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Poem of the Year

PEACEMAKER

By: Jonathan Tafreg


Keep preaching your peace,

While people are fighting war,

One thing you don’t understand.


You want holy kiss,

Your mouth full of neither nor,

This too you don’t understand.


Your belly don’t miss,

You want us to suffer more,

But still you don’t understand.


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LITERARY DEVICES: PART III Gradu311
Jonathan Tafreg is a Tanzanian poet, singer, novelist, linguist and a teacher. He was born in 1985 and studied Bachelor of Arts with Education from Teofilo Kisanji University and graduated in 2015. He has taught English language in different schools and colleges across the country and has written dozens of books and pamphlets about English Grammar and Literature. He is the Pioneer of Tafreg Heritage English Academy.

Hotline: +255759988648

LITERARY DEVICES: PART III Jo_afr12

LITERARY DEVICES: PART III

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LITERARY DEVICES: PART III Empty LITERARY DEVICES: PART III

Post by Jo Africa on Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:39 pm

LITOTES
Litotes are figures of rhetoric speech that use an understated statement of an affirmative by using a negative description. Rarely talked about, but commonly used in modern day conversations, litotes are a discreet way of saying something unpleasant without directly using negativity. Sometimes it has been called an ironical understatement and/or an avoidance of a truth which can be either positive or negative. Common examples: “I'm not feeling bad,” or “he's definitely not a rocket scientist.” The actual meanings are: “I am feeling well,” and “he is not smart.” Litotes were used frequently in Old English Poetry and Literature, and can be found in the English, Russian, German, Dutch and French languages.

Example: In everyday conversations in the 21st century, one may hear expressions like:
1)      “not the brightest bulb”
2)      “not a beauty”
3)      “not bad”
4)      “not unfamiliar”

These are all examples of negative litotes that mean the opposite: “a dim bulb, or dumb,” “plain in appearance,” “good,” and “knows very well.” Perhaps our society is not trying to be humorous or sarcastic, but kinder. Sometimes double negatives in literature, music and films create a litotes that was not intended; for instance in the Rolling Stones hit “I Can't Get No Satisfaction,” actually means “I CAN receive satisfaction.” Perhaps some best description litotes are found in the bible: take for instance, Jeremiah 30:19: “I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be small.” Correctly interpreted, he is saying “there will be many and they will be great or large.”
 
MALAPROPISM
Malapropism in literature refers to the practice of misusing words by substituting words with similar sounding words that have different, often unconnected meanings, and thus creating a situation of confusion, misunderstanding and amusement. Malapropism is used to convey that the speaker or character is flustered, bothered, unaware or confused and as a result cannot employ proper diction. A trick to using malapropism is to ensure that the two words (the original and the substitute) sound similar enough for the reader to catch onto the intended switch and find humor in the result. Example: In the play “Much Ado About Nothing”, noted playwright William Shakespeare’s character Dogberry says, "Our watch, sir, have indeed comprehended two auspicious persons." Instead, what the character means to say is “"Our watch, sir, have indeed apprehended two suspicious persons."
 
METAPHOR
Metaphors are one of the most extensively used literary devices. A metaphor refers to a meaning or identity ascribed to one subject by way of another. In a metaphor, one subject is implied to be another so as to draw a comparison between their similarities and shared traits. The first subject, which is the focus of the sentences, is usually compared to the second subject, which is used to convey a degree of meaning that is used to characterize the first. The purpose of using a metaphor is to take an identity or concept that we understand clearly (second subject) and use it to better understand the lesser known element (the first subject). Example: “Henry was a lion on the battlefield”. This sentence suggests that Henry fought so valiantly and bravely that he embodied all the personality traits we attribute to the ferocious animal. This sentence implies immediately that Henry was courageous and fearless, much like the King of the Jungle.

METONYMY
Metonymy in literature refers to the practice of not using the formal word for an object or subject and instead referring to it by using another word that is intricately linked to the formal name or word. It is the practice of substituting the main word with a word that is closely linked to it. Example: When we use the name “Washington D.C” we are talking about the U.S’ political hot seat by referring to the political capital of the United States because all the significant political institutions such as the White House, Supreme Court, the U.S. Capitol and many more are located here. The phrase “Washington D.C.” is metonymy for the government of the U.S. in this case.
 
