Media And Writing Essay Semiotic Analysis

Modified: 15th May 2017
Wordcount: 1539 words

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Any journal article essentially tries to convince the reader to accept the fact that something exists, and it should draw more attention. With the use of semiotic analysis and the codes, conventions, connotations and ideologies to construct it, this essay will analyze the chosen photo and to highlight The Question of Youth Violence article.

The first step in analyzing the multiple meanings of a photo is to understand what is this image and textual message telling to us at a denotation level, which according to Barthes, is ”the first order of signification” (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2005:115).

The photo in this article is a picture that shown the image of a pencil-bag with a light blue flower on its red background, around edge of an opened zipper there is a ball-pen with pink colour, and another ball-pen with flowers hanging over the edge. Moreover, at middle of those ball-pens a sharpen knife stick out of pencil-bag and lights shine onto the pencil-bag gives a shaded area is beneath it. A quote ”children are more aggressive and grow up more likely to become involved in violence ‘C either as a victimize or as a victim ‘C if they witness violent acts. The home is the most fertile breeding place for this situation,” (American Psychological Association, 1996) at top of the photo. In article, American FBI figures shown in 1996 girls accounted for 15 percent of all violent juvenile arrests in United States and followed with few cases related to juvenile arrests. Thus, this article are constructed by a complex system, which includes implied narrative, interpellation, ideology, index, symbol, signifier and signified which aim to gain more attention from the reader.

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Secondly, in order to highlight a relevant mental representation to the photo, one can evaluate the connotation of the photo and then the context itself. According to Barthes, connotation is ”the emotions, values and associations that a sign gives rise to in the reader, viewer, or listener” (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2005:116). This pointing out in order to explain the ideologies of the photo, its need a full understanding of all elements that build up the photo. In the photo a knife dramatically sticks out in the middle of stationeries could been considered in school, students starting behave more rational and it is dangers to other student. Furthermore, the quote ”children are more aggressive and grow up more likely to become involved in violence ‘C either as a victimize or as a victim ‘C if they witness violent acts.” (American Psychological Association, 1996) also supporting the photo in a more generalized perspective and at same time suggests prevent children from experiencing any form of violent acts. Today, due to the liberation of express oneself and lack of restriction of selling and buying knife and firearm the social and moral boundaries are weakling day by day. For example, in journal article ”July 29, 2009 ‘C 17-year-old Alexis Harris dies after being stabled by another girl during an argument on a basketball court in Cleveland, Ohio.” (Gina, 2009:22), in this paragraph exposed security issues in high school. In addition, from this quote we noticed teenager boys and girls could not control themselves when their conscious driven by anger, humiliation.

Before any further discussion, it is important to know the target audience of the article. The context of a photo article is linking with ”our understanding of the inscribed reader and the meaning of the text” (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2005:127). This photo article was found in the Vision journal. The journal is mainly focusing on the challenges that face society today. The journal article is aim at any person who is passionate to examining and researching in complex social, moral and philosophical perspective, and brings solutions to the problems humanity faces today. This may explain the metaphorical approach of the photo and a quotation from American Psychological Association’s research paper, highlighting the youth violence is critical. Thus, the link between context and inscribed reader is obvious. In semiotic analysis, interpellation was used to describe, ”A process in which we internalize ideologies as response to being ” addressed” (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2005:162). That red pencil-bag in the advertisement and filled with the feminine colored stationery. Thus, such image leads me to think, in general are all children who use a red pencil-bag indicate they are potentially being violent or only the girls are intend to be more violent. Furthermore, I am interpellated as being concerned with school violence because each student in school having their pencil-bag, thus readers are getting more concerning about their children in reality.

In terms of the text of the article, three areas should been discussed in detail in order to understand connotative ideas of the photo. One is the quote on top of the photograph; the large and bold font size; and the organization name in a catching red font color below the quote. The word ”children” of the quote ”children are more aggressive … fertile breeding place for this situation.” is implied in general all children are more aggressive without gender difference. Moreover, the publisher of this quote and examples in the context ‘C American Psychological Association, shows the truth and evidence of this studies have developed and concluded by authority. Last, FBI figures indicated 15 percent of total juvenile arrests are girls, who committed in violence. This figures increasing since 1996 (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2006).

In terms of the journal article name ‘the question of youth violence’, the words ”youth” and ”violence” contains a symbol ‘C which It is well established that co-relation between signifier an signified based on understanding of the article and background (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2005). In this case, the signifier is the pencil-bag and knife in the photo and the signified is a fact ‘C youth violence has a increasing trend in female gender. This symbol is widely understood in the world as a symbol of schoolchildren and violence, and it relates to the title ”the question of youth violence” – at first look on the photo. Thus, the quote, the figures and live examples in article has constructed a central ideology on Youth Violence.

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Visually, this photo has many layers, as William says, ”Reading media imagery is an active process in which context, social location, and prior experience ” other readers who may see different meanings.” (William, et al., 1992). The first thing one saw when looking at the red pencil-bag, we know this is belong to a student. Furthermore, stationary in the pencil-bag are include a various ballpoint pen, pencil sharpener and mathematical instruments because every student has math and a language course at least. Thus, a knife was inside a pencil-bag means a student was intended to hurt someone, because knife was a symbol of violence and blood. Using this image, the author tried to link student and violence and he successfully combined those two ideas.

Another successful creation of the photo is its colour scheme. The pencil-bag is coloured with a flashing red colour ‘C a colour possibly implied feminine characteristic of the pencil-bag, and light blue symbolize cold and consciousness. In addition, all stationary inside the pencil-bag are followed with same color scheme to define the owner is a female. Thus, from this analysis one can draw narrative image in their mind. It has called ”the story a picture presents” (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2005:125). The implied story is a teenage girl who are intended or an urges to hurt somebody with a knife. The implied narrative is furthered by the quotation on the top of the page, and that leads reader to continue to read more about article in details and further.

Finally, semiotic terminology is developed with various effects from a particular ideology, which relate to the photo and context of an article. When analyzing the ‘the question of youth violence’ photo article, one main ideology is established. Which is the ideology that youth violence is increasing over decade and it”s become more serious than ever; In addition to this ideology is juvenile arrests starting include females as well. According to American FBI figures from 1996 to 2002, female juvenile arrest has increased by 9 percent (Gina, 2009:22). In reality, many readers are not aware of the facts of teenager is very easy be affected by various source to become violent. Through the narrative implication author warn the parents and teenager themselves to be aware of the world have to pay more attention to youth as a whole and in order to prevent any sad incidence in future we need to guide children to a strong and heath shape in term of physical and psychological balance.


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