author tries to introduce his character Charles and Emma as well as their behaviors. The novel also conveys varied symbols such as “The Blind Beggar”, “Dried Flowers”, and “The Lathe”, among others.
These have several meanings and messages conveyed by those symbolisms. One clear symbolism portrayed in this novel is the portrait of physical decay. The Blind beggar is seen to follow Emma’s carriage, as she moves to meet Leon.
This is used to show moral imbalance on Emma’s side. The beggar’s songs also symbolize despair in his movement towards Emma’s carriage. The songs are about birds, green leaves, as well as sunshine. Another observation that comes out clearly is the fact that innocence has been intertwined with diseases to symbolize Emma’s combination of beauty and moral corruption.
Even though Emma can be seen as a beautiful wife and innocent, her spirit is conveyed as corrupt and foul. This is quite evident in her way of life. She indulges in temptations of adultery and continues in deceit to keep hold of her illicit affair. Much later, after Emma dies, the beggar finishes his song by speaking about a dreaming girl.
It is at this moment that a reader realizes the kind of songs sung by this beggar, songs with emphasis on bawdy and romance. Clearly, the beggar mirrors Emma’s life from innocence, through to her life, which is full of degradation and illicit affairs.
It is quite important to note that this beggar is blind. Therefore for a blind person to mirror a normal human being in his son, symbolizes the extent of actions committed by Emma. She begins her life as an innocent wife, taking good care of her husband, with a beauty that flourishes in her youth.
Later on, she gets corrupt and immersed in adultery, which degrades her even though only the opposite can be seen by her observers. In addition, she is quite deceptive and does this to cling on to an illicit affair. In essence, the beggar standout as a symbolism throughout the story as he mirrors Emma’s life and gives an observer the level of degradation Emma has gone into.
Symbolism is used throughout these three novels. In the first case, Symbolism is conveyed in the form of Cherry Orchard, which is heavily presented throughout the play. Almost everything revolves around this crop. The Cherry Orchard is presented as a huge gigantic tree in Russia and is estimated to produce over 4 million pounds of cherries from one crop.
It is quite amazing that with such amount of cherries, Ranevsky cannot be economically sustained. In the second story, symbolism is applied by referring to Yank as an Ape. The Ape is used to represent man who is behind in technological advances, class, and elements of the contemporary society.
In essence, Ape’s main concern is survival. Yank is continually linked with his relatives who were considered primates. In fact, just like the Apes, Yank struggles to think and is majorly concerned with ways of survival.
In addition, his understanding is at its lowest since he does not comprehend the class system that exists in his surroundings. Moreover, his language is also the lowest and basic, at best. Lastly, symbolism is also used in the third novel, “Madame Bovary”.
In this novel, the beggar is used to mirror Emma’s lifestyle, which moves from innocence as seen in her beauty to corruption of mind and soul as she indulges in temptations of adultery and continues in deceit to keep hold of her illicit affair. In essence, symbols are used to represent concepts and ideas as represented in characters, colors, and objects, among others.
“Joyas Voladoras” by Brian Doyle. Summary and Symbolism Analysis Essay
Joyas Voladoras Essay: Introduction
The “Joyas Voladoras” essay by Brian Doyle speaks of hummingbirds and hearts, the life of whales, and the life of man. That’s a profound reflection on life, death, and the experiences in between. In other words, the essay examines the similarity of every creature on Earth. In this paper, I make an analysis of the piece of literature, describe its main ideas, identify the author’s purpose, and share my impressions about Joyas Voladoras.
When reading the essay, one cannot help but be immersed in the distinct imagery created by the writer. In Joyas Voladoras, Brian Doyle elaborates on the fierceness of life embodied in hummingbirds and creates a sharp image of a small beating heart for the reader, a heart producing billion heartbeats infinitesimally but strongly, faster even than our own.
He elaborates both scientifically and metaphorically. At the same time, he structures this particular piece of prose in such a way that people who read it should not concentrate on the scientific, for that is all that they will see. Instead, they should examine the essay in terms of the metaphoric.
After literary analysis it is clear that “Joyas Voladoras” is filled with metaphorical symbolism. Let’s take as an example the following phrase in one of the paragraphs: “the animals with the largest hearts in the world generally travel in pairs.” While scientific in appearance, it is a metaphor for love in which the essay states that people with love in their hearts are never alone.
Even references made by Doyle to the Hummingbird are another metaphoric symbolism of the abruptness of love and the value which we should place on it. Basing on the various metaphorical symbols seen throughout Joyas Voladoras, one can say that the text symbolizes different kinds of love in the world and the way they are experienced.
The Symbolism of Brian Doyle’s Hummingbird
If one would pose a question of how to interpret the different animals portrayed in “Joyas Voladoras” essay as various aspects of love, then the Doyle’s Hummingbird could be symbolic of the concept of Eros or “erotic love.” This type of love is more commonly associated with the first stages of a relationship wherein love is based on physical traits, intense passion, and sudden affection. The intensity of the Hummingbird’s beating heart is symbolic of the passionate energy of love based on Eros.
The description of a “flying jewel” attributed to the Hummingbird is similar to how the love, based on Eros, is considered to be flashy and noticeable. Identical to a hummingbird love based on Eros alone does not last, it burns brightly just like the life of a hummingbird yet in a short time fizzles out.
Brian Doyle’s “Joyas Voladoras” has the purpose to state that this particular love is the worst kind to have since he symbolizes the people who are addicted to this type of love as experiencing emotional turmoil and heartache, as expressed by the heart of the Hummingbird slowing down when it comes to rest.