MOOD
The literary device ‘mood’ refers to a definitive stance the author adopts in shaping a specific emotional perspective towards the subject of the literary work. It refers to the mental and emotional disposition of the author towards the subject, which in turn lends a particular character or atmosphere to the work. The final tone achieved thus is instrumental in evoking specific, appropriate responses from the reader. Example: In Erich Segal’s Love Story, the relationship of the two protagonists is handled with such beauty, delicateness and sensitivity that the reader is compelled to feel the trials and tribulations of the characters.
 
MOTIF
The literary device ‘motif’ is any element, subject, idea or concept that is constantly present through the entire body of literature. Using a motif refers to the repetition of a specific theme dominating the literary work. Motifs are very noticeable and play a significant role in defining the nature of the story, the course of events and the very fabric of the literary piece. Example: In many famed fairytales, the motif of a ‘handsome prince’ falling in love with a ‘damsel in distress’ and the two being bothered by a wicked step mother, evil witch or beast and finally conquering all to live ‘happily ever after’ is a common motif. Another common motif is the simple, pretty peasant girl or girl from a modest background in fairytales discovering that she is actually a royal or noble by the end of the tale.
 
NEGATIVE CAPABILITY
The use of negative capability in literature is a concept promoted by poet John Keats, who was of the opinion that literary achievers, especially poets, should be able to come to terms with the fact that some matters might have to be left unsolved and uncertain. Keats was of the opinion that some certainties were best left open to imagination and that the element of doubt and ambiguity added romanticism and specialty to a concept. Example: The best references of the use of negative capability in literature would be of Keats’ own works, especially poems such as Ode on a Grecian Urn and Ode to a Nightingale.
 
NEMESIS
In literature, the use of a nemesis refers to a situation of poetic justice wherein the positive characters are rewarded and the negative characters are penalized. The word also sometimes refers to the character or medium by which this justice is brought about as Nemesis was the patron goddess of vengeance according to classical mythology. Example: In the popular book series Harry Potter, the protagonist Harry Potter is the nemesis of the evil Lord Voldemort.
 
ONOMATOPOEIA
The term ‘onomatopoeia’ refers to words whose very sound is very close to the sound they are meant to depict. In other words, it refers to sound words whose pronunciation to the actual sound they represent. Example: Words such as grunt, huff, buzz and snap are words whose pronunciation sounds very similar to the actual sounds these words represent. In literature such words are useful in creating a stronger mental image. For instance, sentences such as “the whispering of the forest trees” or “the hum of a thousand bees” or “the click of the door in the nighttime” create vivid mental images.
 
OXYMORON
Oxymoron is a significant literary device as it allows the author to use contradictory, contrasting concepts placed together in a manner that actually ends up making sense in a strange, and slightly complex manner. An oxymoron is an interesting literary device because it helps to perceive a deeper level of truth and explore different layers of semantics while writing.
Example:
1.      Sometimes we cherish things of little value.
2.      He possessed a cold fire in his eyes.
 
PARADOX
A paradox in literature refers to the use of concepts or ideas that are contradictory to one another, yet, when placed together hold significant value on several levels. The uniqueness of paradoxes lies in the fact that a deeper level of meaning and significance is not revealed at first glance, but when it does crystallize, it provides astonishing insight. Example: High walls make not a palace; full coffers make not a king.
 
PATHETIC FALLACY
Pathetic fallacy is a type of literary device whereby the author ascribes the human feelings of one or more of his or her characters to nonhuman objects or nature or phenomena. It is a type of personification, and is known to occur more by accident and less on purpose. Example: The softly whistling teapot informed him it was time for breakfast.
 
PERIODIC STRUCTURE
In literature, the concept of a periodic structure refers to a particular placement of sentence elements such as the main clause of the sentence and/or its predicate are purposely held off and placed at the end instead of at the beginning or their conventional positions. In such placements, the crux of the sentence’s meaning does not become clear to the reader until they reach the last part. While undeniably confusing at first, a periodic structure lends flair of drama and romanticism to a sentence and is greatly used in poetry. Example: Instead of writing, “brokenhearted and forlorn she waited till the end of her days for his return” one may write, “for his return, brokenhearted and forlorn, waited she till the end of her days”.
 
