What’s The Definition Of Trope?

When we use words, we don’t always use them literally. In some cases, we use words or expressions in a figurative way. This is known as a trope. You’ll see tropes appear regularly in fiction, poetry, and in other works as well.

Of course, writers aren’t the only people that use tropes. Tropes are also something that pop-up in normal conversation. Many people find that tropes are the best way to express themselves.

Being Literal Doesn’t Always Allow You To Be Expressive

When you stick to the literal meaning of words, you can’t always be as expressive as you would like to be. Sometimes, you can say what you mean without really conveying any of the emotions or feelings behind those words. People tend to use tropes when they’re looking for a better way to express themselves. If people are feeling a strong emotion, like anger or sadness, tropes may be one of the first things that they turn to.

Why Writers Use Tropes

Writers tend to use tropes because they allow them to express things in a more interesting and engaging way. When something is written in a dry and literal way, it isn’t always fun to read. Using tropes can help to spice up a written work. In a lot of cases, content is more interesting to read because of the tropes that it contains. If you feel like a piece of writing you’re working on is dull, you may want to add some tropes to your work.

Common Tropes

  • Hyperbole – I’ll die from embarassment
  • Irony – Your explanation is clear as mud
  • Litotes – I am not a happy camper
  • Metaphor – You are my sunshine
  • Metonymy – Man of the cloth
  • Oxymoron – Jumbo shrimp
  • Personification – The old car wheezed and complained
  • Pun – Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana
  • Rhetorical Question – How can I reach these kids?
  • Simile – blind as a bat
  • Synecdoche – I just got a new set of wheels
  • Zeugma – He broke my heart and my car.

What Is The Definition Of “Juxtaposition?”

Juxtaposition is a writing device in which two things (places, ideas, or characters and their actions) are put side by side in the prose or poem in order to compare or contrast them with each other.

This useful technique helps to portray characters in detail to create tension. A writer might place a good character alongside an evil character; the juxtaposition of the evil character’s malevolent tendencies against the benevolent traits of the good character will highlight such benevolent traits much better than it would if the writer merely portrayed the good character’s qualities alone. But this is not Staten Island Law, juxtaposition can be used in many different ways.

Examples Of Juxtaposition In Classic Literature

“Paradise Lost”: John Milton’s poem “Paradise Lost” is a classic example of juxtaposition. Two characters “God and Satan” are portrayed side by side, with the traits of each character made more obvious when compared with each other. Because of the contrast between Satan’s bad qualities and God’s good qualities, the reader can easily reach the conclusion that Satan was deserving of being banned from paradise for not submitting to God’s will.

“A Tale of Two Cities”: In this Charles Dickens tale of the French Revolution, the opening paragraph immediately contrasts the best and worst of the socio-economic climate of the times by speaking of wisdom and foolishness, Light and Darkness, hope and despair. This highlights the dichotomy in the story to come, in which the chasm between the “haves” and the “have-nots” becomes too vast to cross, setting the stage for revolution.

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.

Uses Of Juxtaposition

Writers use the literary device of juxtaposition to pique the reader’s interest, drawing a comparison between two contrary things by placing them side by side. The comparison creates a vivid picture in the reader’s mind and can control the pace of a poem or narrative by offering a sensible connection between two ambiguous ideas.

Just What Exactly Is The Definition Of A Stanza?

The term ‘stanza‘ is most often used in poetry. It is derived from a similarly spelled and pronounced Italian word that translates roughly as “room.”

A stanza is a set of lines within a poem that are grouped together. Stanzas are usually set apart from one another by use of indentation or blank lines. As such, they are much like how articles, stories, and novels are broken down into paragraphs, so in a way, stanzas are the paragraphs of poetry.

Stanzas sometimes have a regular rhyme or even a metrical scheme, depending on the format of the poem and the creative choices of the poet. However, there are no hard or fast rules requiring this to strictly happen.

Stanzas come in many unique forms. Many stanzaic forms prove quite simple, as four-line quatrains are very common. However, something like the Spenserian stanza is actually quite complex. Some poems, particularly fixed-verse poems, like sestinas, are actually defined by the form and number of the stanzas. Shakespearean sonnets are known commonly to have three quatrain stanzas followed by a couplet stanza, often employing iambic pentameter. The quatrains follow an alternating rhyme scheme while the concluding couplet has both lines rhyme with one another for the finishing punch or touch.

