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Transcript of Rhetorical Devices
Anecdote – A short personal story; also a fantastic, engaging way to start an essay.
Anecdote is defined as a short and interesting story or an amusing event most often used to support or demonstrate some point. Anecdotes can include an extensive range of tales and stories. In fact, it is a short description or an account of any event that
makes the readers think about or connect to the topic presented for the author’s purpose, and in this, you engage your reader's interest.
Alliteration is the repetition of initial sounds in a group of words: Tommy towed the tiny truck to the town dump.
atal loins of these two
A pair of star-cross’d
overs take their
ife.” Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet"
Alliteration has a very vital role in poetry and prose.
It creates a musical effect in
the text that enhances the pleasure of reading a literary piece.
It makes reading
and recitation of the poems attractive and appealing; thus, making them easier to
learn by heart. Furthermore,
it renders flow and beauty to a piece of writing.
In the marketing industry, alliteration makes the brand names interesting and easier to
remember. This literary device is helpful in attracting customers and enhancing sales.
e.g. Dunkin' Donuts, Coca-Cola, Krispy Kreme
Rhetorical devices are the writing tools and mechanisms an author uses to develop a specific strategy.
Rhetorical Devices/Figures of Speech
Allusion is an indirect reference to another idea, person, place, event, artwork, etc.
to enhance the meaning of work
in which it appears. Allusions can be
mythological, biblical, historical, literary, political, or contemporary. The
assumes the audience will have knowledge of the item to which he or she refers
The killer wore the mark of Cain as he stalked his brother.
By and large, the use of
allusions enables writers to simplify complex ideas and emotions. The readers comprehend the complex ideas by comparing the experiences of the writer to the references given by them.
“I do not approve of this quixotic idea.”
Quixotic means stupid and impractical derived from Cervantes’s “Don Quixote,”
a story of a foolish knight and his misadventures.
The rise in poverty will unlock the Pandora’s box of crimes.
This is an allusion to one of Greek Mythology’s origin myths, “Pandora’s box”.
Apostrophe is a device or figure of speech that is most frequently found in poetry.
When a writer employs apostrophe, he or she speaks directly to an abstract person, idea, ideal or something imaginary.
"Be with me Beauty, for the fire is dying." W.B Yeats
“Oh! Stars and clouds and winds, ye are all about to mock me; if ye really pity me, crush sensation and memory; let me become as nought; but if not, depart, depart, and leave me in darkness.” Mary Shelley, Frankenstein How?
By employing apostrophe in their literary works,
writers try to bring abstract ideas or non-existent persons to life so that the nature of emotions they want to communicate gets across more clearly
– because it is more convenient for the readers to relate themselves to the abstract emotions when they observe them in
their natural surroundings. In addition, the use of apostrophe motivates the readers to develop a perspective that is fresh as well as creative.
A literary device like antithesis uses words to convey ideas in different ways from the common
words and expressions of daily life.
Thus, it conveys meaning more vividly than ordinary speech.
When contrasting ideas are brought together, the idea is expressed more emphatically.
As a literary device, antithesis makes contrasts in order to examine pros and cons of a subject
under discussion and helps to bring forth judgment on that particular subject.
Antithesis is two opposing ideas presented in a parallel manner.
Antithesis, literally meaning opposite, is a rhetorical device in which
two opposite ideas are put together in a sentence to achieve a contrasting effect.
“To err is human; to forgive divine.” Alexander Pope, "An Essay on Criticism"
Fallibility is a trait of humans and God, his creator, is most forgiving.
Through these antithetical ideas, Pope reveals the basic nature of human beings.
He wants to say that God is forgiving because his creation is erring.
Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing.
Money is the root of all evils: poverty is the fruit of all goodness.
You are easy on the eyes, but hard on the heart.
Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or lines of poetry. Anaphora is a form of parallelism (parallel structure).
Apart from the function of
giving prominence and emphasis to ideas
, the use of
anaphora adds rhythm,
to read and
easier to remember
. As a literary device, anaphora serves the purpose of
furnishing artistic effect
to the passages of prose and poetry.
As a rhetorical device, it is used to
appeal to the emotions of the audience in order to persuade, inspire, motivate and encourage them
not flag or fail.
go on to the end.
fight in France,
fight on the seas and oceans,
fight with growing confidence and growing
strength in the air,
defend our island, whatever the cost may be,
on the beaches,
fight on the landing grounds,
fight in the fields and
in the streets,
fight in the hills.
Asyndeton is the omission of conjunctions between coordinate phrases, clauses, words.
[We] shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend,
oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
“Consciousness of place came ebbing back to him slowly over a vast tract of time unlit,
unfelt, unlived…..” James Joyce,
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Asyndeton helps in speeding up (pacing) the rhythm of words
. Mostly this
technique is employed in speech but can be used in written works too. Asyndeton is
applied often intentionally in order to give a unique emphasis to the text, thereby
drawing the attention of readers towards a particular idea the author wants to
convey, particularly by speeding up the pace.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Synecdoche is a figure of speech that uses a part of something to represent the whole of
"Ed's buddy was in the market for a new set of wheels and wanted Ed's opinion about a particular
model of Lexus." - Douglas T. Kenrick
Take thy face hence. - William Shakespeare
"At midnight I went on deck, and to my mate's great surprise put the ship round on the other tack.