The line “if they do not soon find that which is sweet, their hearts grow cold, and they cease to be” is actually symbolic of the way in which people who prefer Eros love are actually addicted to the concept of loving and being loved forever moving from lover to lover, just like a hummingbird moves from flower to flower.
Joyas Voladoras: The symbolism of the Whale
The symbolic nature of the Whale as a type of love for Doyle takes the form of Philos, namely a kind of love which is based on the friendship between two people. While the phrase “the animals with the largest hearts in the world generally travel in pairs” is indicative of Philos love, other aspects of this particular type of love are also apparent.
An analysis of the type of grammar used by Doyle in describing the Hummingbird and the Whale shows that, for the Hummingbird, Doyle uses action gerund words which utilize the word “and” rather than a comma.
The result of such grammatical usage is thus an almost breathless mannerism in which readers read the parts detailing the life of a hummingbird. This is symbolic of the breathless nature of erotic love wherein those who ascribe to it find themselves flitting from action to action without heed or care.
On the other hand, when describing the blue Whale, Doyle utilizes exceedingly long sentences and traditional words interspaced with commas, which have the effect of slowing down the reader. This is intentional on the part of the author since Philo’s type of love is a form of love that begins after a long and prosperous friendship.
It is a type of love that builds up over time, creating strong affection, emotions, and a feeling of longing to be with that person. The nature of the size of whale hearts is symbolic of the intense emotions and love that build up over time, resulting in a type of relationship where two people stay together for a lifetime.
Joyas Voladoras: Summary
What is the main idea of “Joyas Voladoras”? Based on what has been presented in this paper, it can be seen that one aspect of the essay “Joyas Voladoras” by Brian Doyle is that it uses symbolism to express the concepts of Eros and Philos. While the paper possess other forms of symbolism, these particular aspects were chosen since they help to relay the message of the author that there are different types of love out there, each having its unique characteristics.
In summary, it is due to viewing the essay in this particular way that the continuous use of the word “heart” can thus be interpreted as symbolic of people continuously searching for love with the author warning in the ending of the possible pain that comes with this search.
Symbolism in “The Birthmark” & “The Minister’s Black Veil” Essay
In both The Minister’s Black veil and The Birthmark, Hawthorne’s use symbolism of symbolism is conspicuous. In The Birthmark he says, “The crimson hand expressed the ineludible gripe in which mortality clutches the highest and purest of earthly mould… symbol of his wife’s liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death” (Hawthorne Para. 9). Hawthorne makes it clear that he is using birthmark as a symbol of ‘mortality’, ‘decay’ and susceptibility to sin.
On the other side, in The Minister’s Black Veil, he says, “All through life the black veil had hung between him and the world. It had separated him from cheerful brotherhood and woman’s love…shade him from the sunshine of eternity” (Hawthorne Para. 12). The black veil here symbolizes the sin that the minister had committed with the dead mistress; that is, sex.
Symbolism in these two stories touches on human failures and sinful nature. The birthmark is a sign of Georgina’s susceptibility to sin, sorrow, and mortality. As aforementioned, this birthmark shows Georgina’s indebtedness to sin and her eventual death. Men constantly found Georgian attractive because of her birthmark. “Georgiana’s lovers were wont to say that…as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection” (Hawthorne Para. 6).
This statement makes it clear that the birthmark symbolized Georgina’s indebtedness to sin. She had ‘lovers’ and this is sinful. On the other side, the black veil worn by the minister is a symbol of his sins. Critics like Alan Poe say that, “Minister Hooper may have had an affair with the young lady who died at the beginning of the story.
Coincidentally, this is the first day he wears the veil, “and that a crime of dark dye, (having reference to the young lady) has been committed, is a point which only minds congenial with that of the author will perceive” (Poe 188). Not even the dead maiden can stand the face of the minister for she would be “fearful of her glance” (Hawthorne Para. 16).
This means that there is connection between the black veil and the dead maiden and the most probably thing that could link the minister to the dead maiden is having sex which is sinful. Therefore, symbolism in these two stories stands for human indebtedness to sin.
While symbolism in The Birthmark comes out clearly, in The Minister’s Black Veil, use of symbolism is ambiguous. Hawthorne makes it clear that Georgina’s birthmark is selected as a ‘symbol’ to show her indebtedness to sin.
However, the symbolism of the black veil worn by the minister represents “symbol of symbols”. “The Minister’s Black Veil introduced the notion that Hooper’s black veil functioned as a “symbol of symbols,” since its meaning could never be ultimately determined” (Carnochan 9).
Therefore, the contrasting feature of symbolism as used in these two stories comes out clearly, by considering the preciseness of the meaning of the symbols used. Birthmark clearly represents Georgina’s indebtedness to sin; however, the black veil may mean anything depending on the view of the reader.
Hawthorne’s use of symbolism comes out clearly in The Minister’s Black Veil and The Birthmark. Georgina’s birthmark is a sign of her obligation to sin; she had lovers who admired her because of the birthmark, which is sinful. Moreover, her husband points that the birthmark shows her earthly imperfection. The black veil worn by the minister symbolizes his sins; he had an affair with the dead maiden.
However, while the meaning of the birthmark comes out clearly, the black veil worn by the minister may mean, symbol of symbols”. The use of black veil as ‘symbol of symbols’ indicates ambiguity of the same; the only contrasting feature in the use of symbolism in these two stories.
