Popular Culture Review Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer 2017 - Page 91

An audience is a central component in communication. An audience could be singular, or it can consist of a large number of individuals. In Johnstone’s analysis, an “audience may be thought to consist of passive listeners whose emotion and beliefs have to be analyzed so that they can identify with what the speaker or writer says” (144). As we noted previously, expressions of sorrow and the response to them by means of various objects have become almost predictable in society today. Shortly after a tragedy has taken place, individuals place objects to express sorrow and concern to family members, to organizations, to remember a specific city, st reet, or location. When we observe various forms of expression to indicate sorrow, those who place objects at these locations do so with an audience in mind. We can infer that those who use these objects to express an attitude of despair and sorrow share a similar way of expressing grief with those who view them close up or from a distance. In other words, those who place them and those who view them comprehend the language of these signs in much the same manner as they would comprehend traditional forms of oral or written communication. In essence, they participate in the same culture in that they process these signs in an almost similar manner. For example, the picture of an individual in military attire placed at a memorial site would convey a similar meaning not only to other military personnel, but to others in the nation. Such an object at a memorial site would convey to audiences the concepts of bravery, patriotism, and service that are typically highly appreciated and valued in society. A similar method of sharing a common meaning is the presence of flowers, balloons, and other objects, often seen at these moments of sorrow. As mentioned earlier, flowers convey a similar meaning of sorrow from the perspective of those who place them at these sites and from those who view them. This approach to meaning is similar to Barthes’ analysis of signs at the levels of denotation and connotation. Denotation is the basic level of analysis. Many persons would agree, for example, on what athletic shoes are. At the level of connotation, a wider range of interpretation is possible. Athletic shoes convey a message of latest styles, trends, costs, personalities, and places where they are worn. Place of Emotion Expressions of sorrow, by their nature, are emotional phenomena. They reveal the cognitive and neural mechanisms that influence the reasons why individuals behave in a certain manner when they experience traumatic episodes, whether these episodes pertain to family members to friends, or to strangers. In cognition, expressions of sorrow are elements of bottom -up and top- 86