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Poem # 1 : Western Wind

SEMANTIC THEORY – BASED ANALYSIS OF THE POEMS


Anonymous (c. 500)

WESTERN wind, when will thou blow?


The small rain down can rain,
Christ! ---if my love were in my arms
And I in my bed again.
(Leavenworth,
There are three poems1961:
to be4)
analyzed semantically in this paper.
The first one is entitled ‘Western Wind’, the second one is ‘Dust of Snow’
written by Robert Frost, and the third one is called ‘Upon Julia’s Clothes’.
The analysis of each poem will be displayed successively below.

General Analysis of ‘Western Wind’


‘Western Wind’ is a poem that likely tells about a person, a man who
was longing for love and camaraderie from his loved one. The man might
be a traveler or sailor wishing to return home. He might be feeling sad and
depressed that he wished the wind from the west to blow and caused the
rain, a small rain to be poured down and healed the pain from not being
able to be with the person he was in love with. He wished to go back
home, and depressingly wished his God that the person he loved was with
him.
The poem contains metaphoric expression as stated in ‘the small
rain’ and personification in the ‘Western wind, when will thou blow’.
Besides, the poem also includes meaning relations such as polysemy and

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homonymy. Words ‘love’ and ‘bed’ are words having meaning relations,
‘love’ can mean a feeling, a fondness, a person one’s in love with, zero
point in tennis game, whereas the word ‘bed’ can mean ‘a piece of
furniture where one sleeps’ or ‘bottom of the sea’ or ‘piece of ground for
flowers’. And the word ‘blow’ might mean ‘cause to move’, and has
polysemic expression such as blow out, blown the game, blow by blow,
etc.
In correspond with the semantic theory, theory of referential, image,
concept, and componential are employed in the poetry. The referential
theory means that the meaning of lexicon can be traced through the
referent of the lexicon so it requires the physical object of the lexicon
meaning. The image theory is a theory where the meaning of a word can
be solved by imagination aroused by the word. Concept theory is usually a
theory applied by dictionary writers to explain the meaning of words. And
the componential analysis concerns with explaining the meaning of
lexicon by identifying the features or components which construct the
entity the lexical meaning. More detailed analysis based on these
semantic theories is provided below.

a. The Referential Theory


Based on this theory, words like the following considered having
referent of the lexicon. The words are:
1. western refers to the wind where which it comes from the
west.
2. wind refers to the air blown from the west.
3. blow refers to the activity of wind.
4. rain refers to the water poured down from the sky.
5. love refers to a person the writer is in love with.
6. arms refer to part of body which is around limb and shoulders.
7. bed refers to home, a place where he wanted to return to.

b. The Image Theory


Imagination can be aroused by the word. However, a word is not
always imagined similarly by different person. The following phrases
possibly arouse different imagination.
1. ‘western wind’ arouses people to imagine that the wind
is expected to come from the west.
2. ‘my love were in my arms’ arouses people to imagine
that the poem writer expected to be with his beloved
one at that time.
3. ‘I in my bed again’ might arouse imagination that the
poem writer wanted to return home.

c. The Concept Theory


As stated previously, that concept theory concerns with dictionary
writers’ applied way to explain words. In line with that, the following
meanings of the words below are taken from dictionaries.
1. Western : the west part of the world.
2. wind : current of air as the result of natural forces.
3. rain : water in the atmosphere falling in separate drops.
4. blow : (of the wind) cause to move.
5. Christ : title given to Jesus, now used as His name.
6. love : a strong positive emotion of regard and affection, a beloved
person.
7. arms : upper limb, from the shoulder to the hand.
8. bed : piece of furniture on which to sleep.

d. The Componential Analysis

a. WIND
+ ENERGY + MOVING + ABSTRACT

b. RAIN
- ENERGY + SUBSTANCE – ABSTRACT

c. ARM

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+ OBJECT + CONCRETE

d. BED
+ OBJECT + CONCRETE

e. LOVE
+ ANIMATE + HUMAN + FEMALE + ADULT +
MARRIED (i.e. wife)

Or

+ ANIMATE + HUMAN + FEMALE + ADULT -


MARRIED (i.e. girlfriend)

Or
+ ANIMATE + HUMAN + MALE + ADULT +
MARRIED (i.e. husband)

Or

+ ANIMATE + HUMAN + MALE + ADULT -


MARRIED (i.e. boyfriend)

