Literary Devices

3.2.3

          Literary devices can help your message come alive and help you connect with your audience more. The connection may be unconscious or subliminal with your audience. If you use them well, they create an underlying dimension supporting your message that may not be obvious to the listener. 

Rhythm

Rhythm is the regular and varied intonation and intensity of words.

          Rhythm is the regular and varied intonation and intensity of words. Rhythm helps listeners feel the meaning and perhaps have a stronger—more personal—connection to your meaning.

Example: Beats in music.

Example: Ebb and flow of the ocean.

Repetition

Repetition is a repeated word or phrase such as in a poem or prose.

          Repetition is a repeated word or phrase such as in a poem or prose. Repetition has a more rhetorical use, helping create rhythm and can be used to reinforce ideas or to bring attention to a word, thought, or phrase.

Example: “Speaking for good, for hope, and for future.”

Simile 

Similes are the comparison of two items using "like" or "as."

          Similes are the comparison of two items using “like” or “as.” Often similes help to paint a picture in the audiences’ mind or make the picture more vivid.

Example: “She is as talented as an Academy Award winner!”

Example: “Life is like a box of chocolates.” - Forrest Gump

Metaphors are representations of another meaning or something and are applied to an object or thought that is not directly related.

Metaphor

          Metaphors are representations of another meaning of something and are applied to an object or thought that it is not directly related in order to enhance the meaning or offer a different perspective.

Example: “The math homework was a breeze.”

Antithesis

Antithesis is something directly opposite of something or someone else.

          An antithesis is something or someone directly opposite of something or someone else.

Example: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” - President John F. Kennedy

Alliteration

Alliteration is the use of the same letter or sound at the beginning of a word that is closely connected or adjacent to another word.

          Alliteration is the use of the same letter or sound at the beginning of a word that is closely connected or adjacent to another word.

Example: “Nothing great is accomplished without cooperation, compromise, and common cause.” - Ban Ki-moon

Parallelism

Parallelism is the balance or use of similar words or phrases to help provide rhythm, phrasing, or connection.

          Parallelism is the balance or use of similar words or phrases to help provide rhythm, phrasing, or connection. You may use parallelism as you write your speech by wording the main points the same to help your listeners recognize each point and their connection to your overall thesis or central idea.

Example: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” - President John F. Kennedy

Example: “We will show you how the internet has changed society, how the internet has made things better, and how the internet has made things worse.”

Review Questions

1) The use of similar words or phrases to provide rhythm, phrasing, or connection is what literary device?

2) President John F. Kennedy's famous "ask not..." speech is an example of what type of literary device?

3) Write a metaphor about your favorite musical artist, professional athlete, or best friend.

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