Carnochan, Winston. “The Minister’s Black Veil: Symbol, Meaning, and the Context of Hawthorne’s Art.” New York; California University Press, 1969.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Birthmark.” The Literature Network. 2010. Web. <http://www.online-literature.com/london/125/>
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Minister’s Black Veil.” The Literature Network. 2010. Web. <http://www.online-literature.com/london/126/>
Poe, Allan. “The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe: Nathaniel Hawthorne.” Griswold, Rufus. Ed. New York: Blakeman & Mason, 1859.
The Yellow Wallpaper: Symbolism Essay Essay
This argumentative essay focuses on “The Yellow Wallpaper” short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It examines how the description of the paper reflects the narrator’s changing character.
The Description of the Paper & the Narrator’s Changing Character
The yellow paper description reveals how women were determined to defy the powers that were imposed on them by men and hence create new roles for themselves. Women, therefore, challenged the patriarchal ideologies and moved beyond the restrictions to free from enslavement.
The yellow paper thus shows women’s relentless pursuit to gain freedom in society did not value the role of women. The description of the yellow paper shows the life of a girl who was eager and ready to read books to get ideas on how she can free from slavery in a male-dominated society. The description thus reflects how the narrator was desperate to read at times when women were not allowed to read any book (Golden and Gilman 3).
More on the Topic Why Did John Faint in The Yellow Wallpaper? What Event Caused the Narrator’s Mental Illness in The Yellow Wallpaper? How Does The Yellow Wallpaper End? What Are the Examples of Foreshadowing in The Yellow Wallpaper? What Happens at the End of The Yellow Wallpaper? What Does the Narrator’s Description of the Wallpaper Reveal about the Context of the Story?
The yellow paper also shows how women suffered as a result of reading privately. The story thus portrays the transformative reading potential in that had the narrator failed to realize that the reading has the potential to transform her. The other women in the society could remain in slavery in their entire life. The reading transformed the narrator in that she started being sensitive that she started to realize that the room in which she was being locked in had one window only.
The narrator began to view the house from a different perspective, and she says that “there is something strange about the house.” She hated the room, and she could explain the kind of her desired one. A room with pizza and roses is what she tells she desires. The yellow paper thus reflects the narrator’s changing character in that her eyes were open, and she began dreaming of better things in her life. She began to challenge John’s ideas concerning the room.
The narrator gained courage over time to express her ideas in writing. Even though John would think the writing idea as absurd, the narrator was determined to express her feelings. The narrator wished that John could allow her to leave that place. The issue of talking to John was not that easy, but the narrator eventually expressed her feelings.
Further Research What Does The Yellow Wallpaper’s Conclusion Mean? What Happens at the End of The Yellow Wallpaper? What Is the Main Conflict in The Yellow Wallpaper? In The Yellow Wallpaper, Why Is the Main Character Spending Time at the Colonial Mansion? What Are the Best Examples of Figurative Language in The Yellow Wallpaper? Why Does the Narrator First Dislike the Yellow Wallpaper?
The yellow paper reflects the narrators changing character in that life eventually turned out to be more exciting than before. As a result, her determination to read and flee herself, the narrator was successful in her mission. She was able to overcome oppression. The narrator’s hope for a better tomorrow was restored, and she had something in which to expect. She was in a position to feed for herself well, and she lived a quiet life as opposed to before.
The yellow paper enabled the narrator to discover something which she never knew before. She discovered that women possess equal power as men, and so, to be recognized in society, women must stand up and fight for their rights (Gilman 7).
The description of the yellow paper reflects the narrator’s changing character. The yellow paper helped to transform the narrator in that she was able to establish her rightful role in society.
Gilman, Charlotte. The Yellow Wallpaper, this edition. London: Routledge, 1997.
Golden, Catherine & Gilman, Charlotte. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Yellow Wallpaper: a sourcebook and critical edition. London: Routledge, 2004.
Symbolism in Things Fall Apart. Imagery & Symbols Essay
The novel Things Fall Apart takes a central role in the changing system of contemporary literature in Africa. The author refutes a widespread stereotype claiming that before colonization, Africa did not have a culture. It represents political and social background in a detailed realistic method. The foundations of African oral tradition, which include proverbs, tales, and symbols are frequently used in this novel. The essay shall provide the analysis of symbolism in Things Fall Apart.
It is an exhilarating novel that uses vast literature styles, such as symbolism and motifs, to illustrate the principles of African cultural erosion as a result of embracing western culture. By the use of symbols, the author shows how the African culture was shattered by the European style of life when Christianity was adopted in the African society. In this book, numerous symbols are used, as discussed below.
Symbolism in Things Fall Apart: Analysis of the Main Themes
Yam is a crop that is commonly grown by men. Raising of this crop requires intensive labor, and the work ethics of a man can be measured by the portion of the field and harvest obtained. In the African setup, the sole objective of growing yams is to acquire wealth and feed the family.
They symbolize a man’s ability to provide. In this novel, a man who had bulk yams was portrayed as not a failure like Unoka-he had a large barn full of yams (Chinua, 1958, p. 4). Nwakibie refuses to give the young men yams citing that they would dump them on earth rather than taking care of them as a man would do for his family to flourish. Yams are very precious and would only belong to hardworking individuals.
The central positioning of the yam highlights the defining traits of the tribe. The symbolic meaning is illustrated by its use as a source of satisfaction. Due to the intensive efforts needed in cultivating it, bulk harvest represents yearly achievement gained from nature. A yam’s image is brought out as a necessity of the culture.
According to Okonkwo, most of the folktales in the novel featuring small animals symbolize women’s behavior, for example, the Ekwefl’s tale that talks about the birds and the tortoise who were invited for a feast in the sky. This blocked out the tortoise since he had no wings to fly, and the birds were aware of his ungratefulness and cunning behavior, thus could not help him out.
