An American Flag: More than it seems
In Finn’s discussion of images and their meaning within the concepts of structuralism, Finn mentioned Barthes work regarding a singular image as having “both denotative and connotative levels of meaning,” (p. xiii). The image shown here can be deconstructed to explain specifically how images can dually posses both qualities. This image is denotative in the sense that most all viewers of the image can deduce that this is an image of flowers and landscape and includes a flag, regardless of the flag’s association with a particular country. Additionally, the image holds connotative meaning that is best illustrated due to the presence of the American flag. In the most basic of terms, the American flag symbolizes a wide range of things including freedom, hope, and the American dream; additionally, it is well-known in our culture that the flag is used to commemorate loved ones or to simply show patriotism. Thus the image itself , and most images, can be viewed and deconstructed in literal terms or it can be expanded to hold a more broad and deeper meaning for the potential audience of the image based on symbols present in the image. Note that our concept of a “symbol” such as the American flag does not have to be used to illustrate this. A symbol can be virtually anything.