Metonymy

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Metonymy
Using Setting to create atmosphere
and/or mood
Great Expectations
Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river
wound, twenty miles of the sea. My first most vivid and broad
impression of the identity of things, seems to me to have been gained
on a memorable ______afternoon towards evening. At such a time I
found out for certain, that this _______ place overgrown with nettles
was the churchyard; and that Philip Pirrip, late of this parish, and also
Georgiana wife of the above, were dead and buried; and that
Alexander, Bartholomew, Abraham, Tobias, and Roger, infant children
of the aforesaid, were also dead and buried; and that the ______
_____ wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dykes and
mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the
marshes; and that the low leaden line beyond, was the river; and that
the distant ______ _________from which the wind was rushing, was
the sea; and that the small bundle of ______ growing afraid of it all
and beginning to cry, was Pip.
-Charles Dickens
Great Expectations
Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river
wound, twenty miles of the sea. My first most vivid and broad
impression of the identity of things, seems to me to have been gained
on a memorable raw afternoon towards evening. At such a time I
found out for certain, that this bleak place overgrown with nettles was
the churchyard; and that Philip Pirrip, late of this parish, and also
Georgiana wife of the above, were dead and buried; and that
Alexander, Bartholomew, Abraham, Tobias, and Roger, infant children
of the aforesaid, were also dead and buried; and that the dark flat
wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dykes and mounds
and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes; and
that the low leaden line beyond, was the river; and that the distant
savage lair from which the wind was rushing, was the sea; and that the
small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry,
was Pip.
-Charles Dickens
The Tell-tale Heart
And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door
and opened it --oh so gently! And then, when I had made an
opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all
closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my
head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I
thrust it in! I moved it slowly --very, very slowly, so that I
might not disturb the old man's sleep. It took me an hour to
place my whole head within the opening so far that I could
see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have
been so wise as this, And then, when my head was well in the
room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously -cautiously (for the hinges creaked) --I undid it just so much
that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye.
The Masque of the Red Death
This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation
of the prince's own eccentric yet august taste. A strong and
lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The
courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy
hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means
neither of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses of despair
or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned.
With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to
contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the
meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had
provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons,
there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there
were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these
and security were within. Without was the "Red Death."
The Masque of the Red Death
The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in
black velvet tapestries that hung all over the
ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds
upon a carpet of the same material and hue. But
in this chamber only, the color of the windows
failed to correspond with the decorations. The
panes here were scarlet -- a deep blood color.
The Masque of the Red Death
But in the western or black chamber the effect
of the fire-light that streamed upon the dark
hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was
ghastly in the extreme, and produced so wild a
look upon the countenances of those who
entered, that there were few of the company
bold enough to set foot within its precincts at
all.
The Masque of the Red Death
It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western
wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to and fro with a
dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the
circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from
the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and
deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis
that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were
constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to hearken
to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions;
and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while
the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest
grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over
their brows as if in confused reverie or meditation.
The Masque of the Red Death
And one by one dropped the revellers in the
blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died
each in the despairing posture of his fall. And
the life of the ebony clock went out with that of
the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods
expired.
The Black Cat
On the day succeeding the fire, I visited the ruins. The walls,
with one exception, had fallen in. This exception was found in
a compartment wall, not very thick, which stood about the
middle of the house, and against which had rested the head of
my bed. The plastering had here, in great measure, resisted
the action of the fire - a fact which I attributed to its having
been recently spread. About this wall a dense crowd were
collected, and many persons seemed to be examining a
particular portion of it with very minute and eager attention.
The words "strange!" "singular!" and other similar
expressions, excited my curiosity. I approached and saw, as if
graven in bas relief upon the white surface, the figure of a
gigantic cat. The impression was given with an accuracy truly
marvellous. There was a rope about the animal's neck.
The Black Cat
Its walls were loosely constructed, and had
lately been plastered throughout with a rough
plaster, which the dampness of the atmosphere
had prevented from hardening. Moreover, in
one of the walls was a projection, caused by a
false chimney, or fireplace, that had been filled
up, and made to resemble the red of the cellar.