In concrete poetry or shape poetry, there are no such things as stanzas. Rather, the typological effect of the words is more important because the words create a shape that reinforces the meaning of the poem. For example, the poem below is entitled The Wine Glass

Who hath wo? Who hath Sorrow!
Who hath contentions? Who
hath wounds without cause?
Who hath redness of eyes?
They that tarry long at the
wine! They that go to
seek mixed wine! Look
not though upon the
wine when it is red,
when it giveth its
color in the
CUP
when it
moveth itself
alright.
AT
the last
it biteth like a
serpent, and stingeth like an adder

What Is The Definition Of “Assonance?”

Assonance is a literary technique in which a vowel sound or diphthong is repeated in non-rhyming words. In order to be considered assonance, the words used must be close enough for the sound repetition to be noticed. This device is common in prose and poetry, especially in English verse.

Assonance is closely related to other techniques such as alliteration, consonance, and slant rhyme, as all four techniques include a quick succession of repeated sound.

A combination of alliteration (repeating the use of the same beginning consonant sound) and assonance is often used for tongue twisters, which is why they are so difficult to say without mistakes.

Assonance is often used for the same reasons as alliteration. Assonance can affect the tone, rhythm, or mood of the text. For example, repeating certain vowel sounds, such as short u or short o sounds, may create a melancholy feel.

Examples Of Assonance

There are many English proverbs that make use of assonance. The assonance in these examples make them easier to remember, but in a way that is more subtle than it would be if rhyming words were used.

  • A stitch in time saves nine.
  • The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
  • Let the cat out of the bag.
  • The early bird catches the worm.
  • Honesty is the best policy.

Assonance vs. Rhyming In English Verse

Many people believe that rhyme is a foundation of poetry, but in reality, it was uncommon in Old English verse. Old English did not have many words that rhymed, so poetry primarily used the techniques of meter, rhythm, assonance, and consonance. Only after the Germanic language assimilated words from the Romance languages did rhyme become popular in English poetry.

Rhyme remained a favorite technique in poetry for hundreds of years but has since fallen into disuse in contemporary times. However, consonance, assonance, and alliteration are still used in modern poetry today.

Example of Assonance Used In Poetry 

One of our favorite examples of assonance in poetry comes from Dylan Thomas’s famous poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into The Good Night.”

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight,
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

What’s The Definition Of A Rhyme?

Humpty Dumpty sat on a WALL Humpty Dumpty had a great FALL

Rhymes are a pair of words that commonly appear in poetry that have similar vowel sounds. Using rhymes can give lines of prose a more interesting rhythm. Rhymes are a writing technique that has been in use for centuries.

Traditional Rhymes

In a nutshell, a rhyme consists of two or more words that have the same vowel sound. For example “room” and “boom” are rhymes. “Bat” and “cat” are also rhymes.

However, words don’t need to use the same letters to rhyme. For an example, “ocean” and “motion” rhyme even though they are spelled differently and have different vowels. They rhyme because their vowel sound is the same when read or spoken out loud.

Rhymes can also consist of multiple words. You could rhyme “beach” with “freedom of speech” or “rabbit” with “bad habit.”

Approximate Rhymes

There are in fact other types of rhymes besides vowel sound. Approximate Rhymes are a pair of words that don’t necessarily sound exactly the same. They
sound fairly similar.

Approximate rhymes allow writers to rhyme words that they wouldn’t be able to rhyme otherwise. “Orange” is a word that is famous for not rhyming with anything. However, there are several words that sound similar to “orange.” You could try rhyming “orange” with “abhorrence” and “porridge” and get the effect that you want.

Another example is the pair of words “love” and “grudge”. In songs, “girl” and “world” are commonly used.

Is Rhyming Essential?

A lot of people think that you have to use rhymes when writing a poem. However, that isn’t actually the case. The choice of whether or not to use a rhyme is entirely up to the writer. The writer also has to decide how the rhyme is structured.

Some writers rhyme the ending word of every phrase. Others rhyme the ending word of every other phrase. There are many different ways to use rhymes.

