Welcome to HaNuel Lee's wiki.Edit

On this wiki, I will make a description about what an icon is and research using both outside and inner class sources.



What do you think about the skull icon? Usually, the skull icon, makes people think about pirates or Halloween. But people see this icon in many places. The skull icon shows warning in many different places. When people see the icon, the signified, meaning, can be expressed, by looking at the signifier. Because icons became a type of language, like alphabets, without conscious thinking, we confuss our signified from the signifier, the icon. “Even though the written word C-A-T looks nothing like a cat, and the spoken word “cat” sounds nothing like a cat sounds, when someone says the word out loud, you’re able to conjure up an image.” Like this text,from “When Did We Become Mentally Modern?”, written by Alix Spiegel, the skull doesn’t look like a warning, but we can feel the idea inside of our body. If we look around our environment, the skull doesn’t necessarily have these common meanings, but the icon, usually has these basic meanings. The skull icon has come to be known as symbol for death, danger, and warning from the 1700s, in Spain.

History, Etymology, and UsageEdit

File:Pirate Flags Of History

“The history of the skull and crossbones symbol dates back to the 1700s, when the entrances to Spanish cemeteries were marked with actual human skulls and bones. This ‘campo Santo’ practice led to the symbol being associated with death. The sign was engraved on tombstones across the Europe.” from meaning of skull and cross bone symbol, explained that as the time passed, many different groups recreated the symbol. Nuestra Señora del Pilar church changed the icon to label poison containers. The skull sign was labeled with XXX, showing that this contents were harmful and toxic. This was not only used by the church members. Even in present days, this icon is still used with same signified, showing danger. The pirates of Europe started to use the skull sign to show their existence, and to warn other ships in the sea. Many people still think the skull icon is a sign of pirates. By many drawings and fictional stories it became a big part of their identities. After pirates used the skull sign for an icon to show their identities, many social groups started to use the skull icon to show their existence and for people to remember them easier and quicker without thinking. This could be because the pirates knew that humans are scared of death, and the people who have started to use the icon know that fear. Their symbol was smart enough to think about psychology. Because they used the fact that humans have fear about death, they made the fear a part of their identity, by using this icon. This extra somatic knowledge is defined as, “information stored outside our bodies, of which writing is the most notable example.” In the introduction to Carl Sagan’s Dragons of Eden like stories and legends that were passed by many generations have made us to think that the skull sign is a part of their identity.

Key ConceptEdit

The key concepts behind the skull icon are warning, danger, death and toxicity. Most of the key concepts are closely related to history from the 1700s until present time. The skull in the Spanish cemeteries showed the death, by putting the actual skull and bone to show that people are dead. In my opinion, this concept is closely related to other concepts because the warnings are expressing the danger, which means the contents are dangerous enough that they could cause death. This sign has developed as the time passed, and it became the sign of danger and toxicity. When the icon started to develop, it turned into a symbol that was warning for people. The warning theme started from pirate flags. The black flag, with skull, warned the ships and fishing men to avoid attacks from the pirates. As the pirate flags became famous, the legends about pirates and their flags were reshaped by many different cultures.

My Skull Icon in FictionEdit


The skull icon is used in fiction with different meanings. In the movie, The Pirates of Caribbean, the skull serves as the symbol for the pirates in the sea. One of the pirates said, “Where is the flag? We are going on a war!” This quote shows that the pirates use the flag as their identity. In the play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the skull is used to show the longing of Hamlet for his friend, who has already died. When Hamlet picked up the skull, he has said, “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him…” Skulls are shown in many ways in the fiction. The meaning of the skull icon often changes, depending on the author’s opinion and culture.

My Skull Icon in Non FictionEdit


Skull icons are also used in nonfiction. It is used as the pirate flag in Pirates Flags, to give more information about pirate signs. The article summarized that the pirates’ flags made the ships easier to distinguish the pirate ship from other friendly ships. In the New York Times, a skull is used in scientific way, as a part of a body of an organism. The article says, “A primate skull unearthed outside of Mecca is the closest common ancestor to apes and old world monkeys and helps to date the split” the skull doesn’t only express abstract ideas, but it can also express the meaning from the science book around you.


In my opinion, the skull icon expresses the dark side of the world and it is interesting to know how the skull signs became a sign of death. Carlota Carrillo, from the 9th grade, commented, “'cool, punks us it to express their darkness!” with a smile. Ji Eun Lee, my sister, said with a stressed face, “When I think about skulls, I have fears, because I am scared of skull, because the skull symbolizes death, I am scared to be one of those skulls in the movies.” I agree with the chapter 2 of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, because it says, “An icon can be simplified without many details, but it still can express many different meanings in the icon.” What do you think about the skull icon? Has your thought changed?

Bibliography and External LinksEdit


Etymology and evolution

Non Fiction

External Link

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