Day 140: Connotation and Denotation

1. Poetry Journal. Students answered the following questions in their poetry journals:

  1. Review: What are a poet’s goals? What are a poet’s techniques?
  2. Rewrite the following sentences to sound more positive:
  • You’re fired!
  • That dress makes you look fat.
  • She dumped him.

3. Rewrite the following sentences to sound more negative:

  • I get sad when it rains.
  • She wears only vintage clothes.

2. Notes on Connotation and Denotation. (Download the PowerPoint here: Connotation.Denotation.Tone)

Denotation: (de- meaning down) the definition of the word written down in the dictionary

Connotation: (con- meaning with) the unspoken emotional connections that go along with the word. The word’s personality. Its baggage.

Tone: the attitude of the speaker towards the subject

Tone = Imagery + Diction + Syntax

Imagery: relating to the five senses: sight, taste, touch, sound, smell

Diction: word choice, including positive and negative connotations, key words, repeated words, unexpected words, inappropriate words, and the emotions associated with the words.

Syntax: grammar and sentence structure, including punctuation marks, length of sentences, important conjunctions, types of sentences (question, command), order of sentences.

3. Connotation / Denotation Exercise. In small groups, students ordered different sets of words with similar denotations and different connotations. For instance, all these words have the denotation of thin: slim, slender, thin, bony, skeletal. However, to call someone “slim” is a complement; to call them “skeletal” is an insult. Each word comes with emotional associations, or a connotation. (Download Connotation/Denotation Exercise here: connotation denotation)

4. Reading “Sonrisas,” by Pat Mora. As we read this poem, we focused on diction, imagery, and syntax. We filled out the top box of this tone chart (download here: Tone chart). We will continue our work on Thursday.

HW: Due Thursday.

Read the following selections from your textbook (hyperlinked to online versions here).

For each selection, write the Title and Author, plus at least three bullet points of main ideas or your reaction to the piece.

Imagery by John Malcolm Brinnin (if reading online, stop right before yellow section), pp. 402-403

Woman Work” by Maya Angelou (if reading online, also read this information about Catalog Poems), pp. 408-409

Daily” by Naomi Shihab Nye, pp. 410-411

in Just” by e.e. cummings, pp. 413-414

Honors must also read “Eyeglasses for the Mind,” by Stephen King (if reading online, you do not need to answer the questions), p. 415.

Bring your Literature book or printed out copies of the poems to class on Thursday and Friday.

Absentees: Answer the Poetry Journal questions. Copy down connotation/denotation notes. Print out the Tone Chart and fill it out after reading “Sonrisas.”