His terrible whiskers fitted round me in silent criticism" Joseph Conrad,
The Secret Sharer
“His eye met hers as she sat there paler and whiter than anyone in the vast ocean of anxious faces
about her." Frank R. Stockton,
The Lady or the Tiger?
Polysyndeton is a stylistic device in which
several conjunctions (mostly
are used in succession in order to achieve a certain stylistic effect.
“Let the whitefolks have their money
lawns like carpets,
mostly–mostly–let them have their
whiteness.” Maya Angelou,
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
“I said, ‘Who killed him?’
he said ‘I don’t know who killed him, but he’s dead all right,’
it was dark
there was water standing in the street
no lights or windows broke
boats all up in the town
trees blown down
everything all blown
I got a skiff
went out and found my boat where I had her inside Mango Key
she was right only
she was full of water.” Ernest Hemingway,
After the Storm
Polysyndeton performs several functions. Not only does
it join words, phrases and clauses and thus bring continuity to a sentence
, but it acts also as a stylistic device,
brings rhythm to the text with the repetition of conjunctions (pacing)
in quick succession. It is also employed as a tool
to emphasize the ideas the conjunctions connect.
is developed by the writers who employ synecdoche in their works. By using synecdoche, a writer gives otherwise common ideas and objects
draws readers’ attention to the symbol
Furthermore, the use of synecdoche helps writers to achieve
. For instance, saying “Soldiers were equipped with steel” is more concise and poetic than saying “The soldiers were equipped with swords, knives, daggers, and guns.” Like any other literary device, synecdoche, when used appropriately,
adds a distinct color to words
making them appear vivid. To insert this “life” factor to literary works, writers describe simple, ordinary things
with the aid of this literary device. If nothing else, synecdoche provides a reader
new way of thinking
about something and
adds creativity to the writing.
Metonymy is a figure of speech in which
the actual subject is represented or
described by an item or characteristic to which it is closely related.
"In a corner, a cluster of lab coats made lunch plans." (Karen Green, Bough Down, 2013)
The ham sandwich left a big tip.
The Oval Office issued a statement today.
“I’m mighty glad Georgia waited till after Christmas before it secedes or it would have ruined
the Christmas parties.”
Gone with the Wind
"He used the events to show Silicon Valley that he was just like them--and that he
understood their financial needs better than the suits on Wall Street." Businessweek, 2003
Metonymy is used to develop
i.e. it gives
more profound meanings to otherwise
common ideas and objects
. By using metonymy, texts exhibit deeper or hidden meanings and thus
draw readers’ attention to the symbol.
The use of metonymy helps achieve
For instance, “Rifles were guarding the gate” is more concise and appealing than
“The guards with rifles in their hands were guarding the gate.” Furthermore, metonymy,
like other literary devices, adds a
poetic color and creativity
to words to make them come to life.
Simple ordinary things are described in a
creative way to insert this “life” factor to literary works
Apostrophe is a rhetorical device that is most frequently found in poetry, but can be found in fiction and non-fiction, too. (Not to be confused with the punctuation mark.)
When a writer uses apostrophe, he or she speaks directly to an abstract or imaginary person, idea, or thing.
"Be with me, Beauty, for the fire is dying." - William Butler Yeats
"Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow! You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout/Till you have drench'd our steeples . . . ." - William Shakespeare, King Lear
“Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.” - James Joyce,
A Portrait of the Artist as Young Man
By employing apostrophe in their literary works, writers try
to bring abstract ideas or non-existent persons
to life so that the nature of emotions they want to communicate gets across more clearly
because it is
more convenient for the readers to relate themselves to the abstract emotions when they observe them
their natural surroundings or as they occur.
In addition, the use of apostrophe motivates readers to
develop a perspective that is fresh as well as creative.
Understatement is the other side of hyperbole. Understatement is a figure of speech employed by writers or speakers
to intentionally make a situation seem less important than it really is, assuming the audience realizes the subject's real significance. Like with hyperbole, understatement can be serious, humorous, sarcastic, or ironic.
After the fireman rescued the entire family of six from the burning home, he replied, "I'm just doing my job."
Having scored a 36 on the ACT, Joanie responed, "I did okay."
Upon their return home, the family found their home had moved over to the next block as a result of the flood that occurred while they were away. Tanner, the eldest son, observed, "It must have rained a little."
"I have to have this operation. It isn't very serious. I have this tiny tumor on the brain." J.D. Salinger,
Catcher in the Rye
When it's 115 degrees in the Valley of the Sun, and someone mutters, "It's warm today."
This is UNDERSTATEMENT
When it dumps 4' of snow overnight, and someone mutters, "I think it snowed." This is UNDERSTATEMENT.
Understatement is a tool that
helps to develop other figures of speech,
such as irony,
by deliberately minimizing the severity when an intense response is expected by the audience
Understatement is an ironic way to help emphasize the severity of a topic.