The tortoise was starving and had to sweet talk the birds to nurture his hunger. In their journey, the tortoise claims of a custom that demands them to take new names though the idea was to acquire the most respectable position. Since the women were all inferior, they gave in, and the cunning tortoise ended up feasting on the best food leaving leftovers for the birds. Though the animal imagery in Things Fall Apart, the author depicts the indecisive character of women and also provides useful morals in society.
Okonkwo is compared to fire by other characters and the narrator; he is branded “Roaming Flame in the town” (Chinua, 1958, p. 122). According to him, fire is a symbol of strength. While seated in his hut after a quarrel with his son Nwoye, Okonkwo stared on a log fire and felt a strong feeling to rise, take up a machete and clear the Christians who Nwoye was associating with. Whenever Okonkwo would gaze at flame, a wild feeling of strength would fill his body.
Mother of the Spirits
The Mother of the spirits can be viewed as personification by the clan of Umofia and the Mother of Egwugwu. At this juncture, the style of life of Umuofia is deeply disregarded, and the damage committed is irreparable. The Mother of spirits mourns her son’s death loudly after the unmasking night.
A comparison between the clan and Mother of spirits is drawn, “…it seemed as if the very soul of the clan wept for the great evil that was coming its own death” (Chinua, 1958, p. 145). It is imperative that the Mother of spirits does not revenge her son’s death but rather mourns and weeps. People of Umuofia would not avenge for crimes committed against them.
When analyzing Things Fall Apart symbols, Okonkwo should be mentioned as well. He symbolizes masculinity, a character deeply opposed to the Christian belief of love. The spirit of African people is represented collectively by his personality. Just like the Igbos, he is a very independent and strong person. Weinstock and Ramadan (1978) pointed out the following regarding Okonkwo:
Okonkwo is consistently associated with masculinity, and he virtually always mistrusts, opposes, and attacks anything feminine or linked with femininity. Christianity embodies and stresses the qualities Okonkwo considers to be womanish, such as love affection, and mercy, and he characteristically valuates the missionaries as a ‘lot of effeminate men clucking like old hens (p.128).
The story’s summary evidences Okonkwo fighting courageously against ideologies opposing what he valued, and his downfall is the result of his opposition to colonization.Okonkwo’s death symbolizes the death of African culture. Achebe decided to illustrate the hands of Africans’ giving in to Christianity to take charge by the act of Okonkwo committing suicide rather than being killed and subsequently wiping out the culture of Africa. It is a conspiracy to have written a whole book about the negativity of colonization that the last statement in his piece of writing could belong to the Britain District commissioner.
He remarks the suicide act by saying it was possible to dedicate Okonkwo a paragraph in his book. This fact slightly contradicted the theme meant by Achebe since portraying Africans as primitive differed from what Achebe wanted to demonstrate. By using the symbol of Okonkwo’s death through suicide, Achebe points out that Africans should also be blamed for letting in foreign ideologies to develop in their land.
Nwoye’s personality was a symbol of Christianity. His father always fought against feminine behavior. His conversion to Christianity was to strengthen the symbol created by Achebe. Okonkwo’s family was his joy and pride, while Nwoye’s conversion to Christianity was the last pain he would endure. Due to his son’s rejection of his lifestyle, the only option left was to cease living.
Nweoye’s Adoption of a New Name
His decision to take up a new name, Isaac, with the importance it carried, confirms his loyalty to Christianity religion. Though the exact name that he picks implies significance beyond the immediate sense of personal salvation, it brings out memories of the Biblical story of Abraham, where an animal was substituted for his son, Isaac. The adoption of this name by Nwoye portrays the complete meaning of his conversion, which was the critical sign of liberation from the limitation of the family creation.
Weather takes up a crucial role in the lives of Nigerians, especially the Igbos. The availability of rain or its unavailability illustrates that the tribe was dependent on weather for survival. Weather limits the extent to which their crops grow and the flow of the rivers, which in turn influence their water and food supply. On sunny days, the sun is utilized by the plants and in warming up things. Nevertheless, excess rain or sun is likely to cause damage (Rand, 1966).
Invasion by locusts symbolizes a grand attack with devastating destruction. Two important events are considered to establish the locust link. In the text, “…At first, a fairly small swarm came…” implying that “…they were the harbingers sent to survey the land…” (Chinua, 1958, p. 43). He pointed out the first arrival of whites and others on the way. This link of events was done deliberately.
The cognition gulf is linked up by the myth of locust through the establishment of the unknown and known. People were not aware of insects though it was the myth behind them and the danger of economic failure. The author illustrates the locusts that invaded the village using allegorical phrases that foreshadowed the coming of white men in African land. They intended to exploit all the resources of the Igbo tribe. Because Igbo consumed locust, it shows that they are not offensive.
In the same way, individuals who were simulated to Christianity overlooked negative impacts; the white people’s culture would impact their lifestyle. The language used by Achebe in describing the locust invasion depicts their symbolic reputation.
The use of repetitive style draws emphasis on the pervasive presence of locusts and a hint in the manner in which the white settlers would occupy Igbos’ land by surprise. It is noted that the insects were too heavy, and that was the reason they broke the branches of a tree. This was a symbol of how the traditions and culture of the Igbo would fracture on the attack by colonialism as well as white settlement (Oyekan, 1993).
What Does Okonkwo Death Symbolize?
