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The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me

"Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul." This image suggests the idea that music is a healer of the soul and could even in some cases be a form of religion or salvation. Exploring the linguistic, coded iconic, and non-coded iconic messages of this image help to examine the practice of interpreting meaning from images as well as to understand and appreciate the overall intended message.

The words, "fight off your demons" incorporated into this image, signify the linguistic meaning. To a person with little background knowledge of where these words specifically come from, noting that the word "demon" is present in those lyrics may conjure images of hell, demonic spirits, and other negative aspects of religion. However, a person who recognizes the lyrics from the band "Brand New", will have a very contrasting understanding of the words. For example, that person may visualize the band and concerts attended, or begin to hear songs in their head. These lyrics bring a dark tone to the image. One can conceive the meaning to be that a person should be strong and get through their personal struggles. Essentially, it means to survive. The linguistic meaning of an image can be very powerful, and can alter or emphasize the meaning of an image. In this case, the linguistic aspect supports and takes the overall meaning even further.

Looking into the coded iconic messages of this image, one would first notice the color red. The entirety of the image is shades of grey, black, and white, except for the one red symbol, the red cross. The red cross represents health, help, and more negatively may indicate an injury or that something is not right. Although the cross is red, it may still be perceived as a christian cross, which retains the intended meaning of music as a religion and savior. Additionally, the image of the musician also adds to the effect of the image. The musician is Jesse Lacey, the lead singer of Brand New. Here, he is positioned almost at the center of the cross which may portray him as somewhat of a religious figure such as Jesus on the holy cross. Without background knowledge of this artist, one may presume that the photo is a random singer and that the musician and the linguistic aspect of the image are independent of each other, whereas a person who is familiar with Jesse Lacey, may interpret the image a bit differently, understanding that the words "fight off your demons" are his own. This significantly alters one's perception of the image and it's messages. Coded iconic messages are particularly useful because they allow a message to be conveyed in a concise yet pleasurable way.

Without the linguistic and coded iconic messages, non-coded iconic messages don't mean very much. A red cross, a musician, and four simple words. Separately, they are all non-coded iconic messages which mean literally what they look like. However, once the images are combined in a certain way, and are analyzed as a whole and interpreted symbolically, the image becomes much more than just pictures. Particularly, this image becomes an idea that music is medicine, religion, salvation, or simply a way of getting through life. Jesse Lacey as a symbol of Jesus Christ on the cross, with the words "fight off your demons," provides an inspirational message to followers of Brand New that they can overcome any obstacles in life and figuratively, fight off their demons. This image conveys a similar message of music as a healer of the soul to people lacking knowledge of Brand New. After all, as the old adage says, a picture is worth a thousand words.


Due to it's simplistic form and lack of originality (it's very similar to an ordinary plus sign), the red cross symbol may not be copyrighted, therefore making it freely available for use.
Album Art from user "Chris Cunha" myspace.
Anonymous quote sent in by "Santiz" on

Brief Description: 

Music is a big part of the world, and most people appreciate it and have certain bands, artists, and musicians that they listen to, but music is more than just something to enjoy for me. It is a really big part of my life. Without it, I don't think I'd be the same person I am today, and I would definitely be in a much worse place right now. Brand New has been my favorite band since about 6th or 7th grade and they have gotten me through the worst of times, and this image is my expression of that. It illustrates how music has impacted my life and kept me going when nothing else could.


Really great essay and image. The essay really outlines what the image represents, and helps to find deeper layers of meaning that may not be apparent at first. Only a couple of things:
~ I love that you started with a quote. Just wondering whether we need to cite quotes? Might need to ask Whalen bout that because i'm not sure!
~ The starting sentence of the 2nd to last paragraph: "Exploration into the coded iconic messages that the image conveys, one would first notice the color red. " This could be a little smoother, I think because of the use of the word exploration?
Good job lauren! =)

Your analysis was very effective in interpreting your image. I really didn't know what the image was about so that was very useful. While your analysis was great, I think maybe you could add something about what this image means personally to you, or why it's significant enough for you to choose it as your image. You talk about what it could mean to certain people but not really what it means to you.

it's a really good juxtaposition of the three images. I like the way the red is really the accent color and just POPS at your with the words because faded out and Jesse's picture existing in black and white. I think you did a really good job because the words don't really act as an explanation, and maybe it's because I know what they mean, but they stand as an image on their own.

I like both your essay and your analysis of the image, but I would suggest citing where the quote that starts your essay. Otherwise, I found little fault with your essay, and the image itself is very evocative.

Thank you very much. I agree, and I wanted to cite the quote, but it's anonymous. It doesn't say who wrote it. Do you think that I should cite the website it's from anyway in the attributions?

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