The Fall of the House of Usher
DURING the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the
year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been
passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and
at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of
the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was—but, with the first
glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I
say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that halfpleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives
even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the
scene before me—upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features
of the domain—upon the bleak walls—upon the vacant eye-like windows—
upon a few rank sedges—and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees—
with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation
more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium—the bitter
lapse into everyday life—the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an
iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart—an unredeemed dreariness of
thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the
sublime.
The Fall of the House of Usher
It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different
arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the
details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify,
or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful
impression; and, acting upon this idea, I reined my
horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid
tarn that lay in unruffled lustre by the dwelling, and
gazed down—but with a shudder even more
thrilling than before—upon the remodelled and
inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghastly
tree-stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.
The Pit and the Pendulum
And then my vision fell upon the seven tall
candles upon the table. At first they wore the
aspect of charity, and seemed white and slender
angels who would save me; but then, all at once,
there came a most deadly nausea over my spirit,
and I felt every fibre in my frame thrill as if I had
touched the wire of a galvanic battery, while the
angel forms became meaningless spectres, with
heads of flame, and I saw that from them there
would be no help.
The Pit and the Pendulum
I had been deceived, too, in respect to the shape of the enclosure. In feeling
my way I had found many angles, and thus deduced an idea of great
irregularity; so potent is the effect of total darkness upon one arousing from
lethargy or sleep! The angles were simply those of a few slight depressions, or
niches, at odd intervals. The general shape of the prison was square. What I
had taken for masonry seemed now to be iron, or some other metal, in huge
plates, whose sutures or joints occasioned the depression. The entire surface
of this metallic enclosure was rudely daubed in all the hideous and repulsive
devices to which the charnel superstition of the monks has given rise. The
figures of fiends in aspects of menace, with skeleton forms, and other more
really fearful images, overspread and disfigured the walls. I observed that the
outlines of these monstrosities were sufficiently distinct, but that the colors
seemed faded and blurred, as if from the effects of a damp atmosphere. I
now noticed the floor, too, which was of stone. In the centre yawned the
circular pit from whose jaws I had escaped; but it was the only one in the
dungeon.
The Birthmark
With the morning twilight Aylmer opened his
eyes upon his wife's face and recognized the
symbol of imperfection; and when they sat
together at the evening hearth his eyes
wandered stealthily to her cheek, and beheld,
flickering with the blaze of the wood fire, the
spectral hand that wrote mortality where he
would fain have worshipped.
The Birthmark
Seated calmly in this laboratory, the pale
philosopher had investigated the secrets of the
highest cloud region and of the profoundest
mines; he had satisfied himself of the causes
that kindled and kept alive the fires of the
volcano; and had explained the mystery of
fountains, and how it is that they gush forth,
some so bright and pure, and others with such
rich medicinal virtues, from the dark bosom of
the earth.
The Birthmark
The scene around her looked like enchantment. Aylmer
had converted those smoky, dingy, sombre rooms, where
he had spent his brightest years in recondite pursuits, into
a series of beautiful apartments not unfit to be the
secluded abode of a lovely woman. The walls were hung
with gorgeous curtains, which imparted the combination
of grandeur and grace that no other species of
adornment can achieve; and as they fell from the ceiling
to the floor, their rich and ponderous folds, concealing all
angles and straight lines, appeared to shut in the scene
from infinite space. For aught Georgiana knew, it might
be a pavilion among the clouds.
The Yellow Wallpaper
It is a big, airy room, the whole floor nearly, with windows that look all ways,
and air and sunshine galore. It was nursery first and then playroom and
gymnasium, I should judge; for the windows are barred for little children, and
there are rings and things in the walls.
The paint and paper look as if a boys' school had used it. It is stripped off--the
paper in great patches all around the head of my bed, about as far as I can
reach, and in a great place on the other side of the room low down. I never
saw a worse paper in my life.
One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin.
It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to
constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame
uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide--plunge off
at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.
The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow,
strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.
It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others.
No wonder the children hated it! I should hate it myself if I had to live in this
room long.
The Yellow Wallpaper
Out of one window I can see the garden, those
mysterious deepshaded arbors, the riotous oldfashioned flowers, and bushes and gnarly trees.
Out of another I get a lovely view of the bay and
a little private wharf belonging to the estate.
There is a beautiful shaded lane that runs down
there from the house.
