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English 20 Poetic Devices / Figurative Language

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Danielle Unger

on 8 May 2016

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Transcript of English 20 Poetic Devices / Figurative Language

Poetic Devices / Figurative Language
Alliteration
The repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of two or more words.

Consonants are any letter that is NOT a vowel:
a, e, i, o, u
Assonance
The repetition of vowel sounds (anywhere in the word)

Vowels are:
a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y

Example:
"Rise high in the bright sky"
repeats the long vowel /i/
Hyperbole
An exaggeration or overstatement used to emphasize a point, evoke (create) strong feelings and illustrate a stronger image.

Example:
I was bored to death.
My backpack weighed a ton.
Imagery
A strong description using vivid language to paint a picture that the reader can visualize.

Appeals to the senses (see, hear, taste, touch/feel, smell)

Example:
There was blood and guts
But here's what really got me:
he had pretty eyes
and they glistened still

from "Squished Squirrel Poem"
by Ralph Fletcher
Similes
Metaphors
Comparing two unlikely things.

Unlike a simile, you are saying that something IS another thing.

Example:
The poet is a bird "Soaring high, / Up into the / Limitless sky."

From "The Bird"
by Ernesto Santiago


Onomatopoeia
The use of words that sound like what they mean.



Example:
It SHUSHES
It hushes
The loudness in the road.
It flitter-twitters,

From "Cynthia in the Snow"
by Gwendolyn Brooks
Personification
Giving human qualities to something that is:
inanimate (not alive)
abstract (thoughts and feelings)
nonhuman (animals)

Example:
But I pictured my lost poems / scurrying on little feet
from "Lost Poems" by Ralph Fletcher
Repetition
Repeating a sound, word, phrase, line, or stanza in a poem

Repetition is used to:
Emphasize something that is important
Clarify (or make clearer) certain ideas
Help make a poem visually attractive
Create a better rhythm or flow in the poem
Establish meaning




Example:

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

from "Do not go gentle into that good night"
by Dylan Thomas
Rhyme
Two or more words that end in the same sound.

A
rhyme scheme
is the pattern of the rhyming lines.
(ex: ABAB, ABBA, ABCABC)

He gives his harness bells a shake
A
To ask if there is some mistake.
A

The only other sound's the sweep
B
Of easy wind and downy flake.
A

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.
B
But I have promises to keep,
B
And miles to go before I sleep.
B
And miles to go before I sleep.
B

from "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"
by Robert Frost

Example:
P
eter
P
iper
p
icked a
p
eck of
p
ickled
p
eppers;

A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked;
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,

Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
Comparing two unlike things using like, as, than, etc...

Example:
I was as hungry as a bear.

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?

from "A Dream Deferred"
by Langston Hughes
Consonance
The repetition of consonant sounds, especially at the
end
of a word, but can occur anywhere.
Examples:
He stru
ck
a strea
k
of bad lu
ck
.
P
i
tt
er,
p
a
tt
er

"Rap re
j
e
c
ts
my tape de
ck
,
e
j
e
c
ts pro
j
e
c
tile
Whether
J
ew or
g
en
tile
"
from Zealots by the Fugees
Comparisons
The following are all examples of comparisons: hyperbole, simile, metaphor, personification, allusion.

These are also used in extended form (over many lines). When this happens they are called Extended or Sustained Comparisons (extended/sustained metaphor, etc.)
Sound Effects
The following are included in sounds effects: alliteration, consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, rhyme, slant rhyme, feminine rhyme, internal rhyme.
Slant Rhyme (near or imperfect)
When stressed words seem to rhyme, but not exactly, as in rhyming “streets” with “cheap” and “heat”, or “blush” with “robust”.
For example:
The chimes of his keys will chatter in halls until the dawn’s cheeks blush. / His nametag will be accurate, his hounds on their leash robust.
Feminine Rhyme
Rhyming two syllables, rather than just one (also called “double rhyme”)
For example:
Spies who call themselves her betters / find and take away her letters. / Uncountered and unchidden, / nothing from them remains hidden. / They bring her to her knees / through love’s utmost treacheries
Internal Rhyme
Rhyming of two words within the same line of poetry. The following, for example, is from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” :
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, 

