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Writing About Literature

Writing About Literature

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Writing About Literature

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  1. Writing About Literature 13. Figures of Speech

  2. Definition • A figure of speech is the use of words that diverge from their literal meaning • The figurative meaning may be achieved through special • repetition • arrangement • or omission of words • Figures of speech are used by poets to achieve freshness of expression or insight • They can also introduce a desirable ambiguity between literal and figurative interpretation. • The most common figures of speech in poetry are metaphor and simile

  3. Other Figures of Speech: Metonymy • A figure of speech in which one thing is referred to by something else which is closely associated with it, like “crown” for a king or “sweat” for hard work or “Hollywood” for the film industry. • Example: • Doublet and hose ought to show itself courageous to petticoat.from As You Like It by William Shakespeare

  4. Other Figures of Speech: Synecdoche • A figure of speech in which a part is used to signify the whole, as in “hired hands” for workers or “The Pentagon” for the Department of Defense. • Example: • Cars roll past all stuffed with eyes.from Soul Kitchen by Jim Morrison • I should have been a pair of ragged clawsScuttling across the floors of silent seas.from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot

  5. Other Figures of Speech: Personification • Anthropomorphism: Ascribing human characteristics to something that is not human, such as an animal or a god • Zoomorphism: Applying animal characteristics to humans or gods • Objectification: to refer to a human or other living thing as an object • Example: • all at once I saw a crowd,A host, of golden daffodils;from I wandered lonely as a cloud by William Wordsworth • Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shedYour leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu; • from Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats Anthropomorphic animals can be found in works like Lord of the Rings and Orwell’s Animal Farm

  6. Other Figures of Speech: Over/understatement • Meiosis: the use of understatement • The Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail ("It's just a flesh wound!") • Litotes: understatement that emphasizes the magnitude of something by denying its opposite • No, Godzilla is not just another alligator in the sewers! • Hyperbole: the use of overstatement • I would / Love you ten years before the Flood; And you should, if you please, refuseTill the conversion of the Jews.from To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell • Adynaton: hyperbole taken to such extreme lengths as to suggest a complete impossibility

  7. Other Figures of Speech: Sensuality • Onomatopoeia: A word that imitates or suggests the source of the sound that it describes • Examples: • Many machine sounds like “honk” or “beep-beep” for the horn of an automobile. • Comic book sounds like “kersplat,” “bam,” “pow” and “wham.” • Word like “snap, crackle, pop.” • For animal sounds, words like buzz (bee), quack (duck), bark (dog), roar (lion) and meow (cat) are typically used in English. • Synesthesia: Description of one kind of sense impression by using words that normally describe another • …sunburnt mirth! / O for a beaker full of the warm South!from Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats

  8. Other Figures of Speech: Puns • A form of word play which suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words • Example: • Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of Yorkfrom Richard III by William Shakespeare

  9. Other Figures of Speech: Apostrophe • Addressing a thing, an abstraction or a person not present • Example: • Death, be not proud, though some have called thee / Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not sofrom Holy Sonnet X by John Donne • Roll on, thou dark and deep blue Ocean – roll!from Childe Harold's Pilgrimage by Lord Byron

  10. Other Figures of Speech: Oxymoron • Using two terms together, that normally contradict each other • Example: • O brawling love, O loving hate, O any thing of nothing first create! O heavy lightness, serious vanity, Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!, Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health, Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare