Symbolism in Sam Shepard's drama Curse of the starving class


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  All praise is to Allah, king of the king, lord of the world who has bestowed upon the writer completingthis paper and who has given him the brain to think, the eyes to see, the ears to hear, the hands to write, and the tongue to speak. Peace and blessing be upon to the prophet Muhammad saw the last messenger in the world who has brought us from the darkness to the lightness,from Many thanks is given to the Dean, H.


  All praise is to Allah, king of the king, lord of the world who has bestowed upon the writer completingthis paper and who has given him the brain to think, the eyes to see, the ears to hear, the hands to write, and the tongue to speak. Peace and blessing be upon to the prophet Muhammad saw the last messenger in the world who has brought us from the darkness to the lightness,from Many thanks is given to the Dean, H.

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION A. Background of Study Literature is a performance in words. It strongly holds our attention

  Drama as a kind of literary work may express the author’s thinking, feeling or attitude, and wish through the language, such language is not ordinary It would be difficult to imagine someone who is not interested in communication; someone who, for one reason or another was never engaged ininvestigating the nature of specific message or even the nature of message in general. In short, it would be a person who is not concerned with the working of signs; and the length and diversity of his relatively short list should give anindication of the impossible of such a person’ s existence.

4 Waiting for Godot.” Shepard enrolled in Mount Antonio Junior College, but

  He was an American dramatist writing today whose evoke a new sense of space in drama, because he can transfers the values of the American 5 society and its ideal into the emotional landscapes of his plays.3 Deborah A Straub, Contemporary Authors, (Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1988), p. Based on the statements above, the writer here is trying to interpret the drama, more specifically the use of symbol in drama ‘Curse of the Starving Class .’ Therefore, the writer plans to do an analysis under the title: Symbolism in Sam Shepard’s drama “Curse of the Starving Class” .

B. Focus of the Study

  As it has been mentioned in the Background of Study, the writer would like to focus the discussion only to the use of symbols in ‘Curse of the Starving Class’ and the meaning of symbols in the drama. This drama had been chosen by the researcher because this drama contain symbol, the researcher was interesting to know the meaning of symbols in the drama.

C. Research Questions

  What are the meanings of the utilized symbols in drama ‘Curse of the Starving Class’ ? To know the utilized symbols in Sam Shepard drama Curse of the Starving Class.

2. To know the meaning of the utilized symbols in Sam Shepard drama Curse of the Starving Class

E. The Significances of the Research

F. Methodology of Research 1

  Meanwhile, the writer also wishes to understand and trace the implicit meaning of symbol in Sam Shepard’s drama “Curse of the MethodIn this research, the writer used descriptive analysis method in analyzing the drama Curse of the Starving Class by Richard Gilman which containssymbols, with making table of symbols and analyzing the meaning of symbols in the drama, by using the semiotic approach. Unit of AnalysisUnit of analysis in this research is the text of drama “Curse of the Starving Class”; it was taken from a book “Sam Shepard, Curse of the Starving Class : A Play in Three Acts, New York: Dramatists Play Service, 1976.

5. Place and Time

  This research was done when the writer was studying at the end of twelfth semester 2006/2007 in English Letters Department, Letters andHumanities Faculty, State Islamic University Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta. All materials are taken from libraries, such as University of Indonesia,University of Atmajaya, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University and other libraries that can give information about the material.

CHAPTER II THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK A. Definition of Prose Prose is ordinary language that people use in writing such as poetry

  Prose comes in two types of text - narrative and expository. Narrative text is defined as "something that is narrated such as a story.

B. Definition of Poetry

  Some forms of poetry are specific to particular cultures and genres , responding to the characteristics of the language in which the poet writes. Whilereaders accustomed to identifying poetry with Dante , Goethe , Mickiewicz and Rumi may think of it as being written in rhyming lines and regular meter , there Great poems differ from others exactly because of these, since their words invoke thoughts and powerful feelings in the listener or reader.

C. Definition of Drama

  Tragedy examines the eternal questions that a man faces during his life and shows how he tries to answer these questions, whereas comedy is rooted more in the events of our daily lives, such asthe way humans live together in communities. Many dramatists use comedy scenes in tragedies to lessen the seriousness of the tragedy, as well as to highlightthe seriousness of the tragedy’s main theme.

D. Definition of Semiotics

  Semiotic is the study of sign and symbols and their meaning and use, 10 especially in the writing, or method to analyze the sign. Semiotic significant, in this term, gives big attention to the systematic relation between signs and, the role of combining (code), and the concepts(signified) related to that significant.

1. Meaning is not inherent in object, object does not signify by them

  Semiotic analysis begins with a study of the actuallanguage and structures of the text, showing how meaning is constructed and, of course, at the same time what these meaning are. Semiotic posits the notion of level of meaning.

C. Theory of Sign

  In using symbols in this manner, the author has a clear "story" (set of ideas) already in mind; the author simply transposes that pre-existing storyitem by item into a symbolic system, matching each element in the story with an appropriate cipher. Just as the word "tree" used in a sentence has a specific meaning, rather than the general meaning given in the dictionary, so an archetype used in a workof art has specific meanings, rather than a general meaning one might find in a dictionary of archetypes.