PLAYING WITH MEANING: Puns, Allusion, Verbal Irony, Paradox
Puns
Exploiting the multiple meanings of words - this is a play on words.
Last night I dreamt / I was little again and / I could hear back then, / but the silence in my house / was deafening
Allusion
Referring (often subtly) to something from history, mythology, or literature, that you expect your audience to know. This is also a comparison technique.
I wanna follow the footsteps of Che and hear the truth about the day the CIA killed Lumumba
Verbal Irony
When what your words literally say is the opposite of the actual meaning they convey.
Thanks for a nation to despoil and poison / Thanks for a country where nobody’s allowed to mind his own business / Thanks for a nation of finks
Paradox
A sentence that seems to contradict itself, but is also true at the same time.
Prematurely post-traumatic / and I have a love child who sends me hate mail
Other Devices
Parallelism
When the components of a sentence are grammatically the same, or when the repetition of a phrase to build balance. Its all about balance (you can use this in your essays too!)
“What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?”
"The Tyger" by William Blake
Figurative language is used to paint a picture in the reader's mind.
Out in the bay, treacherous currents sizzle and leap among the underlying rocks with the relentless (1) purpose of a hungry dragon. Which unsuspecting ship will be (2) on the menu today? (3) Like a spoiled child, the waves demand (4) their favourite meal, the creaking timbers of a vessel too weak to escape the (5) cruel, crunching (6) jaws of the ravenously hungry sea.

Identify the devices used and explain their purpose.
Synechdoche
The naming of one part of something to stand for the whole thing, or of a whole thing to stand for a part.
A common example is a country name representing a team. Another example is the pen is mightier than the sword.
Metonymy
The use of something associated with a second thing to stand for that second thing. The association can be arbitrary, as long as it is widely understood.

For example: It's good to see some new faces around the room. This is often visual - calendar pages falling to show the passing of time.
Emotional Appeal
When the writer appeals to a certain emotion.
Appealing to emotions is a way to sway the reader to accept the speaker's point of view. We see this a lot in advertising.

For example: if you care about the Earth...
If you inoculate your children, they will be safe.
Cacophony
A harsh, unpleasant combination of sounds or tones. It may be an unconscious flaw in the poet’s music, resulting in harshness of sound of difficulty of articulation, or it may be used consciously for effect.

“Lick, crack, sick, hack. The beggar harried her open back.
Crash, bang, clang!!
We want no parlay with you and your grisly gang who work your wicked will.” -- Winston Churchill

Function: An author may use the unpleasant sounds of a cacophony to communicate or invoke negative
emotions such as disgust, distress or fear. It may also consist of “nonsense” words that cause discordance of
sound and awkward alliteration.

Rules:
1. Harsher sounds include the "plosives" (b, d, hard g, k, p, t)
Euphony
A style in which combinations of words pleasant to the ear predominate; opposite of cacophony.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
--To Autumn, by John Keats

Purpose: Euphony is used by authors to bring about pleasant, peaceful feelings in the reader. It puts the reader at ease and makes the poem or piece of literature enjoyable to read. Long vowels are used in euphony because they are more melodious than consonants and short vowels; making the euphony soothing and harmonious. The enunciation and pronunciation are easy and agreeable.
Rules:
1. Long vowels: though all vowels tend to be more melodious than consonants, long vowels (e.g. "moon," "coat," "crate,") resonate in the ear more than the short vowels found in "hat," "tin," "fun," "shed," or "hot"
2. Consonants that are fairly euphonious:
A. The "liquids " (l, m, n, r)
B. Soft f or v sounds
C. The semi-vowels w or y
D. th or wh
Answers
1. Metaphor
2. Metaphor
3. Simile
4. Metaphor/Personification
5. Alliteration/Cacophony
6. Metaphor
7. Personification
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