Poetry and figurative language Introduction to key terms meaning literal figurative I know which way the wind blows. Key terms • Poetics: attempts to explain literary effects through literary conventions & reading practices • Rhetoric: studies linguistic means of expression and persuasion. – What are the techniques and practices enabling to construct successful acts of communication? Aristotle • Separated poetics form rhetoric • P: the art of imitation and representation, • R: the art of persuasion. Rhetoric • Medieval literary tradition: blurs that distinction • 19th century criticism rejected rhetoric as trickery • In the 20th century rhetoric was rehabilitated tropes and figures • trope – “turning” or changing of meaning (metaphor, metonymy), • figure – combination of words (alliteration, assonance, consonance etc.). • Modern rhetoric departs from that tradition: clear distinction between literal and figurative not possible • Language itself is figurative Figurative language in poetry Intro • Figurative language achieves a meaning or effect different from literal statement • Most figures of speech compare, explicitly or implicitly, two basically different things that share a common characteristic simile • explicit comparison between two things that are literally quite different, • a comparison using a word such as "like" or "as." sky is like a mirror Your brother ran like a gazelle. (but not "Your brother looks like you" -- a comparison, not a simile.) Her tenderness hovered over him like a flutter of wings. (Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim) metaphor • compares two things that are literally quite unlike, without a comparison word sky is a mirror For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis, 3:19) Exhilaration is the Breeze That lifts us from the ground (Emily Dickinson) Examples of metaphors • Proverbs are frequently rich in metaphor: One man's meat is another man's poison. I know which way the wind blows. We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. Hunger is the best sauce. Nothing but a handful of dust will fill the eye of man. metonymy • use of a closely related image for the idea: • The White House has announced that... (a building represents the President or one of his aides) • The Crown denies that... (ceremonial device worn by the king or the queen represents that ruler) or synecdoche • The use of a significant, relevant part for the whole: • All hands on deck • Do you have any wheels tonight? personification • the attribution of human characteristics to non-human (sometimes abstract) things For example, Keats calls Autumn "Close bosomfriend of the maturing sun," and later says: Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind. types of metaphors • An extended metaphor is a metaphor developed consistently and carefully throughout the paragraph or essay. • It can be a powerful unifying device. Roman Jacobson • metaphor (relationships of similarity) and metonymy (relationships of attachment) – two basic structures of language • Theory later extended to synecdoche and irony. • synecdoche - parts represents whole (cf. allegory), • irony – contrasts appearances with reality (what we expect with what we get). • Hayden White: these are the four basic rhetoric structures: metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, irony • Thanks to them we are able to understand ourselves • pathetic fallacy Poetry Sound patterning Introductory • From the beginning poetry was strongly connected to music and singing (religious purposes and entertainment) • This relationship is very strong even today • Singing and changing are the cross-cultural phenomena (→ popular culture) sound patterning • how it is achieved? • Every language consists of a limited number of sounds → phonemes. • phonemes → syllables – Syllable structure: • consonant cluster: C, • vowel: V, • consonant cluster: C – → [C-V-C] • When we speak - sounds repeat (in everyday speech repetition is accidental) • It is possible to arrange sounds into certain patterns. • Thus it is possible to create the melody of language (and manipulate the natural melody of each language). The purpose of sound patterning • Stands out from ordinary speech, draws attention: slogans, catch phrases. • Easier to memorize: action pack, stitch in time saves nine. • Easier to pronounce, sing, chant etc. (usually songs require patterning structure, NB: rap music). • Aesthetic effect, may carry certain meaning (although that is very arbitrary). • Sound patterning widely used: poetry but also jokes, advertising slogans, speeches, pop lyrics, rapping, toasting. alliteration • initial consonant cluster is repeated • [C-V-C] • • • • • boat – big – bad; grow – grand – Greek reading – writing – arithmetic (3R’s) I saw five fish fly past She picked purple peppers alliteration • Alliteration is made with sound, not letters: city – sandwich, not with cauliflower. • Alliteration occurs within a stressed syllable: • aggression – ungrateful, song – unseen – dissociate – dancing. • Entire initial cluster must be repeated: glad – glimmer, go – grow. • Alliteration: major organizing device in OE and ME poetry → alliterative metre (gradually replaced by rhyme). alliteration in everyday use • • • • • • baby boom back to basics Big Ben green as grass pay the price peer to peer • swim or sink • super sonic • it takes two to Tango • Mickey Mouse • Donald Duck • Bilbo Baggins assonance • repetition of the same vowel sound • [C-V-C] light – wide – sign; Sweet dreams are made of these, who am I to disagree; hit – miss, hate –sale; The child of mine was lying on her side consonance • repetition of the final consonant group • [C-V-C] bad – good, treats – floats, coming – home, urn – shorn, irk – torque Is it blunt and flat pararhyme (rich consonance) • often = consonance, • initial and final consonant clusters repeated • [C-V-C] beat – bite, sit – sight, middle – muddle hall-/hell; red - rid; pack - pick reverse rhyme • Initial consonant cluster and vowel group repeated. • [C-V-C] stand – stamp, boat – boast, cash and carry rhyme • last vowel and consonant cluster are repeated in a word • [C-V-C] • cloud – shroud, bonding – sending, Kinds of rhymes • Rhymes within a line of verse: internal rhymes (The movie was great; lots of popcorn I ate). • Rhymes occurring at the end of a line of verse: end rhymes (My weekend was like any other / I went to a movie with Mother). • Rhyme is sometimes used to describe the repetition which is not at the end of the word e.g. action pack. eye-rhyme • Rhyme is produced by sound not spelling: cough – off – plough. • “Spelling rhyme” is called eye rhyme (or visual rhyme): dive – give, said – maid, love - prove. rhymes: kinds • masculine rhyme – consisting of a single stressed syllable: round – sound. • feminine rhyme – involves two syllables: yellow – fellow. • rhyme schemes – rhymes at the end of the line of poetry are usually organized into patterns (e.g. abba).