The death of Okonkwo is a heroic death that is analogous to a warrior who is attached to his people. This symbolizes the catastrophic demise that great people face. This is because committing suicide is regarded abomination contrary to the earth and thus should not be buried by clansmen.
But in the right of African style, Okonokwo’s death could not be considered as a heroic death; rather, it can only be seen as a shameful death. Unable to deal with his failure, he acts in the way that leads to his death, and he is the one who should be blamed for this.The irritating final words Obierika cast to the District Commissioner hold certain ambiguity within Igbos point of view, in memory of heroism and shameful act of killing himself (Okonkwo). From the novel, he was portrayed as the greatest man in Umuofia and was forced to commit suicide and buried in a disrespectful manner (David, 1998).
Things Fall Apart symbolism essay shows that this is a thrilling novel that uses a symbolic literature style to demonstrate the credo of Africa’s cultural erosion by embracing the western culture. Most of the Africans were not ready to give in to the white man’s way of life, and as such, Okonkwo would rather cease living than adopt the white man’s way of life. Colonization plays a more prominent role in society, and the culture takes up a central role. Symbolic events and characters are used to help the reader have a deeper understanding of society.
Chinua, A. (1958). Things Fall Apart. New York: Heinemann Education Books.
David, K. (1998). The African Novel and the Modernist Tradition. New York: Peter Lanng publishers.
Oyekan, O. (1993). A History of Twentieth-century African Literatures. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska.
Rand, B. (1966). Contributions in Afro- American studies. Greenwood: Greenwood press.
Weinstock, D., & Ramadan, C. (1978). Critical Perspectives on Chinua Achebe. Washington D.C: Three Continents Press.
The symbolism of dragons in Chinese art Research Paper
Chinese people are highly influenced by Taoist thinking. They do not place man at the centre of the world; they instead think of him as a minor element in the grand scheme of things. This explains why living and non living things are the central figures in most artistic works from China.
Some representations focus on real creatures while others dwell on mythical ones. One particular object that is hard to miss is the dragon. It is essential to find out why this creature is so common in paintings, sculptures, vases and other functional objects such as lanterns. Some of the explanations are historic while others are religious; all of them bring out man’s attunement with nature as taught in Taoism.
How the dragon is represented in Chinese art
The dragon in most Chinese works of art is depicted in a positive manner. It is often located in the sky and can be interlaced with flames of fire or other similar natural elements. Unlike western understandings of the creature, the dragon is crucial to the well being of its people as it usually provides them with appropriate supernatural interventions. These depictions may be found in vases, clothing as well as other functional forms.
In certain circumstances, dragons are represented in items of clothing. Here, it is represented as a symbol of authority. Starting from 1759, emperors symbolized their authority through the use of various items such as stars and dragons. The emperor wore a robe that had nine dragons on it.
This was meant to demonstrate power and authority. In fact, the emperors themselves were called dragons. Normally, this type of dragon has a yellow color. In ancient China, yellow was a color that only the emperor could wear. Even roof tiles outside the palace could not be colored yellow. Therefore, the dragon in historic times captured this sentiment (Sullivan 55).
In most paintings and illustrations of the dragon, one can find a series of characteristics that resemble other conventional animals on the dragon. These traits are subdivided into nine elements that can be easily studied. For instance, the head is likened to that of a camel. It is stated that this part reflects wisdom. It also possesses scales that are one hundred and seventeen in number.
The scales are likened to a fish which is regarded as flexible. A fixed number of scales is attached to the yin and yang (the bad and good respectively) in order to manage the temper inside the dragon. It also possesses horns that look similar to those of a deer. This portrays longevity in the life of the creature (Sleebom 15). Its eyes are those of a hare, and this captures the element of power. The dragon has a tiger’s paws and an eagle’s claws.
The claws epitomize bravery. It also possesses a horse’s teeth to show diligence. Its belly is like that of clam while its neck looks similar to a snake. All these nine elements may have different interpretations depending upon the context under consideration. Certain types of dragons have more claws than others while others possess longer parts such as tails or body coverings.
Some drawings have likened the dragon to a snake. They achieve this by emphasizing body parts of the dragon that look similar to the snake. Furthermore, sometimes the dragon is seen in water; it also sleeps or hibernates during the winter season.
Dragons can be curved or drawn on numerous materials today. However, certain backgrounds are preferred for portraying this creature. In ancient China, dragons were drawn on stone tablets. Sometimes they would also appear on banners. Here, the creatures would be joined to one another. Rulers would use the banners to send messages to their followers about enemy interferences. Another place in which one is bound to find an image of the dragon is on a sword.
This is meant to liken its qualities to that of a sword. In modern times, one can find carvings of dragons on monuments, especially spiritual ones like the ones found in the Buddha temple. In other instances, dragons can be sculpted on bells and fiddles. It is argued that dragons make loud noises during battle, so this location is quite fitting (Nickel 151).
What the dragon symbolizes
As explained earlier, the dragon has nine elements that make its features distinct. This number has a special relevance among the Chinese people. It is a multiplication of the undivided number (3) by itself. Taoist adherents believe that when the good (Yang) is multiplied in such a manner, then this represents unyielding divine authority. The dragon, therefore, appears in various art forms in order to symbolize the latter element.
In several instances, a dragon is always drawn besides clouds or an unclear sky. By associating the dragon with the clouds, which are a source of rain, artists intend on indicating that the dragon is a source of fertility. This creature has the capacity to control rain and hence the productivity of its people. As affirmed in the introduction, the Chinese are strong believers in man’s attunement with nature.
