Lucia Y. Lu1 and Liana H. Zhou
In this case study research, the authors conceptualized hermeneutics and semiotics into the inquiry of poetry. They invited the graduate students in a reading course to read and to interpret poems. The Sick Rose was one of the six poems in this study. Hermeneutics is the interpretation of poetry, and semiotics is the exploration of the meaning of poems through signs. Readers from diverse racial, cultural, linguistic, and religious backgrounds read the poems, transacted their life experiences with the poems, and constructed signs such as drawing, music, dance, drama, culture modes, and storytelling to interpret the poems. Coincidentally, “feminism” became an outstanding theme in most readers’ responses to a poem, The Sick Rose by the English poet William Blake. This study shifted to the focus of breaking myths about gender role stereotypes, activating readers’ gender consciousness, and advocating women’s rights for social justice towards a world of understanding and equality.