Connotative and Denotative Meanings Term Paper

Pages: 3 (985 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .

No means no!" became a slogan for individuals who were trying to raise awareness of the high incidence of date rape in American society. The slogan was used to impress upon women, and men, that women had the right to decline sexual advances.

Interestingly, the word "no" is used twice in the slogan "No means no!." The first instance of the word is as an adverb, indicating refusal or denial. The second use of the word in the slogan is also as an adverb, again indicating refusal or dissent. When put in the context of a date-rape situation, the slogan is meant to indicate that a woman's expression of refusal should be taken as an immediate and undeniable indication of her unwillingness to engage in sexual activity.

In the context of sexual relationships and sexual power, the slogan was designed to show that women were empowered to dissent or say no to a male who was pressing sexual activity on the female. Traditionally, women were often felt to be playing "coy" or simply feigning disagreement, while they secretly "wanted it," or wanted to engage in sexual activity despite their verbal disagreement.

The widespread use of the slogan "No means no!" turned that assumption of female compliance on its head. As such, in the specific context of the sexual arena, a woman's use of the word no began to indicate a much stronger dissent or refusal to engage in sex. As such, this is a situation where public education and widespread use of a specific slogan have helped to change the connotative meaning of a word in a specific context.

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One of the most common connotative meanings of "no" is seen in the association of the word with the images of a petulant toddler defying their caregiver. In this situation, a screaming, crying child shouts "No!" emphatically denying any attempts by the parent to pacify the child. The child is often having a temper tantrum and is usually inconsolable.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Connotative and Denotative Meanings of Assignment

The denotative meaning of the word "no" in this situation is clearly one of refusal or dissent. However, the connotative meaning is much richer, and more deeply textured. The connotation in this common scenario is one of unreasoning, almost primal defiance. The connotative meaning also includes that of outspoken and clear defiance of authority, and an assertion of independence. In addition, in this situation, "no" begins to mean petulant and annoying behaviour.

Certainly, an examination of the seemingly simple English word "no" shows that complexity of denotative meanings that can occur with even such a common and simple word. A further exploration of the word "no" also exposed a wider wealth of nuance and expression in the connotative meanings of the word. In conclusion, the exploration of this common and apparently simplistic word exposes the true complexity and depth of word meaning and use in the English language.

Works Cited

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. MERRIAM-WEBSTER… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Connotative and Denotative Meanings."  Essaytown.com.  October 13, 2002.  Accessed September 23, 2021.
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