Or

- ANIMATE + BEING + EMOTION + ABSTRACT

In addition, based on componential analysis, the meaning


employed is not only denotative meaning, but also connotative
meaning. The word that has connotative and denotative meaning in
the poem is rain. Denotatively, the word ‘rain’ means water in the
atmosphere falling in separate drops. And connotatively, the word
‘rain’ means dreary and depressing or sadness.
Poem # 2 : Dust of Snow

By Robert Frost (1875 – 1963)

THE way a crow


Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued

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General Analysis of ‘Dust of Snow’
The Dust of Snow’ is a poem written by Robert Frost. The poem
portrays Frost’s viewpoint on life changes resulted in from bad event, so
he finally had a positive view on life, as stated in the last four lines of the
poem.
The poem is slightly difficult to understand when seeing the first
four verses, which mostly metaphorically made. The word ‘crow’, ‘snow’,
‘hemlock’, and ‘shook down’ are metaphors. The word ‘crow’ might mean
evil thing, ‘snow’ might mean purity, ‘hemlock’ might mean bad event,
and ‘shook down’ might thing that shakes down Frost. And the thorough
literal meaning of the first four verses might be a person who was stricken
by the snow that crow has shaken down from the hemlock tree, or
figuratively means a person who has encountered a great bad event in his
life. The words ‘crow’ and ‘snow’ contain not only metaphor but also
antithesis, as we know that crow’s color is black while snow is white, two
colors that are contrasting one to another.
Regarding with the analysis, the behaviorist theory is used to
analyze the poem in addition to theory of referential, image, concept, and
componential are employed in the poetry. The behaviorist theory has the
idea that an expression is meaningful if utterances of it produce certain
behavioral response in people and/or are produced in response to certain
stimuli. More detailed analysis based on these semantic theories is
provided below.

1. The Referential Theory


Based on this theory, words like the following considered having
referent of the lexicon. The words are:
1. dust refers to the load of snow on the ground.
2. snow refers to frozen water falling from the sky in soft, white flakes.
3. crow refers to a black big bird with a raucous cry.
4. hemlock tree refers to a poisonous tree.
5. heart refers to the center of emotion.

2. The Image Theory


The following words and phrases are thought to be able to arouse
readers’ imagination differently.
1. ‘dust of snow’. A person might imagine ‘the dust of
snow’ as a pile of snow that cover the things like road,
tree, river, etc. however, for another person, ‘the dust of
snow’ arouse the person to imagine that mound of snow
are abundant during Christmas.
2. ‘crow’ for one person may only literally means a black
bird with its raucous voice, but for other people ‘crow’ is
imagined as the omen of death, sadness, or bad luck, or
even a movie entitled ‘Crow”.
3. 'shook down on me’ might arouse imagination of
something or someone is being shaken. However, it
might mean a tremendous happening that strikes
someone’s life.
4. ‘hemlock tree’ might only mean a poisonous tree. For
those who haven’t seen it, they likely to imagine a tree
having poison feature that they have known.
5. ‘has given my heart a change mood’ might mean that
the person feels relief, feel better after stumbling upon a
great misfortune.

3. The Concept Theory


Based on this theory, a number of words like the following can be
explained using description from dictionaries.
Dust: fine powdery material such as dry earth or pollen that can be

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blown about in the air.
1. Snow : precipitation falling from clouds in the form of ice
crystals.
2. Crow : black birds having a raucous call.
3. Hemlock: a poisonous plant with a mass of small white flowers
growing at the end of a
stem that is covered in spots.

4. Tree : plant with a single trunk of wood and branches.


5. Heart : a strong positive emotion of regard and affection.
6. Mood : temper: a characteristic (habitual or relatively
temporary) state of feeling.
7. Part : something determined in relation to something
that includes it.