Litotes is a special
type of understatement
. Used for emphasis or affirmation,
litotes asserts a point by denying the opposite.
I am not as young as I used to be.
This paper is not too bad.
She is not unlike her mother.
Your room is not unclean.
I cannot disagree with your point of view.
“Indeed, it is not uncommon for slaves even to fall out and quarrel among themselves about the relative goodness of their masters, each contending for the superior goodness of his own over that of the others.” - Frederick Douglass
This line has been taken from
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
” He was an African-American social reformer and a writer. He has effectively used litotes to stress that his point that even slaves used to seek dominance over other slaves by stressing the point that their respective masters were much better than those of the other slaves.
ironic understatement in order to emphasize an idea or situation rather than minimizing its importance. It uses a rather unique way to attract people’s attention to an idea and that is by ignoring it.
Oxymoron is a paradoxical image created by using two contradictory terms together.
Oxymoron produces a
dramatic effect in both prose and poetry
. For instance, when we read or hear the famous oxymoron, “sweet sorrow”, crafted by Shakespeare, it appeals to us instantly. It
provokes our thoughts
makes us ponder the meaning of contradicting ideas.
This apparently confusing phrase expresses a complex nature of love that could never be expressed through any other simple expression.
In everyday conversation, however, people do not use oxymoron to make some deep statement like the one mentioned above. Instead, they do it to show wit. The use of
oxymoron adds flavor to their speech.
liquid gas, jumbo shrimp, bittersweet, pretty ugly, seriously funny, original copies, open secret
“Why, then, O
O anything, of nothing first create!
! Serious vanity!
Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health
, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
Dost thou not laugh?” -Shakespeare,
Romeo and Juliet
Epistrophe is the repetition of phrases or words at the end of successive phrases or clauses.
BRUTUS: “Who is here so base that would be a bondman? If any, speak; for him have I
. Who is here so rude that
would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him have I
Who is here so vile that will not love
his country? If any, speak; for him have I
….” William Shakespeare,
“Then I’ll be all aroun’ in the dark. I’ll be ever’where – wherever you look. Wherever they’s a fight so
hungry people can eat, I’ll be
. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be
. . . . . An’ when
our folk eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build – why, I’ll be
…..” John Steinbeck,
The Grapes of Wrath
“The big sycamore by the creek was
. The willow tangle was
. The little enclave of untrodden
. The clump of dogwood on the little rise across the creek–now that, too, was
Robert Penn Warren,
Flood: A Romance of Our Time
The rhetorical function of this stylistic device is to give a
striking emphasis to an idea
, a thought or a passage.
The repetition helps in
making the words memorable and pleasurable
due to the regular
Also, it furnishes the
both in prose as well as in poetry. In addition, it lends rhythm to the text
appeals to the emotions of the readers
The term paradox is from the Greek word "paradoxon"
that means contrary to expectations
existing belief, or perceived opinion.
paradox appears to be self-contradictory or silly statement but usually contains some truth.
Paradox is used to
illustrate an opinion or statement contrary to traditional ideas and to make a reader THINK about an idea in an innovative way. A paradox is a statement that APPEARS to contradict itself BUT in reality holds some truth or profound observation.
Truth is honey which is bitter. Anonymous
“I can resist anything but temptation.” Oscar Wilde
“What a pity that youth must be wasted on the young.” George Bernard Shaw
"I must be cruel to be kind." William Shakespeare, "Hamlet"
"Childhood is the father of man." William Wordsworth
“Why is paradox used when a message can be conveyed in a straightforward and simple manner?” The answer lies in the nature and purpose of writing. One function of writing is to make the readers
. Often readers enjoy more when they extract the hidden meanings out of the writing rather than something presented to them in an uncomplicated manner. Thus, the chief purposes of a paradox is
to give pleasure.
In poetry, paradox can be an
integral part of the diction and contribute to the tone.
Induction is a conclusion reached through reasoning/thinking.
An inductive statement is derived using facts and instances which lead to
the formation of a general opinion
. Though all the facts upon which the conclusion is based are true, there is still a chance of the conclusion reached being false. This type of reasoning goes
from specific facts to a general statement
Inductive reasoning requires reliable and powerful evidence that is presented to support the point.
“This marble from the bag is black. That marble from the bag is black. A third marble from the bag is black. Therefore all the marbles in the bag are black.”
“All the kids in the park can jump; therefore, her kid can jump also.”
“Around 80 percent of the girls wore heels, Jane is a girl. Therefore, she wore heels.”
Induction is used
what may happen in the future and
establish a possibility
may happen next
. Inductive statements allow you to establish probability and prepare
accordingly. At the same time, they also allow you to argue a point without having to actually
prove the fact.
They can only prove right or wrong following further research and observation
Inductive statements are used in everyday life as well. In fact, we all use inductive statements in everyday life to prove our point when talking about the weather, about persons and even general situations.
Deductive reasoning involves making
a generalization at the initial stage and then moving toward the specific case
. The starting generalization must be based on reliable evidence to support it at the end.