Man’s fate is directly controlled by other components of the universe such as dragons. In fact, some of the earliest depictions of it were of the creature in rice fields. Since the beast has rain-inducing properties, then one is bound to get good rice crops if the dragon comes there.
The ancient Chinese usually believed that winter took place because this rain-giving creature was hibernating. At the beginning of summer, wind caused the dragons to awaken and rise up to the sky. It is at this point when some rain starts to pour. It was important for the dragon to rest because this would facilitate the preservation of its body, just like the snake does.
However, the dragon’s power does possess its limits. If too many dragons start fighting one another, they will create excesses in the form of thunderstorms. This means that rain will pour down on man in extreme volumes, and it will ruin his crop. Therefore, even though the dragon is desirable, it can lead to undesirable consequences when it exceeds the limits of its power.
Sometimes dragons were treated as symbols of water. This usually occurred when they were represented on tablets. In the same way that man came to represent plains, or tigers came to represent the mountains, the dragon symbolized water. It demonstrated the spiritual quality of the water under consideration because it resided in water.
The dragon can also be understood as a symbol of greatness. Most works of art will have illustrations of scales that have more Yang than Yin. In this regard, the dragon is filled with light, and must represent the coming of a great man. Artists will sculpt or draw this creature in such a manner in order to show that a great man is about to come in the midst of others. In fact, the Emperor was chosen as the ultimate depiction of power. This was the reason why his garments were filled with drawings of the creature.
One may conclude that the people in ancient China believed in omens. Certain signs would warn them about incoming dangers or blessings. The birth of an emperor would be indicated by the appearance of a dragon. The coming of winter was preceded by the departure of dragons.
Dragons would be a good omen or bad one depending on the circumstances under consideration. If people saw dragons fighting, then this would be regarded as a warning of imminent danger. Perhaps a war, or a dynasty’s fall was looming. The most common disaster that most people would ascribe to the dragons was excessive flooding. Such was the case in 523 BC when a Duke of Lu – Chao saw two dragons fighting one another inside a pool (Visser 39).
Even travelers believed that they would not succeed in their journeys if they came across fighting dragons. It should be noted that sometimes emperors or other influential people would dream about dragons in a certain way. After waking up, they would consult with their wise men to find out the meaning of their dreams. In other scenarios, emperors would actually see the dragons.
These creatures never appeared clearly; they would always be covered in mist or smoke. In other words, citing dragons was highly dependent on a subject and it was quite debatable what these beasts were about. In several instances, the dragons would come out in the middle of the night. An observer would always be taken aback by a specific quality in the dragon, such as its eyes or its speed.
In 25 AD, an Emperor called Lu Kwang claimed to have seen a dragon as it surrounded his palace. Other attendants supported his affirmations when they found huge scales of the same creature. It was also asserted that these scales were washed shortly after owing to the rain that occurred then. Artists today may not necessarily believe in these signs. However, they still play an important role in preserving the historical and cultural values of ancient China.
In fact an analysis of the symbolism of dragons reveals that the ancient Chinese were a highly superstitious group. They believed in bad omens and good ones. They claimed that events could be predicted after seeing these beasts. It is difficult to determine whether observation of these creatures was more of a divine or spiritual encounter than a physical one as its existence dates back as far as 1550 BC in the Shang dynasty.
In modern times, the dragon is now considered as a spiritually significant creature; not necessarily a physical one. Nonetheless, the beliefs held by the ancient Chinese people about this mythical being are still perpetuated today. They still think of dragons as a sign of power, rain and good fortune. Modern Taoists know that dragons are fictitious, but they do not ignore the spiritual relevance of the beast. It is given as much respect it was given in the past.
Nickel, Helmut. “The Dragon and the Pearl.” Metropolitan Museum Journal 26.5 (1991): 146-155. Print.
Sleebom, Margaret. Academic nations in China and Japan. London: Routledge, 2004. Print.
Sullivan, Michael. A short history of Chinese art. California: University of California Press, 1970. Print.
Visser, Leiden. The dragon in China and Japan. Cornell: Cornell University Press, 2007. Print.
The Play Antigone: Characterization and Symbolism Essay
The play Antigone centers on two main characters, Antigone, the protagonist, and Creon, the King of Thebes. The two are driven by strong convictions, yet different in beliefs and values. Antigone is respectful but cannot bring herself to the level of abiding by laws she considers repugnant. She ends up the tragic heroine by burying her brotto her against the wish of her uncle, the king of Thebes, and the rules of the land.
While Antigone is energetic and young, Creon is old and frail. Antigone’s conviction is that the dead deserve a decent burial in spite of the circumstances that led to their death while Creon’s preoccupation is to enforce the laws of the land that disallow burial of those who meet their death in a disgraceful manner. Sophocles has managed to blend a poetic style of play with a powerful symbolism that is timeless. This paper will demonstrate that in spite of their differences; Antigone and Creon are both headstrong and strong-willed.
Antigone’s love for her family is the single most attribute that Sophocles presents in the play. It is for this love that she is ready to defy her uncle and the rules of the land. By going against King Creon’s decree that Polyneices death was dishonorable and hence undeserving of a proper burial, Antigone portrays a deep love for her brother. Even in death, she is willing to commit a punishable offense just to honor her brother.
The fact that she is ready to stand by her decisions and accept punishment depicts her as a headstrong woman who is also strong-willed. She believes that should the law of man and law of god conflict, the latter should prevail. This marks the departure in character traits to her uncle.