4. The Componential Analysis

1. DUST : + OBJECT - LIVING + CONCRETE

2. SNOW : + OBJECT + CONCRETE

3. CROW : -- HUMAN + ANIMATE +


LIVING

4. HEMLOCK : + ANIMATE + LIVING

5. HEART : + OBJECT + CONCRETE

In relation with connotative and denotative meaning, Frost


employs several connotative meanings, especially in the first four lines.
The words are crow, snow, and hemlock tree. The word ‘crow’
denotatively is defined as kind of large, black bird with a harsh cry
while connotatively means bad prophecy, death, depression, or other
Poem # 3 : Upon Julia’s Clothes

By Robert Herrick (1591 – 1674)


unpleasant things in life. The word ‘snow’ is denotatively means frozen
water WHEN
fallingasfrom
in silks
themy Julia
sky in goes,
soft, white flakes, whereas the word
Then, then (me
connotatively thinks)
means howand
white sweetly flows
purity. The word ‘hemlock’ denotatively
meansThat liquefactiontree,
a venomous of her clothes.
and connotatively ‘hemlock’ means more
Next,
than justwhen I cast
physical mine eyes
poison, and see
but more on ‘poison’ or bad things in the
That brave Vibration each way free;
world.
O how that glittering taketh me!

5. The Behaviorist Theory


The sentence ‘Has given my heart a change mood’ in the poem might
stimulate certain behavior from the author, which in this case is Frost.
Frost’s feeling and behavior might be elicited if his mood shifts to be
better.

General Analysis of ‘Upon Julia’s Clothes’


‘Upon Julia’s Clothes’ is a poem composed by Robert Herrick. The
poem is about Herrick’s judgment on Julia’s clothes and Julia who at that
time was streaming by Herrick (how sweetly flows). Herrick was fascinated

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by the way Julia moved and her glossy and clinging clothes as if they are
wet (that liquefaction of her clothes). Besides, Herrick also pointed out
with a wink (as stated ‘I cast mine eyes and see’) that Julia might lack her
undergarments in order to emphasize the movement of her body
underneath (that brave vibration each way free). In addition, Herrick was
amazed by Julia’s flashing clothes (O how that glittering taketh me).
The poem employs two metaphoric expressions as in ‘that
liquefaction of her clothes’ and ‘that brave vibration each way free’.
Moreover, the poem contains two meaning relations, they are homonymy
and polysemy. The word that represents either homonymy or polysemy is
‘cast’. The word ‘cast’ can mean act of throwing away, set of actors in a
play, or mould for casting. This is called homonymy, a meaning relation
which involves 2 or more expressions where the interpretation cannot be
traced back to its basic meaning. The word ‘cast’ is also polysemic, which
means that interpretation from the word ‘cast’ can still be traced back to
its meaning. ‘Cast’ can mean to throw, and has polysemic expression like
cast somebody or something aside, cast off and cast away.
In line with the analysis, the poem is analyzed based on the
referential theory, the image theory, the concept theory, the
componential analysis, and the truth conditional theory. Truth conditional
theory is a statement which is the basis of the theory: (S is true iff P)

1. The Referential Theory


Based on this theory, words like the following considered having
referent of the lexicon. The words are:
1. silk refers to the piece of clothing worn by Julia.
2. Julia refers to herself depicted in the poem.
3. liquefaction refers to Julia’s garments that look like liquid or water.
4. clothes refer to the covering garments of Julia’s body.
5. vibration refers to Julia’s vibrating movement.

2. The Image Theory


1. ‘when as in silks my Julia goes sweetly flows’ arouse people’s
imagination that Julia in silks
moving very elegantly or the moving of Julia wearing silky clothes
looks so delicate and
stylish.
2. ‘that liquefaction of her clothes’ is imagined likely that Julia’s silky,
glimmering clothes just look like liquid.
3. ‘that brave vibration each way free’ may arouse about Julia’s
movement or her clothes or both. Further, this expression might be
thought of that Julia lacks her undergarments in order to emphasize
the movement of her body underneath.
4. ‘how that glittering taketh me!’ is perhaps imagined that Herrick
was startled by Julia’s glimmering glossy clothes.

3. The Concept Theory


1. Silk : the soft, lustrous fiber obtained as a filament from
the cocoon of the
silkworm.
2. Clothes : coverings for a person’s body.
3. Flows : move as a river does.
4. Liquefaction : changing a solid into a liquid
5. Vibration : the act of vibrating.
6. Glittering : having brief brilliant points or flashes of light.

4. The Componential Theory

1. Julia : + (HUMAN) + (FEMALE) + (ADULT)

2. Clothes: + (OBJECT) + (CONCRETE)

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3. Silk : + (OBJECT) + (CONCRETE)

5. The Truth Condition Theory


‘When I cast mine eyes and see’ is true if and only if I cast his eyes
and see’. So the expression is true if and only if Herrick really casts
his eyes and sees.