"I've never asked for a promise before, because promises are forever, and forever is an unusually long time when you're in a cage."
"Domain," I correct.
Ruby and Ivan: p. 165
"Ruby taps her trunk against the rusty iron bars of her door. 'Do you think,' she asks, 'that I'll die in this domain someday, like Aunt Stella?'
Once again I consider lying, but when I look at Ruby, the half-formed words die in my throat. 'Not if I can help it,' I say instead.
I felt something tighten in my chest, something dark and hot. 'And it's not a domain,' I add.
I pause and then I say it. 'It's a cage.'"
At the beginning of the story the author defines a domain as a territory. A cage is defined as a structure of bars or wires in which birds or other animals are confined.
There are connotative and denotative meanings to these words, similar to the way that the words "house" and "home" have different meanings. The connotative meaning of “home” is a place of security, comfort, and family. When Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz says, “There’s no place like home,” she’s not referring to its denotation, but the emotions “home” evokes for her and most people. A denotative meaning is the literal meaning of a word, the dictionary version. Remember this because Denotative/Dictionary are both "D" words. Connotative meanings involve shared feelings and emotions that the words carries with it.
Although "cage" may be a synonym for "domain", it has a different connotative meaning. In the examples from The One and Only Ivan, does the word "cage" have a positive, negative, or neutral connotation? What is the connotative meaning of cage? Earlier in the story Ivan corrected Bob when he called their "domain" a "cage". Now Ivan has changed his thinking, and he is correcting Ruby. What do you think has caused him to change the way he feels about his "home"?
Watch this video about connotative and denotative word meanings. Can you make a better video explaining connotative and denotative word meanings using "cage" and "domain" as examples?