The process of logic in which a thinker takes a rule for a large, general category and assumes that specific individual examples fitting within that general category obey the same rule.
For instance, a general rule might be that "Objects made of iron rust." When the thinker/logician then encounters a shovel made of iron sitting in the rain, s/he can assume deductively that the shovel made of iron will also rust just as other iron objects do. This example moves from a general rule to a specific example.
Logos is a Greek word meaning logic.
Logos is an argument strategy that can be defined as a statement, sentence or argument used to convince or persuade the targeted audience by employing reason or logic.
In everyday life, arguments depend upon pathos and ethos besides logos. Logos mostly employs the utilization of inductive and deductive reasoning methods to be effective. There are many examples of logos in literature and in debates.
All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Therefore, Socrates is mortal. Aristotle,
The Art of Rhetoric
Aristotle is using syllogistic arguments here, where some of the arguments or assertions remain unstated. Since, Socrates is a man therefore, he is mortal; all men are mortal so eventually they will die. This is the logic presented here.
The wage system has made people believe that what a man needs is work. This, of course, is absurd. What he needs is the goods produced by work, and the less work involved in making a given amount of goods, the better…… But owing to our economic system…where a better system would produce only an increase of wages or a diminution in the hours of work without any corresponding diminution of wages. Bertrand Russell, Political Ideals
In this paragraph, Russell is presenting arguments for the unjust distribution of wealth and its consequences. He gives the answer through logic and states that a reason for this injustice is due to evils in institutions. His deduction is that capitalism and the wage system should be abolished to improve the economic system.
Logos is used in citing facts (e.g. statistics and REAL examples
.) It is something through which inner thoughts are presented in a logical way before the audience for persuasion. In society, rationality and logic are greatly valued and this type of convincing approach is generally honored more than appeals made by a speaker or character to the audience.
In rhetoric, ethos r
epresents the credibility of the speaker or the shared value system of the speaker and the audience. Writers use ethical appeals to persuade audience members.
confirms the credibility of a writer
or a speaker and thus
they become trustworthy
in the eyes of listeners and readers who as a result are persuaded by their arguments. Ethos of a speaker or a writer is
created largely by the choice of words h
e or she makes in order to convince listeners or readers.
Being an expert on the subject matter
that a speaker or a writer chooses
determines his or her ethos.
“If his years as a soldier taught him anything, it’s that caution is the best policy in this sort of situation.”
“My three decades of experience in public service, my tireless commitment to the people of this
community, and my willingness to reach across the aisle and cooperate with the opposition,
make me the ideal candidate for your mayor.”
“Doctors all over the world recommend this type of treatment.”
“Our expertise in roofing contracting is evidenced not only by our 100 years in the business and our
staff of qualified technicians, but in the decades of satisfied customers who have come to expect
nothing but the best.”
Aristotle divided persuasion (appeals) into three distinct categories: ethos, pathos and logos:
"Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. [...]
Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech is so spoken
as to make us think him credible.”
Pathos is a quality of an experience in life or a work of art that
stirs up emotions of pity, sympathy and sorrow or even the opposite of those feelings.
Pathos can be expressed through words, pictures or even with gestures of the body.
Pathos is a method of convincing people with an argument drawn out through an emotional response. Writers use pathos in order to appeal to the audience's shared emotions in order to get the audience to react. It is an appeal to emotion.
“If we do not leave this place soon, we will end up yelling for help. We do not see anyone to help us here. So, leave this place and live”- the statement evokes emotions of fear.
“Made in USA” logo on various products tries to enhance their sales by evoking patriotism among the customers.
Ads encouraging donations show small children living in poverty try to evoke pity in people to urge them to donate for the cause.
Referring to a country as “motherland” stirs up patriotic feelings in individuals living in that country or state.
“He had meant the best in the world, and been treated like a dog—like a very dog. She would be sorry someday—maybe when it was too late. Ah, if he could only die TEMPORARILY!” Mark Twain,
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
We humans are emotional beings and writers know it very well. They introduce pathos in their works to touch upon our delicate emotions, as pity, sympathy, sorrow and, consequently, try to develop
an emotional connection or response with readers
In addition, emotions are part of real life. Thus, by giving pathos expression in their works, writers bring their narratives, characters and themes
closer to real life
. Furthermore, the use of pathos by a debater in an argument appeals to people emotionally,
making it a tool to convince people and change their opinions.
Deductive argument: an argument whose premises make its conclusion certain
Inductive argument: an argument whose premises make its conclusion likely
: The soccer game is on either Thursday or Friday. I just found out that the game is
on Thursday, so the game must be on Friday.
: January has always been cold here in Siberia. Today is January 14, so it is going to be another cold day in Siberia.
15 minutes of uninterrupted reading of
The Kite Runner. (No, you may not go to the bathroom.)
colloquialism is the use of informal words, phrases or even slang in a piece of writing.
Writers, being part of a
society, are influenced by the way people speak in that society. Naturally, they are bound to add colloquial expressions to their
vocabulary. However, writers use such expressions intentionally too as it gives their works a
sense of realism
. For instance,
in a fiction story depicting American society, a greeting “what’s up?” between friends will seem more real and appropriate
than the formal “How are you?” or “How do you do?”
