Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Answer Key" Figures of Speech

[NOTE: As promised, an "answer key," or really more of a guideline. After a brief consultation with Dale, it was pointed out to me that some of these are quite good examples of figures of speech we do not cover in this class. Insofar as we restrict ourselves to having to rely on the 20 or so we learned, rather than the 65 that were required as part of the Rennaissance curriculum on rhetoric, below are suggestions for likeliest candidate(s). Be reassured, though, that the exam's format will facilitate having to choice between, say, paradox and irony or metonymy and synecdoche.]

i am a poster girl with no poster
"32 Flavors," Ani Difranco
[Paradox: roughly, she’s an x without x! yet the statement retains a definite provocative sense; it isn’t pure nonsense; I realize some may have put Antanclasis, but I’d say that’s subsidiary, or less compelling of an answer, to paradox in this example]

the Berlin Wall still runs down Main Street
“Subdivision,” Ani Difranco
[metonymy: contiguity of the physical and social act of separating, dividing: i.e. East from West or Socialist from Capitalist for “Berlin Wall” and black from white or rich from poor, with respect to “Main Street”]

Envy is the ulcer of the soul. [metaphor]

I am not young enough to know everything.
-Oscar Wilde
[paradox or irony? undecided.]

Who got tha power
This be my question
Tha mass of tha few in this torn nation?
Tha priest tha book or tha congregation?
Tha politricks who rob and hold down your zone?
Or those who give tha thieves tha key to their homes?
Tha pig who's free to murder one Shucklak
Or survivors who make a move and murder one back?
"Mic Check" Rage Against the Machine
[Rhetorical Question(s) throughout; but also Metaphor (i.e. pig), Synecdoche (i.e. the “priest” or “book” as a species for the genus Religion or Authority, etc.), enallage (i.e. this be my question…), etc. and plenty more.]

So I grip tha cannon like Fanon an pass tha shells to my classmates
"Year of the Boomerang" Rage Against the Machine
[catachresis with respect to the use of the term “shells” (i.e. weaponry) in an unfamiliar, or un-usual, context, namely, that of the classroom and education rather than, say, an artillery unit or combat zone. I realize some may have said assonance for ‘cannon’ and ‘Fanon’, which isn’t technically wrong… ]

Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery. -Malcolm X

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much. [irony.]
-Oscar Wilde

the sun is setting on the century [metaphor]
“To the Teeth,” Ani Difranco

Be sincere; be brief; be seated. [illiteration & isocolon, for our purposes]
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat. [chiasmus, for our purposes]

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.
-Franklin D. Roosevelt [chiasmus, for our purposes]

Don't be afraid to see what you see. [antanaclasis]
-Ronald Reagan

In heaven all the interesting people are missing. [irony]
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Military justice is to justice what military music is to music. [isocolon, as it’s medium, and oxymoron, as the overall point with respect to the notion of ‘military justice’]
-Groucho Marx

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt [“that you’re a fool.” would finish the statement; thus, ellipsis]
-Abraham Lincoln

I think it would be a good idea. [ellipsis & irony]
-Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization

If I treat you kindly does it mean that I'm weak? [rhetorical question]
“Forgive Them Father,” Lauryn Hill

“Herb is the healing of a nation, alcohol is the destruction [of a nation]” [ellipsis]
Bob Marley

Homer no function beer well without. [enallage]
-Homer Simpson

“Good grief!” [oxymoron]
-Charlie Brown

Reason's last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things which are beyond it. [paradox: the last step is really only the first step!?... contradiction that retains meaning, tells a truth of some sort]

Said of a scratch: Look at this wound! [hyperbole]

Said of an amputated leg.: "It's just a flesh wound" [litotes… and, yes, it strongly resembles irony, which is not surprising: litotes is often employed to produce irony]
—Monty Python and the Holy Grail

It would be unseemly of me to speculate about Senator Obama’s ties to 60s radical Mr. Ayer, nor would it be useful to dwell, as so many others have, on the extremist beliefs of his spiritual mentor, the Reverend Wright…

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls. [prosopopoeia, animating the inanimate, namely, the moon]
-George Carlin

I tended to place my wife under a pedestal. [irony, for our purposes]
-Woody Allen

And tha riot be tha rhyme of tha unheard [enallage, if nothing else]
"Calm Like a Bomb" Rage Against the Machine

I cannot live without books. [hyperbole]
-Thomas Jefferson

Circumstances rule men and not men rule circumstances. [chiasmus, for our purposes]

What then did you expect when you unbound the gag that had muted those black mouths? That they would chant your praises? Did you think that when those heads that our fathers had forcibly bowed down to the ground were raised again, you would find adoration in their eyes? "Black Orpheus," Jean-Paul Sartre
[rhetorical question]

you had an army of suits behind you [I’d say: metaphor for ‘army’, substituting for a given collection of agents, metonymy for ‘suits’.. as contiguity of ‘suits’, the body/corps/corpus, standing in for corporate attorneys and executives… ]
"Napoleon," Ani Difranco

We made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all. [litotes]
-Ronald Reagan, Farewell Address to the Nation, January 20, 1989)

What a pity that youth must be wasted on the young. [paradox or irony? or both?]
-George Bernard Shaw

yes, it's part of a pair
there on the bow of noah's ark
the most prestigious couple
just kickin back parked
against a perfectly blue sky
on a morning beatific
in its indian summer breeze
on the day that america
fell to its knees
"Self Evident" Ani Difranco, referring to the events of September 11, 2001 [prosopopoeia]

I must be cruel only to be kind. [paradox: I must be x in order to be not x! yet it has meaning…]
-Shakespeare, Hamlet

The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope. [irony]
Karl Marx

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. [assonance, for our purposes]
Benjamin Franklin

friendly fire [oxymoron]

"Give us this day our daily bread." [synecdoche, “bread” as species of genus “food” or “nourishment”]
-- Matthew 6:11

They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?
--Fidel Castro [rhetorical question, if nothing else]

We know the road to freedom has always been stalked by death. [prosopopoeia]
--Angela Davis

Graduate student instructor [yes, exactly…]

The Democrats have unfortunately become so enamored and beholden to Wall Street that we are not functioning to defend the economic interest of the broad base of the American people. This is an outrage. This was democracy’s Black Friday.
-Dennis Kucinich, referring to the bailout legislation [metonymy for Wall Street as well as for Black Friday]

Why would I highlight Governor Palin’s lack of foreign diplomacy experience, or her questionable knowledge of economic principles, if the true nature of my talk today is… [occultatio]

The buzzing of innumerable bees. [onomatapoeia]

1 comment:

karenb said...

Some questions:

"The sun is setting on the century."

--I can see how "century" is standing in for something, but isn't alliteration at play here too (s-un, s-etting, ce-ntury) Or assonance,with "set" and "cen," for that matter?

"Don't be afraid to see what you see."

-- Why is this antanaclasis? Simply from the repetition of "see?"

"We made a difference in the city...All in all, not bad, not bad at all."

-- Could this be antanaclasis (like the "see" and "see" one above) because of repetition of "all" and "bad?" Or is it that antanaclasis is a vehicle for the litotes going on?

"The democrats have become so enamored and beholden to Wall Street..."

-- I can see how Wall Street acts metonymically; could it also be persopopeia, since Wall Street seems to be seducing the dems?

Thank you.