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					Figurative Language




    Chapter 14, Everything’s an
    Argument, & other sources
What Is Figurative
Language?
• Language that plays with the
  meanings or sounds of words to
  enhance imagery, add layers of
  meaning, direct the readers’
  attention in a particular way or
  to add power.
• Tropes & Schemes
TROPES:
Metaphors, et al.

• A metaphor compares two
  things (without using like, as, or
  similar language).
  •   Similes (use like, as, &c.)
  •   Personifications
  •   Metonymy
  •   Synecdoche
  TROPES: Metaphors
• Compare two things without like or as
  • Descriptive – “Your eyes are stars.”
  • Abstract – “Mercy is the gentle rain
    that falleth from heaven upon the
    place beneath.” (paraphrase)
  • Embedded – “The yellow smoke that
    rubs its muzzle on the windowpane…”
• Allegory is an extended metaphor
Metaphor & Simile
Exercise
• They were very lazy and slept all day
  • They were lazy sloths and slept all day.
• The greedy oil companies destroyed
  the native culture.
  • The greedy oil companies invaded like
   barbarian hordes and decimated the
   native culture.
• The woman cried a lot.
  • The woman seeped tears like water from
   a spring.
 TROPES:
 Personification
• May be a metaphor or a simile
• Why use personification?
  • The sun glories in his strength
  • The ambitious cat strove to make himself
    leader of the neighborhood toms.
  • The stubborn door refused to open.
• Exercise:
   • The door slammed on his thumb.
   • The shoe squeaked as she walked.
   • The shrimp fled the fish.
 TROPES: Metonymy
• An attribute of the thing being
  described is used to indicate the whole
• “Capital must talk to labor.”

      “Law”        Police
      “Crown”      Royalty
      “Brass”      Military VIPs
      “Pen”        Writers
      “Suits”      Businessmen
      “Skirts”     Women
TROPES: Synecdoche (I)

1. Genus for species or species for
   genus
  1.   “Weapon” for sword
  2.   “Creature” for man
  3.   “Bread” for food
  4.   “Cutthroat” for assassin
2. Part for whole
  1. “Hands” for helpers
  2. “Roofs” for houses
TROPES: Synecdoche (II)

3. Matter for the material from
   which it is made
  1. “Silver” for money
  2. “Dust” for humans (in a Biblical
     context)
  3. “Flesh” and blood for humans
  4. “Steel” for sword
Metonymy and
Synecdoche Exercise
Why use Metonymy & Synecdoche?
• He drew his sword and cut the child down
  • He drew his weapon and cut the child down
• The writer is more powerful than the soldier
  • The pen is mightier than the sword
• The pundits had predicted that Minnie
  Mouse would be elected president
  • The talking heads had predicted that Minnie
    Mouse would be elected president
TROPES: Stretching

• Hyperbole – “My mother’s going
  to kill me”
• Satire – Humorous exaggeration
  of people, behavior or actions to
  make a point
• Parody – Exaggeration or
  distortion of a particular form or
  work (art, words, texts, film
  noir, pastorals, etc.)
TROPES: Shrinking, &c.
• Understatement – “The presidential
 election has taken a little bit longer
 than expected”
• (Verbal) Irony – The significance of
  the statement is the opposite of the
  meaning of the words – “Khruschev
 was such a well-mannered, self-
 controlled gentelman”
• (Situational) Irony – the outcome
  differs radically from the
  expectation.
Paradox & Oxymoron
• Paradox - an apparent contradiction
  that induces a reconsideration of
  words in question. “He who finds his
 life will lose it, and he who loses his
 life for my sake will find it” (Matt.
 10:39).
• Oxymoron – two words which form a
  contradiction. Dry rain, burning cold,
  apathetic alertness, &c.
    SCHEMES: Sounds
Onomatopoeia      Alliteration
•   Swooshed      • Thou still unravished
•   Spat            bride of quietness, Thou
                    foster child of silence
•   Crackle         and slow time.
•   Ululation     • By the margin, willow-
                    veiled, slide the heavy
•   Growl           barges, trailed by slow
•   Susurration     horses. And, unhailed,
                    the shallop flitteth,
•   Clack           silken-sailed, skimming
•   Murmur          down to Camelot.
SCHEMES: Juxtaposed
Meanings
•Parallelism – repeating a grammatical
structure
•Antithesis – contrasting 2 opposites –
most effectively employed in parallel
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.
SCHEMES: Word Order
• Anaphora – repetition of a word for effect
BASSANIO:       Sweet Portia,
   If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
   If you did know for whom I gave the ring
   And would conceive for what I gave the ring
   And how unwillingly I left the ring,
   When nought would be accepted but the ring,
   You would abate the strength of your displeasure.

PORTIA:     If you had known the virtue of the ring,
  Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
  Or your own honour to contain the ring,
  You would not then have parted with the ring.
SCHEMES: Word Order (II)

• Tricolon crescans – three elements
  presented in increasing order
  • “Young man, sit in that corner and do
   not move, do not talk, do not breathe!”
• Inversion – changing the usually
  order of the syntax
  • “Ask not what your country can do for
   you; ask only what you can do for your
   country.”
Beware!
• Clichés – figurative devices that
  have lost their energy through
  familiarity and long use.
• Mixed metaphors – changing image
  midway – also saps language of its
  power
• Unduly slanted language /
  connotations – inappropriate use of a
  particular image
Beware! - Examples
• The political machine was as pervasive as
  kudzu, and it chewed up and digested
  unwary townspeople.
• The bus was like a growling dinosaur,
  belching smoke and fire.
• Mother Theresa distributed food to the
  orphans with the efficiency of a shark.
• Vote for Fred: he’ll slash taxes like an ax-
  murderer!
Life Without Figurative Language
                                                  As the apple tree among the trees of
   My beloved is more handsome and potent            the wood, so is my beloved among
      than the other men...                          the sons. I sat down under his
                                                     shadow with great delight, and his
                                                     fruit was sweet to my taste.
   He has a handsome face and nice black          His head is as the most fine gold, his
       hair.                                         locks are bushy, and black as a
                                                     raven.

   His eyes are handsome.                         His eyes are as the eyes of doves by
                                                     the rivers of waters, washed with
                                                     milk, and fitly set.
                                                  His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as
   His cheeks and mouth are manly and he             sweet flowers: his lips like lilies,
       has good breath.                              dropping sweet smelling myrrh.
   His hands are tan and strong; he has a         His hands are as gold rings set with
       sexy tummy.                                   the beryl: his belly is as bright
                                                     ivory overlaid with sapphires.

   His legs are strong and his face               His legs are as pillars of marble, set
       exemplifies the qualities we like in our      upon sockets of fine gold: his
       homeland.                                     countenance is as Lebanon,
                                                     excellent as the cedars.

				
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