Colloquial expressions vary from region to region. Below is a list of some colloquialism examples of American origin:
a bunch of numpties – a group of idiots to bamboozle – to deceive go bananas – go insane or be very angry
wanna – want to gonna – going to y’all – you all
go nuts – go insane or be very angry look blue -look sad buzz off – go away
Mark Twain in
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
used Black American and Southern vernacular and colloquialisms
“I didn’t want to go back
. I had stopped cussing, because the widow didn’t like it; but now I
took to it again
pap got too handy with his hick’ry
, and I could’t stand it. I
was all over
He got to going away so much, too, and locking me in. Once he locked me in and was gone three days. It was
e.” Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Colloquial expressions, in a piece of literature,
may give us deep insights into the writer’s society.
They tell us about how people really
talk in their real life. Therefore, they help a writer to
form strong connections with readers
. Colloquial expressions
impart a sense of
realism to a piece of literature
which again attracts readers as they
identify it with their real life.
Moreover, they add variety to the
characters which makes them more interesting and memorable and believable and real.
Satire is a technique employed by writers to expose and criticize foolishness or corruption of an individual or a society by using humor, irony, exaggeration or ridicule.
It intends to improve society or practices by criticizing its follies and foibles.
A writer may direct a satire toward a person, a country, an industry, or even the entire world. A satire is a comical piece of writing which makes fun of an individual or a society to expose its stupidity or shortcomings. With satire, the hope is those under critique will improve by overcoming their weaknesses or initiate change.
The role of satire is to
ridicule or criticize those elements of society, which the writer considers a threat or have a negative effect on people
. The writer considers it his obligation to expose these shortcomings for the betterment of society. Therefore, the function of satire is
to make others
persons or ideas they make fun of. The purpose of satire is much greater than getting a few laughs: Satire intends to warn the public and to change their opinions about the prevailing corruption/conditions in society in a humorous way that makes a strong point.
Prose is a form of language that has no formal metrical structure. It applies a natural flow of speech, and ordinary grammatical structure rather than rhythmic structure, such as in the case of traditional poetry.
Ordinary writing and speech; writing and speech other than poetry.
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” 1984 – George Orwell
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
“You can see that there is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass
through the valley of the shadow (of death) again and again before we reach the mountain tops of our desires.” – Nelson Mandela
“The poor are very great people. They can teach us so many beautiful things.” – Mother Teresa
It is the standard style of writing used for most spoken dialogues, fictional as well as
topical and factual writing and discourse. It is also the common language used in
newspapers, magazines, literature, encyclopedias, broadcasting, philosophy, law, history,
the sciences and many other forms of communication.
Aphorism is a statement of truth or opinion expressed in a concise and (sometimes) witty manner.
The term is often applied to philosophical, moral, and literary principles.
To qualify as an aphorism, it is necessary for a statement to contain a truth revealed in a terse (serious)
manner. Aphoristic statements are quoted in writings as well as in our daily speech. The fact that they contain
a truth gives them
a universal acceptance
. Scores of philosophers, politicians, writers, artists, and athletes
and other individuals are remembered for their famous aphoristic statements.
Aphorisms often come with a pinch of humor, which makes them more appealing to the masses. Proverbs,
maxims, adages and clichés
are different forms of aphoristic statements that gain prevalence from generation
to generation and frequently appear in our day-to-day speech.
"Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise." - Alice Walker
"Your children need your presence more than your presents." - Jesse Jackson
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night, 1961
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Voltaire, 1759
"Some of them are good and some of them are bad." - Matthew Baca, 2016
Making use of aphorisms allows a writer to
teach a philosophical or moral truth.
The revealed truths prove
relevant to human experiences of real life
. Therefore, the readers
relate the piece of literature to real life
and become more vigilant in their reading.
Jargon is the use of specific phrases and words by writers in a particular situation, profession, or trade. These specialized terms are used to convey meanings accepted and understood in that field.
On August 2008, 19 individuals brought a
punitive class action lawsuit
in the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Facebook and the companies that had participated in Beacon,
federal and state privacy laws
comprised only those individuals whose personal information had been obtained and disclosed by Beacon during the approximately one-month period in which the program’s default setting was opt out rather than opt in. The
complaint sought damages and various forms of equitable relief
, including an
injunction barring the defendants
from continuing the program.
Jargon seems unintelligible to the people who do not know the meanings. Examples of jargon
used in literature are used to emphasize a situation or to refer to something exotic to the
readers or audience. In fact, the use of jargon in literature shows the dexterity of the writer of
having knowledge of other fields. Writers use jargon to make a certain character a real
one in fiction as well as in plays and poetry.
Juxtaposition is a technique in which
two or more ideas, places, characters and their actions are placed side by side for the purpose of developing comparisons and contrasts. Two things placed side by side for compare and contrast.
