Figurative Language: Schemes

The pattern of words
Device: Rhyme
the repetition of the same sound at the
ends of words.
 "Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here,
To watch his woods fill up with snow."
(Robert Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy
Rhyme in the movies…
 "Hey, why don't I just go eat some hay, make things out
of clay, lay by the bay? I just may! What do ya say?"
(Happy Gilmore, 1996)
Device: Slant Rhyme
rhymes that are close but not exact.
 From Emily Dickinson's “Heart, We Will Forget Him!”
The Mind is Smooth - no Motion Contented as the Eye
Upon the Forehead of a Bust That knows - it cannot see.
While "eye" does not perfectly rhyme with "see," the words are
similar enough in sound to constitute a slant rhyme.
So what’s the effect of slant rhyme?
 The effect of this rhyme is haunting, off-putting.
 Example:
The Mind is Smooth - no Motion Contented as the Eye
Upon the Forehead of a Bust That knows - it cannot see.
 Dickinson is striking a somber note with these lines, which
matches the content. Dickinson's reference to the eye on the
"forehead of a bust" is perhaps referencing a statue of a
cyclops, which, since there are no real cyclops, knows it
cannot see. To compare the mind to such a thing is a striking,
creative and somewhat disconcerting metaphor. This effect is
reinforced by the slant rhyme.
Slant Rhyme (continued)
From Nas's song “NY State of Mind”:
“I got so many rhymes I don't think I'm too sane,
Life is parallel to Hell but I must maintain,
and be prosperous, though we live dangerous,
cops could just arrest me, blaming us, we're held like hostages.”
• “sane” and “maintain” are perfect rhymes
• “dangerous” and “hostages” are slant rhymes
So what’s the point/effect?
 In this rap, Nas is discussing his own feelings of living life as a
black man.
 His life is "like Hell" in part because it's "dangerous" and
police discrimination makes Nas feel like a "hostage" to the
police, or, maybe, to the system in general.
 The perfect rhyme at the beginning of the rap seem to mirror
the idea of "maintaining" as though somehow his rhymes are
both his sanity and his insanity.
 The slant rhymes at the end emphasize his incisive, fromthe-heart message. The fact that "hostages" doesn't perfectly
rhyme makes this word jump out in the rap, setting it apart as
the worst feeling of all.
Perfect rhyme or slant rhyme?
“Yeah, ever since I’ve been long gone,
I traded in my senorita for a microphone”
--Timbaland, “Say Something”
2. “Picture perfect memories,
Scattered all around the floor.
Reaching for the phone cause, I can't fight it any more.
And I wonder if I ever cross your mind.
For me it happens all the time.”
--Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”
3. “Overwhelmed, you chose to run
Apathetic to the stunned
It's your decision”
--Alice in Chains, “Your Decision”
Device: Alliteration
 the repetition of the same sound at the beginning
of words next to each other.
 Peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
 "The soul selects her own society."
(Emily Dickinson)
 "The daily diary of the American dream."
(slogan of The Wall Street Journal)
Alliteration, cont.
More examples:
 "You'll never put a better bit of butter on your knife."
(advertising slogan for Country Life butter)
 “Repression is the only lasting philosophy…the dark
deference of fear and slavery, my friend, will keep the dogs
obedient to the whip.”
(Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)
So what’s the effect of alliteration?
 It always draws the audience’s attention because of the
repetition of sounds…so your job is to figure out WHY
those words are meant to draw focus.
Example: “The dark deference of fear and slavery”
creates an emphasis on the evil (dark) respect
(deference) the Marquis demands.
Device: Assonance
 Assonance – the repetition of vowel sounds in the
middle of words close to each other
 Mellow wedding bells.
 "I must confess that in my quest I felt depressed and
(Thin Lizzy, "With Love")
 "Strips of tinfoil winking like people"
(Sylvia Plath, "The Bee Meeting")
So what’s the effect of assonance?
It sets a tone or mood for the piece by creating euphony
or cacophony.
“I must confess that in my quest I felt depressed and
restless” has multiple “e” sounds leading into several
cacophonic words. This makes the sentence read very
quickly, which reinforces the speaker’s restlessness.
Device: Consonance
the repetition consonant sounds in the middle or ends of
words close to each other
 bed / rid
 Leave / love
 Ping / pong
 Middle / muddle
What’s the difference between
alliteration and consonance?
1. Blue baby books are usually used for boys.(alliteration)
2. Happy’s puppies poop on people. (consonance)
Practice: alliteration, assonance, or
The Great Gatsby
2. “2 AM and she calls me 'cause I'm still awake,
can you help me unravel my latest mistake?”
--Anna Nalick, “Breathe”
3. “Rap rejects my tape deck, ejects projectile
Whether Jew or gentile, I rank top percentile.”
--The Fugees, “Zealots”
4. “Hear the lark and hearken to the barking of the dog”
--Pink Floyd, “Grantchester Meadows”
Device: Anaphora
the repetition of the same word or groups of words at the
beginning of successive clauses (a type of parallel
 We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.
Anaphora in the movies…
 "I don't like you sucking around, bothering our
citizens, Lebowski. I don't like your jerk-off name. I
don't like your jerk-off face. I don't like your jerk-off
behavior, and I don't like you, jerk-off."
(Policeman in The Big Lebowski)
Device: Epistrophe
– the repetition of the same word or groups of words
at the end of successive clauses.
 Same idea as anaphora, but at the end of the clause.
"There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured
by what is right with America."
(Bill Clinton)
Epistrophe in the movies…
"Don't you ever talk about my friends!
You don't know any of my friends.
You don't look at any of my friends.
And you certainly wouldn't
condescend to speak to any of
my friends."
(John Bender in The Breakfast Club)
Device: Juxtaposition
The placement of two contrasting ideas next to each
other for comparison
• similar to antithesis, but parallel structure isn’t
• Example
This classroom is sweltering, while the hallway is ice
Juxtaposition in the Movies…
Bruce Willis, as the only
man who survives a fatal
train crash, is juxtaposed
against Samuel L. Jackson’s
character, who has a
condition in which his
bones break easily.