Connotation and Denotation in Literature

In literary usage, the term “literal” means the primary significance or reference of a word; The “connotation” of a word means a set of secondary or related meanings implied by the word. For example; “home” refers to the house one lives in, privacy and privacy.

In a broader sense, the connotation of a word is a set of meanings or meanings, and what the word really connotes is formed depending on the context in which the word is used. When it comes to poetry, words share context, both in denotation and connotation. And how to evaluate the words is up to the reader. In this respect, George Herbert’s poetry “Virtue” It is necessary to take into account:

A sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,

Bride of heaven and earth…

The word “bride” has both associative and literal meanings. The literal meaning of the word means a union between people. The word means “earth” and serves as a metaphor to facilitate the union of earth and sky. On the other hand, the connotation of the word “bride” is sacred or ceremonial. In addition, the meaning of the word is similar to “marriage”.

The second example I would like to present is a chapter from John Keats’ book. “In Praise of a Nightingale” Where the associative meaning of the word changes according to the way it is written:

Magical magic wings unfold on the foam

In dangerous seas, fairy abandoned land,

You’ll notice that the use of “fairy” instead of “fairy” evokes the ancient and wonderful world of Spenser. “Fairy Queen”.

These are some examples to see how connotation and literal overlap! You can distinguish their meaning only by the context in which the words are used. When it comes to literary language, you’ll find both exist, and it’s up to the reader to appreciate the artwork with appropriate connotation or denotation.

In short, denotation refers to the literal meaning or dictionary definition of a word. Connotation, on the other hand, refers to the associations attached to a particular word or the emotional suggestions associated with that word. Connotations of a given word exist in conjunction with denotations. So, as far as the meanings of a word are concerned, both share different characteristics.

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