The Yellow Wallpaper
There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls
like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at
you upside down.
The Yellow Wallpaper
I lie here on this great immovable bed--it is nailed down, I believe--and follow that pattern about by the
hour. It is as good as gymnastics, I assure you. I start, we'll say, at the bottom, down in the corner over
there where it has not been touched, and I determine for the thousandth time that I will follow that
pointless pattern to some sort of a conclusion.
I know a little of the principle of design, and I know this thing was not arranged on any laws of radiation,
or alternation, or repetition, or symmetry, or anything else that I ever heard of.
It is repeated, of course, by the breadths, but not otherwise.
Looked at in one way each breadth stands alone, the bloated curves and flourishes--a kind of "debased
Romanesque" with delirium tremens--go waddling up and down in isolated columns of fatuity.
But, on the other hand, they connect diagonally, and the sprawling outlines run off in great slanting
waves of optic horror, like a lot of wallowing seaweeds in full chase.
The whole thing goes horizontally, too, at least it seems so, and I exhaust myself in trying to distinguish
the order of its going in that direction.
They have used a horizontal breadth for a frieze, and that adds wonderfully to the confusion.
There is one end of the room where it is almost intact, and there, when the crosslights fade and the low
sun shines directly upon it, I can almost fancy radiation after all,--the interminable grotesques seem to
form around a common centre and rush off in headlong plunges of equal distraction.
Metonymy
• Sometimes weather is used to symbolise a
persons inner feelings. This type of symbolism
is called metonymy.
• Write a paragraph that uses metonymy to
convey the mood of the following people.
Metonymy Writing 1
• The plot so far: An argument has been brewing
between a husband and wife for several chapters
of a book. The atmosphere is angry and tense.
The day is hot and humid and a storm is brewing.
The husband and wife are about to go out for
lunch and are getting ready to leave the house.
However, they end up arguing again.
• Write the paragraph or two leading up to the
confrontation, using the weather to build up and
symbolise the coming argument.
Metonymy Sample 1
The oppressive heat made skin sticky, moods sour,
and tempers quick. She retrieved her purse from
the sofa and advanced towards the door. Lightening
induced electricity crackled in the distance. Like a
sharp-eyed owl, he tracked her silhouette from his
perch at the threshold. The air hung, heavy and
thick with impending rain. A clap of thunder jolted
the couple as they faced one another in the
doorway, bodies tense, senses heightened, poised
to speak. Enormous black clouds loomed over the
house, threatening a down pour at any moment.
Metonymy Writing 2
• The plot so far: Ten years ago Anne broke off her
engagement to her fiancé Tom because she was
persuaded he was not good enough for her. Now
he is back and is going out with a cousin of hers.
Anne realises she still loves him.
• Write a paragraph just after Tom and Anne’s
cousin Mary have gone out on a date, leaving
Anne alone in the house. Write this paragraph in
a way that uses the room to suggest Anne’s
loneliness.
Metonymy Sample 2
The cold, cavernous room reeked of despair. The
bare white walls mocked Anne’s melancholy; they
were as bleak and despondent as she. Despite
breaking off their engagement ten years ago, she
still loved Tom. Limp and lifeless curtains framed
the solitary window. As darkness crept in, the dying
light cast shadows onto Anne’s dejected face. The
flaccid drapes echoed Anne’s posture on the couch.
She could not bear to see Tom with her cousin Mary
and the sight of them ambling into the night on
their date shattered her heart.
Metonymy Writing 3
• The plot so far: John has moved back to his
small home town which is next to a beach
after 10 years of living in the city. He is very
happy to be back.
• Write a paragraph where John goes for a walk
on the beach. Write this paragraph in a way
that it uses the landscape to suggest John’s
happiness.
Metonymy Sample 3
John closed his eyes and deeply inhaled the warm,
salty air. Upon opening them again, he marveled at
the azure sky, cloudless and clear. Gulls circled
overhead like sentinels protecting a priceless
heirloom. After ten years in the city, this beach
town seemed refreshing and new despite
maintaining the familiar comfort of his childhood.
The sun beamed down heating the sand beneath
John’s feet as he strolled. Waves gently lapped at
the shore, taking turns to wave hello to their old
friend. The wind caressed John’s face and tenderly
stroked his hair. He was home.

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