PERIPHRASIS
The term ‘periphrasis’ refers to the use of excessive language and surplus words to convey a meaning that could otherwise be conveyed with fewer words and in more direct a manner. The use of this literary device can be to embellish a sentence, to create a grander effect, to beat around the bush and to draw attention away from the crux of the message being conveyed. Example: Instead of simply saying “I am displeased with your behavior”, one can say, “The manner in which you have conducted yourself in my presence of late has caused me to feel uncomfortable and has resulted in my feeling disgruntled and disappointed with you”.
 
PERSONIFICATION
Personification is one of the most commonly used and recognized literary devices. It refers to the practice of attaching human traits and characteristics with inanimate objects, phenomena and animals.
Example:
1.      “The raging winds”
2.      “The wise owl”
3.      “The warm and comforting fire”
 
PLOT
The plot usually refers to the sequence of events and happenings that make up a story. There is usually a pattern, unintended or intentional, that threads the plot together. The plot basically refers to the main outcome and order of the story. There is another kind of plot in literature as well; it refers to the conflict or clash occurring as a part of the story. The conflict usually follows 3 regular formats: a) characters in conflict with one another b) characters in conflict with their surroundings and c) characters in conflict with themselves.
Example: Many date movies follow a similar simple plot. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back in the end.
 
POINT OF VIEW
Point of view is the manner in which a story is narrated or depicted and who it is that tells the story. Simply put, the point of view determines the angle and perception of the story unfolding, and thus influences the tone in which the story takes place. The point of view is instrumental in manipulating the reader’s understanding of the narrative. In a way, the point of view can allow or withhold the reader access into the greater reaches of the story. Two of the most common point of view techniques are the first person, wherein the story is told by the narrator from his or her standpoint and the third person wherein the narrator does not figure in the events of the story and tells the story by referring to all characters and places in the third person with third person pronouns and proper nouns. Example: In the popular Lord of the Rings book series, the stories are narrated in the third person and all happenings are described from an “outside the story” point of view. Contrastingly, in the popular teen book series, Princess Diaries, the story is told in the first person, by the protagonist herself.
 
POLYSYNDETON
Polysyndeton refers to the process of using conjunctions or connecting words frequently in a sentence, placed very close to one another, opposed to the usual norm of using them sparsely; only where they are technically needed. The use of polysyndetons is primarily for adding dramatic effect as they have a strong rhetorical presence.
Example:
  1.Saying “here and there and everywhere”, instead of simply saying “here, there and everywhere”.
  2.“Marge and Susan and Anne and Daisy and Barry all planned to go for a picnic”, instead of “Marge, Susan, Anne, Daisy and Barry…” emphasizes each of the individuals and calls attention to every person one by one instead of assembling them as a group.
 
PORTMANTEAU
In literature, this device refers to the practice of joining together two or more words in order to create an entirely new word. This is often done in order to create a name or word for something by combining the individual characteristics of 2 or more other words.
Example:
   1.The word “smog” is a portmanteau that was built combining “fog” and “smoke” and “smog” has the properties of both fog and smoke.
  2. Liger= Lion + Tiger= A hybrid of the two feline species, possessing characteristics of both.
 
PROLOGUE
A prologue can be understood to be a sort of introduction to a story that usually sets the tone for the story and acts as a bit of a backgrounder or a “sneak peek” into the story. Prologues are typically a narrative ‘spoken’ by one of the characters and not from the part of the author.
Example:
1.      "The origin of this story is..."
2.      “It all began one day when…”
 
PUNS
Puns are a very popular literary device wherein a word is used in a manner to suggest two or more possible meanings. This is generally done to the effect of creating humor or irony or wryness. Puns can also refer to words that suggest meanings of similar-sounding words. The trick is to make the reader have an “ah!” moment and discover 2 or more meanings. Example: Santa’s helpers are known as subordinate Clauses.

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