Lecture 7-Figurative Language Honors

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FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE
Tropes and Rhetorical Figures
The difference between the language of science
and the language of literature


The special language of science uses words and expressions that
communicate one thing at a time without the danger of confusion or
of multiple interpretations. Polytetrafluoroethylene probably means
the same thing every sentence in which it appears. It is hard to
imagine a circumstance where it could be used ironically and it is
unlikely to find its way into a simile or metaphor.
The language of literature and common life, however, is filled with
words and expressions used figuratively, words that mean in a
particular context something more than any dictionary definition
would lead us to expect. The figures of speech that create these
extra meanings are traditionally divided into TROPES (figures that
change the meaning of a word) and RHETORICAL FIGURES (those
that change the tone or emphasis of a statement without changing
the meaning of individual words).
The Principal Tropes: metaphor, symbol, simile,
personification
trope (n). a figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression

METAPHOR—A figure of speech that makes a
comparison between two unlike things without
the use of such specific words of comparison as
like, as, than, or resembles.
There are several kinds of metaphor
1.
2.
Directly Stated Metaphor
Implied Metaphor
“Fame is a bee”
“I like to see it lap the Miles”
1.
2.

3.
Extended Metaphor
Fame is a bee / It has a song— / It has a
sting— / Ah, too, it has a wing
3.

4.
Dead Metaphor
Mixed Metaphor
5.
A metaphor that is extended or developed over a
number of lines or with several examples
“The head of the house”
4.

5.
Does not state explicitly the two terms of comparison.
The example is an implied metaphor in which the verb
lap implies a comparison between “it” (which is a
train) and some animal that “laps” up water.
Used so often the comparison is no longer vivid.
A metaphor that fails to make a logical
comparison because its mixed terms are visually or
imaginatively incompatible. If you say “The
President is a lame duck who is running out of
gas,” you’ve lost control of your metaphor and
have produced a statement that is ridiculous (ducks
do not run out of gas).
SYMBOL—A person, place, thing, or event that has
meaning in itself and that also stands for something
more than itself.

1.
2.
We can distinguish between two types of symbols:
Public
Personal
__Public_____ symbols



The dove, for example, is a public symbol of peace—that is,
it is widely accepted the world over as such a symbol.
Uncle Sam is a public symbol that stands for the United
States.
A picture of a skull and crossbones is a public symbol of of


Two snakes coiled around a staff is a widely accepted
symbol of


__death or warning or pirates____
__medicine____
Waving a white flag is a public symbol of

__surrender____
__Personal____ symbols



Most symbols used in literature are personal symbols; even
though a symbol may be widely used, a writer will usually
adapt it in some imaginative, personal way so that it can
suggest not just one, but a myriad of meanings.
One of the most commonly used symbols in literature, for
example, is the journey, which can stand for a search for
truth, for redemption from evil, or for discovery of the self
and freedom. The journey of Huck Finn and Jim down the
Mississippi River has been interpreted to symbolize all of
these concepts, and more.
The marigolds in “Marigolds” symbolize __beauty and
possibly guilt____
SIMILE a figure of speech that makes an explicit comparison
between two unlike things, using a word such as like, as, than,
or resembles.


What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry
up like a raisin in the sun?
The simile compares __postponed dreams____to
__A Raisin in the Sun____
PERSONIFICATION a figure of speech in which an object or
animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes.


The cruel wind tore off the roof of the house.
What is the object or animal being personified?
 __wind____

What is the human trait given to the object?
 __cruelty____

What effect does this give to the object? Meaning,
how does this example of personification help
readers to visualize/interpret the thing being
described?
 __nastiness
and harsh wind___
The Principle Rhetorical Figures:
irony, hyperbole, and oxymoron
RHETORICAL FIGURES (figurative language
that changes the tone or emphasis of a
statement without changing the meaning of
individual words).
 rhetoric: (n) language with a persuasive or
impressive effect

hyperbole (hi-purr-buh-lee) [never say
“hyper-bowl!!!”]

