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Since the symbol has to be understood by the public in order to carry meaning but is still used to reinforce or question understandings, there is an interactive cause and effect relationship involved in each symbol. Using semiotic analysis on a single cultural symbol, such as the apple, can reveal how different worldviews can be shaped in different cultures.
Semiotics can be defined as an examination of symbols to discover its meaning at various levels. “Semiology therefore aims to take in any system of signs, whatever their substance and limits; images, gestures, musical sounds, objects, and the complex associations of all these, which form the content of ritual, convention or public entertainment: these constitute, if not languages, at least systems of signification” (Barthes, 1964). The concept of semiotics considers how symbols combine to target a specific group and to convey meaning to them. Analysis breaks images down into signifiers, signified and sign. David Chandler (2006) defines the signifier as “the form which the sign takes” and the signified as “the concept it represents.” The ‘sign’ is the meaning that emerges. This meaning provides clues, in the form of denotation and connotation, as to the culture’s dominant worldview. It has been determined that for every symbol, there is some further meaning and often the possibility for multiple interpretations. Denotation and connotation communicate about the ideological myth behind the message. These ideas are best explored by analyzing a symbol such as the apple.
Within a Christian-dominated culture, including the modern-day Greek culture, the symbol of the apple has an instant connotation of temptation, evil and destruction. These ideas are conveyed early through stories such as popular children’s shows. As is discussed by Trish Carden (2005), Disney’s production of
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People living in different parts of the world have different cultural norms even if they belong to the same religion or community. For example, Roman Catholics and Protestants are two of the prominent communities in the Christian culture. However, they have different customs and rituals.
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