In literature, juxtaposition is a useful device for writers to portray their characters in great detail to create suspense. It is a human quality to comprehend one thing easily by comparing it to another. Therefore, a writer can make readers sense “goodness” in a particular character by placing him or her side by side to a character that is predominantly “evil.” Consequently, goodness in one character is highlighted by evil in the other character. Juxtaposition in this case is useful in the development of characters.
In Paradise Lost, Milton uses juxtaposition to draw a parallel between the two protagonists, Satan and God, who he discusses by placing their traits in comparison with one another to highlight their differences.
“O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear;” Will.I.am Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Writers use juxtaposition in order to surprise their readers and evoke their interest by means of
developing a comparison between
two dissimilar things by placing them side by side
The comparison adds vividness to a given image, controls pacing of a poem or a narrative
and provides a logical connection between two various concepts.
Metaphor is a figure of speech which makes an implied or hidden comparison between two dissimilar things but have some characteristics common between them.
In other words, a resemblance of two contradictory or different objects is made based on a single or some common characteristics. Be on the lookout for the extended metaphor!!!
When you portray a person, place, thing, or an action as being something else, even though it is not actually that “something else,” you are speaking metaphorically.
"Language is a road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going." - Rita Mae Brown
"There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you."
J.K. Rowling, "The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination," June 2008
Using appropriate metaphors appeals
directly to the senses of listeners or readers,
sharpening their imaginations
what is being communicated to them. Moreover, it gives a life-like quality to our conversations and to the characters of the fiction or poetry. Metaphors are also ways of thinking,
offering the listeners and the readers fresh ways of examining ideas and viewing the world.
an exaggeration of ideas for the sake of emphasis.
It is a device that we employ in our day-to-day speech. For instance, when you meet a friend after a long time, you say, “Ages have passed since I last saw you.” You may not have seen her for three or four hours or a day, but the use of the word “ages” exaggerates this statement to add emphasis to your wait. Therefore, hyperbole is an unreal exaggeration to emphasize the real situation.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I've been to Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and I can say without hyperbole that this is a million times worse than all of them put together." - (Kent Brockman, The Simpsons)
"A whole morning could be spent just getting the laces on your sneakers right since all sneakers in the 1950s had more than seven dozen lace holes and the laces were fourteen feet long. Each morning, you would jump out of bed to find that the laces had somehow become four feet longer on one side of the shoe than the other."
- Bill Bryson, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Broadway Books, 2006
We use hyperbole to emphasize for an amusing effect.
In literature it has very serious implications. By using hyperbole, a writer
makes common human feelings remarkable and intense to such an extent that they do not remain ordinary.
In literature, usage of
hyperbole develops contrasts
. When one thing is described with
an over-statement and the other thing is presented normally, a striking contrast is developed. This technique is employed to catch the reader’s attention.
Parallelism is the use of components in a sentence that are grammatically the same or similar in their construction, sound, meaning or meter (rhythm).
This method adds balance and rhythm to sentences and thus can be persuasive because of the repetition. For example, “Alice ran into the room, into the garden, and into our hearts.” We see the repetition of a phrase that not only gives the sentence a balance but rhythm as well. This repetition can also occur in similar structured clauses e.g. “Whenever you need me, wherever you need me, I will be there for you.”
The use of parallel structures in speech or writing allows speakers and writers to
maintain a consistency within their work and create a balance in their ideas.
Moreover, it can be employed as a tool for
as well because of the
it uses. Think political speeches.
"When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative." - Martin Luther King, Jr., Why We Can't Wait, 1964
"Some of the people said that the elephant had gone in one direction, some said that he had gone in another, some professed not even to have heard of any elephant." - George Orwell, "Shooting An Elephant," 1936
Repetition is a literary device that repeats the same words or phrases to
make an idea clearer.
There are several types of repetitions commonly used in both prose and poetry. As a rhetorical device, it could be a word, a phrase or a full sentence or a poetical line
repeated to emphasize its significance in the entire text. Repetition is not distinguished
solely as a figure of speech but more as a rhetorical device.
Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn… T.S. Eliot, "Ash-Wednesday"
The repetition of a full phrase shows us mastery the poet has acquired in using words and
phrases to make his point clear and emphasize that he has no hope of coming back.
Used deliberately, repetition can be an effective rhetorical strategy for achieving emphasis.
YO, students, (Yep, I'm talking to you!) Repetition and parallelism are two of the EASIEST rhetorical devices you can use in your own writing. . . YOU SHOULD TRY THEM!
The term euphemism refers to polite, indirect expressions which replace words and phrases considered harsh and impolite or which suggest something unpleasant. People use euphemisms to soften something considered harsh or offensive.
“For the time being,” he explains, “it had been found necessary to make a readjustment of rations.” George Orwell, Animal Farm
Substituting the word “reduction” with “readjustment” was an attempt to suppress the complaints of other animals about hunger. It works because reduction means “cutting” food supply while readjustment implies changing the current amount of food.
"passed away" "downsizing" "adult beverages" "sanitation engineer"
"put to sleep" "between jobs" "powder my nose"
Euphemism helps writers to convey those ideas which have become a social taboo or are too embarrassing to mention directly.