Examples of Rhymes in Poetry

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe is a poem that uses rhyme. Throughout the poem they rhyming structure changes. In the first stanza, it’s an ABABAB patter. In Stanza’s 2-4 its just the B lines that rhyme. In Stanza 5 its ABBABCB and the last stanza is ABABCCBB.

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

The Definition Of Metaphor

Writers don’t always say exactly what they mean. Sometimes, writers use vivid expressions so that they can more accurately convey the feeling behind their words. This is known as a metaphor. A metaphor is one of many different types of literary devices. When a writer uses a metaphor, they use words or phrases to describe a situation even if those particular words don’t literally apply to the situation.

Metaphors can be found in the work of nearly every writer. As a matter of fact, metaphors are considered to be an essential component of writing. With that said, you need to select the metaphors that you use with care.

Find Metaphors That Other People Can Understand

Metaphors should make your intent more clear, not less clear. The metaphors you use need to be something that your reader can understand.

When you select a metaphor, you need to think about whether or not that metaphor makes sense to other people. Have people read over your work. Ask them if they understand your metaphors. If your intent isn’t coming through, you may have to use a different metaphor in your work.

Find Metaphors That Are Vivid And Expressive

While you should pick broad metaphors, you shouldn’t use a metaphor to say something bland or cliché. You should try to pick metaphors that are vivid and expressive. When people read over your metaphors, a clear image should appear in their head.

We do tend to discuss metaphors in song lyrics but metaphors are used in poetry quite often.

Common Metaphors

  • a sheet of snow
  • a heart of gold
  • elephant in the room
  • love is a battlefield
  • stench of failure

Metaphors in Poetry

One of the most famous metaphors used in Poetry is found in William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 also known as Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

In this poem, Shakespeare is using a Summer’s Day as a metaphor for love.

The Definition Of Simile

A lot of people get the terms “simile” and “metaphor” confused. When writers use a simile they are making a comparison between two things directly usually using the words “like” or “as”.

All similes are metaphors because you are making a comparison between two things, but not all metaphors are similes because similes refer to a comparison as previously mentioned with using the words “like” or “as”.

Similes are usually used by writers to help describe something. For example, a simile to describe the rain that was falling down from the sky and it was painful, you might say something along the lines of “the rain was like sharp needles pouring down from the sky.” If you wanted to use a metaphor, but not a simile, you could say something like “razor sharp needles poured down from the sky.” Because we know that rain falls from the sky, we still understand that the razor sharp needs are rain and not to take it in the literal sense. But to be safe and to make sure the reader doesn’t misinterpret the work, a lot of writers prefer to use similes over metaphors.

Examples of Similes In Everyday Language

  • as cute as a kitten
  • as busy as a bee
  • as light as a feather
  • fought like cats and dogs
  • boring as watching paint dry
  • sitting like a bump on a log

Example of Similes in Poetry

One of the most famous examples of a simile in a poem is none other than Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The last line of the poem compares the star to a diamond. And based on science, we know that he’s not far off as carbon is what makes diamonds and is also found in stars! But of course, we know that stars are not diamonds in the literal sense.

“Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.”

The Meaning of Euphenism

In our everyday speech as well as writing there is a device that is commonly used called a euphemism. It is a word or phrase that is given to another word or phrase unrelated to the object or term being spoken of. It is commonly understood as a gentler or less harsh way of putting things.

For instance, a company that lays its employees off will make cuts to various employees. It is a common euphemism to refer to the cuts as downsizing. Another euphemism example is letting someone go for firing a person. Someone who is homeless may be spoken of with a euphemism term like “on the streets.”

There are different types such as the phonetic type. This pertains to the spoken abbreviation of an otherwise offensive term. Jeez is a shortened phonetic euphemism for Jesus which in many instances would be an offensive name to shout in public because there are people who feel the name must be revered.

Euphemisms can differ slightly from politically correct statements. If someone is visually impaired it often means that they are blind. However, the term could be construed as a euphemism but in actuality, it is a perfectly appropriate description for those who are blind or who cannot see well. It is a broad term that applies to different levels of difficulty seeing. It serves as a clearer indication of what a speaker or writer is referring to when they use the phrase visually impaired.

