What are two examples of connotations in Isak Dinesen's "The Ring"? What are two examples of denotation?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Studies in Short Fiction, Bruce Bassoff identifies "The Ring" as an instance of Dinesen's contention that human beings answer "a native urge towards transcendence." Further, Bassoff states that Lovisa " muses over her happiness" only to discover through her encounter with a thief that "life is both more and less than imagined." With the theme of a threatening self-awareness at the heart of his short story, Lovisa's encounter with the thief changes her life.

  • Connotation [What a word suggests beyond what it expresses]

1. Central to this story is Lise's naive decision to hide from her husband in her "sylvan closet." Thus use of sylvan and closet for her hiding spot in the grove suggests, or connotes, a place that is the stuff of fairy tales, a magical place that is very private and that which will enclose her.

2. "Then slowly he put the knife back in the sheath by his belt." The sheath is the enclosure in which a knife is put; however, the word also means "a structure in living tissue that closely envelops another" This action of the thief is one of a few that suggests that there has been a sexual encounter between the thief and Lise.

  • Denotation [The literal or dictionary meaning of a word]

1. "After a while she realized that he was observing her just as she was observing him." The word observing is used rather than looking or watching because the author wishes to convey that the the thief is studying her as to observe means "to watch carefully and study."

2. "She had no object of value about her, only the wedding ring which here husband had set on her finger...." While wedding is a marriage ceremony, it also means 

the act or an instance of blending or joining, especially opposite orcontrasting elements

Which is what may have happened with the thief and Lise.

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