Writers skillfully choose appropriate words to refer to and discuss a subject indirectly which otherwise are not published due to strict social censorship (e.g. religious fanaticism, political theories, sexuality, death). Thus, euphemism is a useful tool that allows writers to write figuratively about the controversial issues.
A simile is a figure of speech that makes a comparison, showing similarities between two different things. Unlike a metaphor, a simile draws resemblance with the help of the words “like” or “as.” Therefore, it is a direct comparison.
We often hear comments like “John is as slow as a snail.” Snails are notorious for their slow pace and here the slowness of John is compared to that of a snail. The use of “as” in the example helps to draw the resemblance.
“I would have given anything for the power to soothe her frail soul, tormenting itself in its invincible ignorance like a small bird beating about the cruel wires of a cage.” Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim
“. . . impressions poured in upon her of those two men, and to follow her thought was like following a voice which speaks too quickly to be taken down by one’s pencil . . .” Virginia Wolf, To the Lighthouse
“O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.” - Robert Burns
Using similes attracts the attention and
appeals directly to the senses of listeners or readers
encouraging their imagination
what is being communicated. In addition, it inspires
in our daily talks and in the characters of fiction or poetry.
Simile allows readers to relate the feelings of a writer or a poet to their personal experiences.
Therefore, the use of
similes makes it easier for the readers to understand the subject matter
of a text, which may have been otherwise too demanding to be comprehended. Like metaphors, similes also offer variety in our ways of thinking and
offers new perspectives of viewing the world.
Ad hominem (Latin) means “against the man.” As the name suggests, it is a literary term that involves
commenting on or against an opponent to undermine him instead of his arguments.
There are cases
where consciously or unconsciously people start to question the opponent or his personal association
rather than evaluating the soundness and validity of the argument that he presents. In short,
ad hominem is an attack on somebody's character instead of their argument.
Arguers who are not familiar with the principles of making logical arguments commonly end up saying
something that would draw the audience’s attention to the distasteful characteristics of their opponent.
Such people use this fallacy as a tool to deceive their audience. Making such a blatant personal comment
against somebody makes it hard for people to believe it isn’t true. Typically, even the arguer himself
believes that such personal traits or circumstances are not enough to dispose of an individual’s opinion
or argument. However, if looked at rationally, such arguments even if true never provide a valid
reason to disregard someone’s criticism.
1 How can you argue your case for vegetarianism when you are opposed to Obama Care?
This shows how a person is attacked instead of being addressed for or against his argument.
2. He’s not a great athlete; he’s a fraud, a cheat and a liar. That’s why not everybody is “happy for Lance." - The Journal of Competitive Cycling.
3. She's just a student at Flagstaff High School, so we don't need to listen to her political opinions about the war in Syria.
The fact is that ad hominem is a kind of fallacy that leaves a great impression on the audience’s mind.
It is an
argumentative flaw that is hard to spot in our daily life.
Although, the personal attack that has been
made on the opponent might not even have a speck of truth in it, it somehow makes the audience biased.
Ironically, despite being flawed,
ad hominem has an amazing power of persuasion
Once somebody makes such a judgmental argument about you, the audience instead of evaluating it on
logical grounds take it to be true.
Ambiguity is a word, phrase, or statement which contains more than one meaning. Ambiguous words or statements lead to vagueness and confusion, and shape the basis for instances of unintentional humor.
For instance, it is ambiguous to say “I rode a black horse in red pajamas,” because it may lead us to think the horse was wearing red pajamas (also a misplaced modifier). The sentence becomes clear when it is restructured “Wearing red pajamas, I rode a black horse.”
“Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,” - Keats, "Ode to a Grecain Urn"
The use of word “still” is ambiguous in nature. “Still” here may mean “an unmoving object” or it may be interpreted as “yet unchanged.”
Union Demands Increased Unemployment - newspaper headline.
On a larger scale, ambiguity may develop in a character or in an entire story. For instance, Hamlet is a
character. He kills to avenge his father’s murder. He is good because he wants to protect his mother but he is bad because he is willing to kill whom he must to achieve this end.
Ambiguity in literature serves the purpose of lending a deeper meaning to a literary work. By introducing ambiguity in their works,
writers give liberty to the readers to use their imagination to explore meanings. This active participation of the readers involves them in the prose or poetry they read.
An analogy is a comparison in which an idea or a thing is compared to another thing that is quite different from it.
It aims at explaining that idea or thing by comparing it to something that is familiar. Metaphors and similes are tools used to draw an analogy. Therefore, analogy is more extensive and elaborate than either a simile or a metaphor by itself. Consider the following example:
“The structure of an atom is like a solar system. Nucleus is the sun and electrons are the planets revolving around their sun.”
“They crowded very close about him, with their hands always on him in a careful, caressing grip, as though all the while feeling him to make sure he was there. It was like men handling a fish which is still alive and may jump back into the water.” - George Orwell, "A Hanging"
The people are taking a prisoner to the gallows to be hanged. They are holding him firmly as if he were a fish which might slip and escape.