Common Types of Euphemisms

Abbreviations such as B.O.instead of body odor
Foreign words such as faux pas instead of mistake
Abstraction such as before I go instead of before I die
Longer words such as perspiration instead of sweat
Technical words such as gluteus maximus instead of butt
Mispronunciations such as darn instead of damn

Example of Euphemism In Literature

In this line of dialogue from Othello, Iago the main villain of the story tells the King the following:

“I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.”

Beast with the two backs is a euphemism for the act of sexual relations.

The Definition Of Diction

When you are writing a poem or a piece of prose, you have to think carefully about your diction. Diction is a term used to describe the process of choosing the words and phrases that you use within your writing. If you select each word with care, you’ll be able to say things in a more concise and effective way.

Many writers only have a limited understanding of the concept of diction. If you deepen your understanding of diction, you’ll become a much more effective writer. When selecting words there are three things to keep in mind:

  1. The word is accurate
  2. The word fits within the context of the piece
  3. The word is easily understandable

Finding Words With The Right Sound

When you’re selecting words, you can’t just think about their meaning. You also have to think about the way they sound. Many famous poets, like T.S. Elliot, are known for playing with alliteration. Considering the number of syllables in a word is also important.

It’s a good idea to use a thesaurus when you write. That way, you can experiment with different words and find one with the kind of sound that you want.

Eliminating Unnecessary Words

When a writer uses too many words, it can be difficult to determine what they are actually trying to say. Unneeded words can cloud your intent and remove clarity from your writing.

When you’re focusing on your diction, you need to think about whether or not a word is improving your piece. Don’t be afraid to cut words that are making your intent less clear.

Types of Diction

As mention in #2, context is important when selecting words. In certain situations, you need to be formal and have formal diction and there are other times where we can be a bit more relaxed and use informal diction. You speak to your boss in a different manner than you’d speak to a friend. Also don’t forget about slang and colloquialisms – an overuse of these can leave the reader confused.

Example of Diction in Poetry

“A frosty winter night – my love,
Chill wind whispers sweet adoration.
Binds my body with the finest wool,
The darkest of sweet sensations.”
John Anderson, Night, My Lover

In the above excerpt from Night, My Lover by John Anderson, notice how he uses words with ‘w’ and ‘s’ sounds. He did this to portray peaceful calming feelings when reading the poem. In the even that John said “Cold gales talk sugary love”, the meaning or feeling of the poem would completely change. This is how fiction comes into play when writing poetry and evoking a feeling.

What Is The Definition Of Allusion?

Don Quixote

An allusion is a quick but indirect reference made of a place, thing, or person, or a reference to an idea of cultural, historical, political or literary importance. This reference does not describe the person or thing in detail but is merely a passing comment.

The writer of the allusion expects that the reader will have enough knowledge of the person or thing that he or she will be able to recognize it and grasp its importance.

For example, a literary allusion would be, “I don’t support this quixotic idea.” In this instance, quixotic would imply that the idea is “ridiculous and impractical” which is a reference or allusion to “Don Quixote,” a story by Cervantes about the misadventures of a foolish and delusional knight.

More Allusion Examples

  • “The estate’s lavish landscape was like a Garden of Eden.” This biblical allusion refers to the garden from which Adam and Eve were banished in the book of Genesis.
  • “That Kevin is quite the Romeo.” Romeo is a literary allusion to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” a play about star-crossed lovers.
  • “Ever since he landed that acting role, he’s gone all ‘Hollywood’ on us.” This modern-day allusion refers to a place Hollywood, which is known for movies, actors, shallow personalities and big egos.
  • “That candidate is just another Nixon.” This is a political allusion that refers to Richard Nixon’s reputation for being a liar and untrustworthy.

The Use Of Allusion

Allusions are often used by writers to distill a complex idea or emotion down into a simple word or phrase. The writer can convey an atmosphere, a character trait, or an emotion using a brief allusion.

The writer can also appeal to a certain audience and gain their favor by using allusions to a subject of which the readers are comfortable or partial to. For example, using biblical allusions in order to appeal to readers with religious backgrounds.

Use of Allusion In Poetry

One famous example of an allusion in poetry is found in Keats’s “Ode To Grecian Urn.”

Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?”

In this verse, Sylvan is a reference to the half man/half goat deity in Greek Mythology.