Critical Discourse Analysis of Symbolism in the Selected Poems by Shirley Geok-lin Lim

  • MAFARHANATUL AKMAL AHMAD KAMAL The Academy of Language Studies, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan, MALAYSIA.


Figurative language is essential in literature as it leaves resonant expressions that capture readers' attention. Understanding the underlying meaning of figurative language enables readers to comprehend the implicit messages conveyed in the poetry. As symbolism is a common figurative language in poetry, this study examines the use of symbolism in Shirley Lim's selected poems: Feeling Sorry, A Woman Speaks of Grandchildren, The Gate, The Rebel, My Father's Sadness, and Pantoun for Chinese Women. Using Fairclough's critical discourse analysis (CDA), this study examines the relationships between periphrastic texts, practises, and events and broader social and cultural structures (Fairclough, 1995). For a deeper understanding of the ideologies underlying the poems, the implicit meaning of the symbolism expressions is analysed using a qualitative descriptive research design and a content analysis approach. The results indicate that symbolism is used frequently, with 12 instances in the chosen poems, elaborating the use of symbolism in enhancing the meaning and expression of the ideas of the social and cultural backgrounds. The conclusion is that the figurative expressions contribute significantly to the poem's underlying meaning and ideology. This study hopes to give students, linguists, and others who want to understand Shirley Lim's poems better new ideas and information.

How to Cite
AHMAD KAMAL, MAFARHANATUL AKMAL; AJJULUS, GLORIA. Critical Discourse Analysis of Symbolism in the Selected Poems by Shirley Geok-lin Lim. Journal of Creative Practices in Language Learning and Teaching (CPLT), [S.l.], v. 10, n. 2, p. 143-154, dec. 2022. ISSN 1823-464X. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 06 feb. 2023. doi:

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