Creon believes that laws preserve social order and bind all human beings. When he stands against Antigone’s desire to bury her brother, it is out of the need to enforce the laws that his position demanded. By taking contradictory positions and sticking with them, Antigone and Creon attribute as headstrong converges. Antigone is ready to face death and her uncle is ready to sentence her.
Sophocles employs strong symbolism to show the conflict between state law and religion. The most conspicuous symbolism is the image of tombs. The tomb serves as a mockery to those who think that they are living but are actually dead. They also mock Creon’s hubris, an attribute that makes him blasphemous. Because of his pride, Creon disallows the burial of Polyneices and goes ahead to bury Antigone even before she is dead.
The fact that Antigone looks forward to reuniting with departed family members is symbolic of her realization that the tragedy ahead was unavoidable. Sophocles has used his characters to achieve symbolism. The duel between Creon and Antigone symbolizes a tussle between opposing forces.
There are a pull and push between male and female, divine and state law, as well as humans and nature/god. A classic example of human versus god is the constant presence of the prophet Teiresias. The prophet forewarns Creon but his hubris stands on his way to being a rational king that he should be. In the end, pride destroys his family.
Langston Hughes was an American poet who made a name for himself during the Harlem Renaissance. Born to Afro-American parents, Hughes developed a passion for activism through his writings. Together with his contemporaries like Claude McKay, he used poetry to bring to the fore the plight of African Americans under the shackles of racial discrimination.
His writings attacked the early Harlem Renaissance writers who he felt had abandoned their intellectual responsibility to the low life by adopting Eurocentric values and practices. He propounded on the need for an African-American consciousness that was devoid of hatred towards other people. Through his writings, he praised the beauty of blackness and highlighted the pathetic conditions of the black race all over the world.
He challenged the stereotypes inherent in Eurocentric writings and promoted a cultural consciousness that would treat people as equal irrespective of their race. In The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain, Hughes urges young Afro-American writers to express their blackness without shame. He asks them to be proud of their heritage and use it to create a platform to confront racial inequalities and stereotypes.
Hughes’ writings heavily employ music to pass across his message. Jazz music characterized the emergency of the Harlem Renaissance. As one of the foremost thinkers of his time, Hughes employed music effectively to resonate and appeal to the poor black Americans. He was a big fan of the blues music and in one interview, he described it as “sad funny songs-too sad to be funny and too funny to be sad.”
He also used jazz music, both in content and style. Through poetry that his target could easily identify with, he portrays the urban life and the abject poverty of the oppressed blacks. Additionally, the poems highlight racial stereotypes against blacks that are inherent in America.
In The Weary Blues, Hughes musically highlights the urban poverty that confronts African Americans. The persona of the poem is a black man reflecting about an evening in Harlem. He is listening to blues music and the audience can easily identify with the sad tone of the poem. The tempo is slow, a style Hughes favors to enable the audience to appreciate the subject. The repetitive mention of the word down in association with blacks’ neighborhood emphasizes their poor state under economic exploitation and racial discrimination.
The use of the word raggy (13) points out to the torn clothes that the persona is wearing. The use of irregular rhyming gives the poem a loose form, something that makes it easily adaptable to performance. The repetition of lines makes it musical and easy for the average person to read and understand. Hughes believed that poetry should not be difficult to understand as this only serves to alienate people who are not well educated.
Hughes enjoyed high popularity in the middle of the 20th century especially with the increasing clamor for independence in former colonies. In America, however, he is getting less popular as more people favored integration over the separation. His message of black pride did not resonate with the young generation of Americans who wanted to see themselves as Americans rather than blacks.
His thought, however, remains a rallying point for those who believe in race consciousness and celebration of the black identity. His poetry and commentaries have contributed immensely to the intellectual discourse of the place of marginalized races in America’s social and political sub-stratum.
Water Symbolism in Christianity and Islam Essay
Water symbolism in religion is the practice of associating water to particular beliefs that govern the religion’s rules. In that regard, both Christianity and Islam refer to water as a symbol of different circumstances based on the history of their teachings (Rahman, Elias, and Redding 78). This paper analyzes water symbolism beliefs in Christianity and Islam and their origin.
Christians believe that water is a symbol of life. The bible states that during creation, God commanded water to give rise to living things. Immediately, aquatic animals filled the water bodies (MacDonald 42).
In addition, Christians believe that rainwater is the fundamental source of life for plants, animals, and man. The Bible further states that God controls how rain spreads on the earth surface. Therefore, Christians believe that God gives life through providing the earth with enough water to sustain plants, animals, and human beings (Oestigaard 79).
Water symbolizes purity in Christianity. In the Old Testament, priests washed their feet and hands in water before entering the synagogues as a sign of purity. Aaron, a biblical priest, bathed before offering sacrifices as a sign of purity before God. John the Baptist, a Christian prophet, baptized his followers in River Jordan water as a sign of purity before God. Up to date, Christians baptize to commit themselves as pure worshippers to the almighty God (Lefebvre 104).
Christians believe that water is a symbol of rescue and deliverance. For instance, in the book of Exodus, Moses’ mother hid him in a floating basket in the river Nile.
Later, pharaoh’s daughter rescued him and took him to her home. In the same book, God rescued Israelites from the Egyptian troops by splitting Red sea water for the Israelites to pass (Lefebvre 178). Also, the bible states God used water to save the Noah family from perishing. The raising water continuously lifted the ark preventing the Noah family and other animals from drowning
Muslims believe that water is a symbol of life. Qur’an articulates that Allah created man and all other creatures from the water. Also, Islam states that water was the only thing in the universe before God created the earth. Muslims assert that Islam originated from the harsh Arabian deserts. Islam argues that Allah provided people and animals in the dessert with water for survival. Consequently, Muslims believe that water is the source of life (Abdullah, 187).