a figure of speech that uses an incredible
exaggeration, or overstatement, for effect.
 In
Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain uses hyperbole for
comic effect. An example is Twain’s response when Mr.
Bixby tells him he must learn the shape of the
Mississippi River throughout its course:
 Have
I got to learn the shape of the river according to all
these five hundred thousand different ways? If I tried to carry
all that cargo in my head it would make me stoop-shouldered.
oxymoron

a figure of speech that combines opposite or
contradictory terms in a brief phrase.
 “Sweet
sorrow,”
 “deafening silence,” and
 “living death” are common oxymorons
 (jokesters include “jumbo shrimp”)
BLOCK 7—TUTORIAL HONORS
Literary Terms Review
Overview Terms

Literary Analysis:
 the

study or examination of a literary work or author.
Literary Devices:
 figures
of speech or tools a writer uses to add layers of
meaning to the text
simile

simile—a figure of speech that makes a
comparison between two unlike things, using a word
such as like, as, than, or resembles
metaphor
metaphor—a figure of speech that makes a
comparison between two unlike things without the use
of specific words of comparison
personification
personification—a figure of speech in which an object or
animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes
foreshadowing
foreshadowing—a literary device in
which an author drops subtle hints about
plot developments to come later in the
story
allusion
allusion—an implied or indirect reference
especially in literature and film; references are
often made to Greek gods or goddesses,
Shakespeare, the bible, specific historical events
or figures, and widely known aspects of popular
culture
motif

motif—a recurrent thematic element in a literary or
artistic work
“I feel again the chaotic emotions of adolescence,
illusive as smoke, yet as real as the potted geranium
before me now.”



The simile compares the chaotic emotions of
adolescence to smoke and the realness of a potted
geranium.
The comparison suggests that the first object in the
comparison is both hard to grasp and solid as an
everyday object
and it develops…
“Joy and rage and wild animal gladness and shame become
tangled together in the multicolored skein of a 14-going-on15…”

The metaphor compares
 The
emotions of teen years: joy, rage, wild happiness,
and shame to
 A piece of multicolored yarn

The comparison suggests that the first object/person
in the comparison is
 The
emotions are so woven together that no matter how
much one might try to separate them she can’t

and it develops…
“Poverty was the cage in which we all
were trapped…”

The metaphor compares
 Poverty
A

cage
The comparison suggests that the first object/person
in the comparison is
 Poverty

to
is something that we can not escape
and it develops…
“…those days are ill-defined in my memory, running together
and combining like a fresh water-color painting left out in the
rain.”

The simile compares
 The
ill-defined days to
 a water-color painting left out in the rain

The comparison suggests that the first
object/person in the comparison is
 the
days blended together so much that she could not
tell one from another

and it develops…
“…the oriole nest in the elm was untenanted and
rocked back and forth like an empty cradle.”

The simile compares
 The
empty bird’s nest to
 Empty cradle

The comparison suggests that the first object/person
in the comparison is
 Sad

and lonely
and it develops…
“…and now if an oriole sings in the elm, its song
seems to die up in the leaves, a silvery dust.”

The metaphor/personification compares
 The
death of the oriole’s song to
 A silvery dust

The comparison suggests that the first object/person
in the comparison is
 The

song’s death is beautiful and ethereal
and it develops…
“In May and June there was no rain and the crops
withered, curled up, then died under the thirsty sun.”

The personification compares
 Dying
crops due to the heat of the to
 Parched sun

The comparison suggests that the first object/person
in the comparison is
 The

sun was intense
and it develops…
“We were down in Old Woman Swamp and it was spring and the
sick-sweet smell of bay flowers hung everywhere like a mournful
song. ‘I’m going to teach you to walk, Doodle,’ I said.”

The simile compares
 The
sick-sweet smell of bay flowers to
 A mournful song

The comparison suggests that the first object/person
in the comparison is
 The

scent of the flowers was heavy and sad
and it develops…

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