Writers use analogies
to link a new idea with common and familiar objects
. It is
easier for readers to comprehend a new idea,
which may have been difficult for them to understand otherwise. Their comprehension of a new idea picks up the pace when they observe its similarity to something that is familiar to them. By employing this literary tool, writers catch the attention of their readers. Analogies help increase readers’ interest as analogies help them relate what they read to their life.
Allegory is a figure of speech in which abstract ideas and principles are described in terms of characters and/or events.
It can be employed in prose and poetry to tell a story with a purpose of teaching an idea and a principle or explaining an idea or a principle.
The objective of its use is to preach some kind of a moral lesson.
“Animal Farm”, written by George Orwell, is an allegory that uses animals on a farm to describe the
overthrow of the last of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II and the Communist Revolution of Russia before
WW II. The actions of the animals on the farm are used to expose the greed and corruption of the
revolution. It also describes how powerful people can change the ideology of a society. One of the cardinal
rules on the farm for the animals is:
“All animals are equal but a few are more equal than others.”
The animals on the farm represent different sections of Russian society after the revolution. For instance,
the pigs represent those who came to power following the revolution; “Mr. Jones” the owner of the farm
represents the overthrown Tsar Nicholas II; while “Boxer” the horse, represents the laborer class etc.
The use of allegory in the novel allows Orwell to make his position clear about the Russian Revolution
and expose its evils.
Writers use allegory to add different layers of meanings to their works.
Allegory makes their stories and characters multidimensional, so that they stand for something larger in meaning than what they literally stand for. Allegory allows writers to put forward their moral and political point of views. A careful study of an allegorical piece of writing can give us an insight into its writer’s mind as how he views the world and how he wishes the world to be.
Lord of the Flies
is considered an allegory.
Think: To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Flies, Sojourner Truth
Do Date vs. Due Date
What's the diff? In a couple of sentences, explain to me what the difference is between the two, and WHY the difference matters.
Piggy's juxtaposition with Roger or Jack provides what? Amir's juxtaposition with Hassan?
Common Threads Rubric – 20 points possible, practice or performance, rarely measurement
Syntax Requirements: 1-2 points apiece, relative to total questions (eventually this will be worth 10 points)
Legible: 20 points
Complete: 20 points
Format: 10 points (complete sentences, skip a line between responses, heading, spelling, punctuation . . . .the DETAILS)
Correct Answer: 1-2 points apiece, relative to total questions
Punctuation: 1-2 points apiece unless grossly neglected, usually allow for one or two easy mistakes
MY PLEA: READ WHAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN BEFORE GIVING IT TO SOMEONE ELSE TO READ.
You: What're we doin' today?
You: Oh, blissful day! Thank you, Mr. Anderson, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Me: Ah, don't thank me, thank the person who scheduled the fall break.
Epanalepsis is the repetition of the initial word or words of a clause or sentence at the end of that same clause or sentence.
Always the lowest prices,
"In the run-up to Christmas we will publicly disembowel anyone heard using the phrase 'in the run-up to Christmas.'"
(Michael Bywater, The Chronicles of Bargepole, 1992)
"Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice."
(The Bible, Phil. 4.4)
Repetition of the words draws attention to them. The speaker can use epanalepsis to emphasize a key point or concept.
Chiasmus is a verbal pattern in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first with the parts reversed.
"In the end, the true test is not the speeches a president delivers; it’s whether the president delivers
on the speeches." - Hillary Clinton, March 2008
If black men have no rights in the eyes of the white men, of course the whites can have none
in the eyes of the blacks." - Frederick Douglass, "An Appeal to Congress for Impartial Suffrage"
"My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington."
- President Barack Obama
"I am stuck on Band-Aid, and Band-Aid's stuck on me." - advertising jingle for Band-Aid bandages
A device like chiasmus uses words to
convey ideas in different ways
from the common words and expressions of daily life. Thus, it conveys
meaning more vividly than ordinary speech
. When contrasting ideas are brought together,
the idea is expressed more emphatically.
As a rhetorical device, chiasmus, a type of antithesis, makes contrasts in order to examine pros and cons of a subject under discussion and helps to bring forth ideas on that particular subject.
Modes of Discourse
argument, narration, description, exposition
argument process analysis definition
compare and contrast exemplification narration
classification/division cause and effect description
"It may seem perverse that I compare my writing to plumbing, an occupation not regarded as high-end. But to me all work is equally honorable, all crafts an astonishment when they are performed with skill and self-respect. Just as I go to work every day with my tools, which are words, the plumber arrives with his kit of wrenches and washers, and afterward the pipes have been so adroitly fitted together that they don’t leak. I don’t want any of my sentences to leak. The fact that someone can make water come out of a faucet on the 10th floor strikes me as a feat no less remarkable than the construction of a clear declarative sentence." William Zinsser, The Writer Who Stayed
Paralipsis is from the Greek word paraleipein that means to omit or to leave something on one side. It is defined as a rhetorical device in which an idea is deliberately suggested through a brief treatment of a subject, while most of the significant points are omitted. It is explained through the use of this device that some points are too obvious to mention. Also, paralipsis is a way of emphasizing a subject by apparently passing over it.
I'm not going to menton what I was going to mention.