Islam considers water as a symbol of Allah paradise. In this regard, water is a sign of righteousness and closeness to Allah. Qur’an acknowledges rain and river as sources of safe drinking water from the Paradise gardens. Islam argues that Paradise water is ever flowing as opposed to the hell water which is always stagnant. Therefore, Muslims believe that Allah makes water flow from paradise for human beings to use for their needs (Yaran 89).
Just like in Christianity, water symbolizes purity in Islam. Therefore, Muslims use water to perform ablution rituals before prayers. For instance, Muslims perform Ghusl ablution ritual after sex and before feasting or touching the Qur’an. All Muslims must observe wudu ablution ritual before the five daily prayers. Consequently, nearly all mosques have water points in their courtyard for ablution rituals before prayers (Sodiq 113).
In conclusion, water in both religions symbolizes life and purity. However, while Christianity considers water as a symbol of deliverance and rescue, Islam believes that water is a symbol of Allah’s paradise.
Abdullah, Naeem. Concepts of Islam. Bloomington: Xlibris, 2011. Print.
Griswold, Eliza. The tenth parallel: dispatches from the fault line between Christianity and Islam. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010. Print.
Lefebvre, Solange. Water marks our life. London: SCM Press, 2012. Print.
MacDonald, Nathan. Genesis and Christian theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012. Print.
Oestigaard, Terje. Water, Christianity and the rise of capitalism. London: I.B. Tauris, 2013. Print.
Rahman, Jamal, Kathleen Schmitt Elias, and Ann Holmes Redding. Out of darkness into light: spiritual guidance in the Quran with reflections from Jewish and Christian sources. Harrisburg: Morehouse Pub., 2009. Print.
Sodiq, Yushau. Insider’s guide to Islam. Bloomington: Trafford Publishing, 2011. Print.
Yaran, Cafer. Understanding Islam. Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press, 2007. Print.
Product Meaning’s Reconsidering: Symbolism of Advertising Case Study
The issue of representing women in media has always been complicated, due to the changes in women’s role in the society and perception of women from weak and dependable to strong and self-reliant over the past few decades. Despite the obvious tendencies to portray women from a chauvinistic perspective in most media for an impressively long period (Williamson, 1987b), in the twentieth and twenty-first century, feminist tendencies have been introduced into new and popular media. However, because of the specifics of the current popular culture, the effects of feminist ideas in media can be driven to nil, which the recent controversial advertisement of Killer Queen perfume shows in a very graphic manner.
It is quite peculiar that the given advertisement can be used as the ultimate proof for Karl Marx’s statement concerning commodities representing “social relations among things and material relations among persons” (Marx). Indeed, considering the advertisement closer, one will be able to spot numerous implications concerning the social links between people and objects (Goldman, 2013a). To start with, the crown on Katy Perry’s head can be interpreted as an indicator of social status, with the scepter enhancing the given impression and, thus, sending the audience the message concerning the nobility of the product. The skimpy dress, in its turn, creates a contrast with the previously mentioned item. Another important detail of the given advertisement, the red color is used as a symbol. Even though the idea of using red color as a metaphor of passion seems to have worn out its welcome quite a while ago, in the given picture, the red color does create an atmosphere of passion.
The most interesting part of the analysis, however, concerns the ideological aspect of the product (Williamson, 1987c). On the one hand, the given product seems to spur female empowerment in the postmodern pop-cultural, consumerist world. Indeed, some of the elements can be interpreted as a graphic manifestation of feminist ideas, e.g., the scepter as the symbol of power and the portrayal of a woman as the beholder of this power. However, after considering the rest of the details, such as the overly sexualized image embodied by Katy Perry, the semantics of the color (Williamson, 1987a) and the pose that the model strikes, one will see inevitably that the given advertisement was created to satisfy the tastes of the chauvinist audience.
The commercial featuring the Killer Queen perfume makes one ponder over how inanimate products embody social relations and human values. Casting a glance at the advertisement under discussion is enough to realize that the concept embodied in it could emerge only in the society that lacks equality in gender relationships (Goldman, 2013). The given advertisement is a peculiar commentary on modern society, with its idea of creating an overly sexualized image of a woman as a role model to promote to young women and teenage girls with the help of mass media. The given advertisement, therefore, shifts the emphasis from selfhood to transforming one’s self to fit into the current trends.
Therefore, it must be admitted that the advertisement in question is a product of its time (Williamson, 1987), colorful, dull, and plastic to the point where it becomes an element of a Barbie-style commercial. Being targeted at a specific audience, the product knows what exactly it needs to be, and it incorporates every detail of the glamorous, thoughtless, and alluring fashion-meets-celebrity reality. Killer Queen was bound to become a hit, and a somewhat tasteless commercial only cemented its success.
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Goldman, R. (2013). Advertising and the production of commodity-signs. In R. Goldman (Ed.), Reading ads socially (pp. 37–60).New York, NY: Routledge. Web.
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Williamson, J. (1987). Part I: Advertising – work. In D. McQuail (Ed.), McQuail’s reader in mass communication theory (pp. 15–19). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Web.
Williamson, J. (1987). Chapter one: A currency of signs. In D. McQuail (Ed.), McQuail’s reader in mass communication theory (pp. 20–39). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Web.
Williamson, J. (1987). Chapter two: Signs address somebody. In D. McQuail (Ed.), McQuail’s reader in mass communication theory (pp. 40–70). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Web.