D. Recognizing Symbols

  If a character waiting for a friend onceglances at his or her watch to verify the time, there may be nothing symbolic about the watch or about the act of looking at it. If, however, the watch keepsappearing again and again in the story, at key moments; if the narrator devotes a good deal of time to describing it; if it is placed in a conspicuous physicallocation; if characters keep noticing it and commenting on its presence; if it lost(or found) at a critical moment; if its function in some way parallels the 13 functions as a symbol.

E. Meanings of Symbols

  According to Romantics' view, if one wishes to reach the original, pure meaning of the work of art (including drama), one has to go beyond the product,beyond the object itself, back into the 'state of mind' in which the artist's vision. And as for the substance of artistic work, all begins with a state of mind and ends with a work of art as the product.

F. Literary Symbols

  Some symbols will fit so naturally into the literal context that their In addition to having the same associations as conventional symbols, literary symbols may derive additional associations through their use in aparticular literary work. For instance, ‘a watch’ or ‘clock’ denotes time; as a literary symbol in a particular work, it might seem to suggestjust the passing of time, or it might convey anything from a character's inability to recapture the past to the idea of time running out - or, it might suggest more thanone of these ideas.

G. Theory of Symbol of Roland Barthes

  The denotative meaning of ‘black’ is as A concept of ‘yellow flag’ in our mind, is the concept of signifier, then, we prove it into a real shape or form that is a flag with a yellow color, it is adenotation means of the phrase a / yellow flag that/ is a flag with a yellow color. The main meaning of food is the necessity as ‘Steak’ is identified to ‘rich people’ because it is one of the high class food, we are able to recognize it from the price which is expensive, there is nomatter for rich people to buy anytime but not for poor people, they will think twice for they have not enough money to buy it.

14. Ella: And they come crashing down to earth

  Condition of thefamily is clearly expressed in the opening scene that will continue until the end of the play. It is messed up and dirty and so is the family, where there will beconflicts and they will start yelling and screaming at each other.

1. Four mismatched chair

  Weston, the father who haslost his function as a leader of his family is unemployment and continually drunk, and wants to live in Mexico like he says to Wesley: “…I could sell it and buy some land down in Mexico…I like it down there…” (159). It is also signified by the lamb that carrying with Wesley into the house; it’s placed inside the kitchen at the center of the house; that was expressed by Weston with his words to the lamb:“what the hell are you doin’ in here?

3. Refrigerator

  Every time each character goto the refrigerator in the middle of or after a discussion they look inside, find nothing and then slam its door, though they know it is empty; Weston says: “I don’t know why we keep a refrigerator in this house. Although Emma (the daughter) and Ella (the mother) are starving, but each one of them denies that they are hungry or belong to the starving class, butthe dearth of food in the refrigerator gives the lie to their claim: “EMMA’S VOICE: (Off) THERE IS SO!

5. Never go swimming

  As a signifier , the word ‘no swimming’ can be used to signify that no action or activity was coming to the life of daughter, Emma, around people is signified. And as a sign, it is important to understand that the word ‘no swimming’ is quite a different thing from the word even got blue lights around it at night.

6. First period

  As a signifier, ‘first period’ can be used to signify the occurrence of bleeding, produce monthly from the uterus is signified. It is signified by her admiring of technology and wishes that she can be a mechanic as her job as she says to her mother: “Emma: I had the whole trip planned out in my head.

7. Horse

  The relation between the two (the first and second level; the sign , it is important to understand that the ‘lamb’ is quite a different animal from the ‘lamb’ as a signifier. It is signified by present the ritual of deliverance from numbnessto activity and from death to life, and the act of lying on the table only brings‘numbness’ or ‘sleep’.

12. Lamb’s testes

  It is represents to Weston who’s losing his function as father and leader of his family for becomingmaterialistic the way of life. And as a sign, it is important to understand that the ‘lamb’s testes’ is quite a different thing from the ‘lamb’s testes’ as a signifier.

13. Eagle

  It is signified by each character in the family which is innocence and weakness to be forced by invasion of alien social elements like Taylor and Ellis. The eagle as signifier can be used tosignify the capitalist system (read; materialistic), and it is signified by the run of family in finding of some material for their self.

CHAPTER IV CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTION A. Conclusion After analyzing Curse of the Starving Class written by Sam Shepard Using

  semiotics’ theory, the writer concludes that symbols appearing in the drama give significant meaning to the story such as follows:Drama is the words that have been written down to be spoken and acted on the stage. The play is a symbolic drama, but it is no allegory; the symbols are used more for their resonance and imagistic power than for any one-to-onecorrespondence with the themes of the play.

B. Suggestion

  In this paper, the writer suggests that Shepard specify the cause of the curse happening to Weston’s family so that the coherent of this play ismaintained. The writer would also like to suggest to those who are interested in interpreting the symbols in this drama to understand semiotics’ theory first, sincesymbols are interpreted by not only their resemblance (firstness), but also their cause-effect relation (secondness) and the convention/consensus (thirdness).

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