Figurative Language AP English Lit. & Comp.
Figurative Language • Expressions that picture, describe, or discuss one thing by figuring it in terms of something else. • It is communication via comparison. • Can make an unfamiliar thing or idea more familiar by comparing it to something we all know. • Can give familiar things or ideas new and surprising meaning by comparing it to something unusual.
Metaphor • Carrying out an implied change. • “All the world’s a stage/And all the men and women merely players.” – Shakespeare’s As You Like It • Sometimes a metaphor is developed further later in a work – that is an “extended metaphor” • When an author uses a metaphor through an entire poem, it is called a “controlling metaphor”
Similie • Direct comparison using the words like or as. • “Life, like a dome of many-colored glass/Stains the white radiance of Eternity.” - Percey Shelley, Adonais
Personification • Giving human attributes to non-humans • “O! how shall summer’s honey breath hold out/Against the wrackful siege of batt’ring days.” - Shakespeare “Sonnet”
Apostrophe • Addressing and inanimate object as though it could answer • “Break, break, break,/On thy cold grey stones, O Sea!” - Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Break, Break, Break”
Synechdoche • Use of part to describe the whole
Paradox • Implied contradictions • “I, a child, very old.” - Walt Whitman
Oxymoron • Condensed form of paradox. Two contradictions used together • “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” - Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet
Pun • Play on words often creating humor through a word’s multiple meanings • “Bravery runs in my family.” - A. A. Ammons
Hyperbole • Intentional exaggeration for effect – overstatement • “I will love thee still, my dear / Till a’ the seas dry”- Robert Burns, “My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose”
Understatement • Opposite of overstatement; deliberate underrating for emphasis • “The grave’s a fine and private place / But none, I think, do there embrace.” - Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”
Anaphora • “Carry again, repeat”; repeating the same word for effect • “Of the bells, bells, bells, bells -/ Of the bells, the bells, bells, bells/ Bells, bells, bells / To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!” - Edgar Allen Poe, “The Bells”
Allusion • An indirect reference to something else