Plan 1. Figures of quantity: hyperbole; meiosis (litotes). 2. Figures of quality: metonymy (synecdoche, periphrasis, euphemism); irony. 3. Figures of contrast: oxymoron; antithesis. 4. Practical assignment Metonymy, another lexical SD, – like metaphor – on losing its originality also becomes instrumental in enriching the vocabulary of the language, though metonymy is created by a different semantic process and is based on contiguity (nearness) of objects or phenomena.
Transference of names in metonymy does not involve a necessity for two different words to have a common component in their semantic structures, as is the case of metaphor, but proceeds from the fact that two objects (phenomena) have common grounds of existence in reality. Such words as “cup” and “tea” have no linguistic semantic nearness, but the first one may serve the container of the second, hence – the conversational cliche “Will you have another cup? “, which is a case of metonymy, once original, but due to long use, no more accepted as a fresh SD. My brass will call your brass,” says one of the characters of A. Hailey’s Airport to another, meaning “My boss will call your boss. ” The transference of names is caused by both bosses being officers, wearing uniform caps with brass cockades. The scope of transference in metonymy is much more limited than that of metaphor, which is quite understandable: the scope of human imagination identifying two objects (phenomena, actions) on the grounds of commonness of one of their innumerable characteristics is boundless while actual relations between objects are more limited.
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This is why metonymy, on the whole,- is a less frequently observed SD, than metaphor. Similar to singling out one particular type of metaphor into the self-contained SD of personification, one type of metonymy – namely, the one, which is based on the relations between a part and the whole – is often viewed independently as synecdoche. As a rule, metonymy is expressed by nouns (less frequently – by substantivized numerals) and is used in syntactical functions characteristic of nouns (subject, object, predicative). Exercise II. Indicate metonymies, state the type of relations between the object named and the bject implied, which they represent, lso pay attention to the degree of their originality, and to their syntactical function: 1. He went about her room, after his introduction, looking at her pictures, her bronzes and clays, asking after the creator of this, the painter of that, where a third thing came from. (Dr. ) 2. She wanted to have a lot of children, and she was glad that things were that way, that the Church approved. Then the little girl died. Nancy broke with Rome the day her baby died. It was a secret break, but no Catholic breaks with Rome casually. (J. O’H. 3. “Evelyn Glasgow, get up out of that chair this minute. ” The girl looked up from her book. “What’s the matter? ” “Your satin. The skirt’ll be a mass of wrinkles in the back. ” (E. F. ) 4. Except for a lack of youth, the guests had no common theme, they seemed strangers among strangers; indeed, each face, on entering, had straggled to conceal dismay at seeing others there. (T. C. ) 5. She saw around her, clustered about the white tables, multitudes of violently red lips, powdered cheeks, cold, hard eyes, self-possessed arrogant faces, and insolent bosoms. (A. B. 6. Dinah, a slim, fresh, pale eighteen, was pliant and yet fragile. (?. ?. ) 7. The man looked a rather old forty-five, for he was already going grey. (K. P. ) 8. The delicatessen owner was a spry and jolly fifty. (T. R. ) 9. “It was easier to assume a character without having to tell too many lies and you brought a fresh eye and mind to the job. ” (P. ) 10. “Some remarkable pictures in this room, gentlemen. A Holbein, two Van Dycks and if I am not mistaken, a Velasquez. I am interested in pictures. ” (Ch. ) 11. You have nobody to blame but yourself.
The saddest words of tongue or pen. (I. Sh. ) 12. For several days he took an hour after his work to make inquiry taking with him some examples of his pen and inks. (Dr. ) 13. There you are at your tricks again. The rest of them do earn their bread; you live on my charity. (E. Br. ) 14. I crossed a high toll bridge and negotiated a no man’s land and came to the place where the Stars and Stripes stood shoulder to shoulder with the Union Jack. (J. St. ) 15. The praise was enthusiastic enough to have delighted any common writer who earns his living by his pen. S. M. ) 16. He made his way through the perfume and conversation. (I. Sh. ) 17. His mind was alert and people asked him to dinner not for old times’ sake, but because he was worth his salt. (S. M. ) 18. Up the Square, from the corner of King Street, passed a woman in a new bonnet with pink strings, and a new blue dress that sloped at the shoulders and grew to a vast circumference at the hem. Through the silent sunlit solitude of the Square this bonnet and this dress floated northwards in search of romance. (A. B. ) 19.
Two men in uniforms were running heavily to the Administration building. As they ran, Christian saw them throw away their rifles. They were portly men who looked like advertisements for Munich beer, and running came hard to them. The first prisoner stopped and picked up one of the discarded rifles. He did not fire it, but carried it, as he chased the guards. He swung the rifle like a club, and one of the beer advertisements went down (I. Sh. ) Litotes is a two-component structure in which two negations are joined to give a positive evaluation.
Thus “not unkindly” actually means “kindly”, though the positive effect is weakened and some lack of the speaker’s confidence in his statement is implied. The first component of a litotes is always the negative particle “not”, while the second, always negative in semantics, varies in form from a negatively affixed word (as above) to a negative phrase. Litotes is especially expressive when the semantic centre of the whole • structure is stylistically or/and emotionally coloured, as in the case of the following occasional creations: “Her face was not unhandsome” (A. H. ) or “Her face was not unpretty”. K. K. ) The function of litotes has much in common with that of understatement – both weaken the effect of the utterance. The uniqueness of litotes lies in its specific “double negative” structure and in its weakening only the positive evaluation. The Russian term “??????” corresponds only to the English “understatement” as it has no structural or semantic limitations. Exercise IV. Analyse the structure, the semantics and the functions oflitotes: 1. “To be a good actress, she must always work for the truth in what she’s playing,” the man said in a voice not empty of self-love. N. M. ) 2. “Yeah, what the hell,” Anne said and looking at me, gave that not unsour smile. (R. W. ) 3. It was not unnatural if Gilbert felt a certain embarrassment. (E. W. ) 4. The idea was not totally erroneous. The thought did not displease me. (I. M. ) 5. I was quiet, but not uncommunicative; reserved, but not reclusive; energetic at times, but seldom enthusiastic. (Jn. B. ) 6. He had all the confidence in the world, and not without reason. (J. O’H. ) 7. Kirsten said not without dignity: “Too much talking is unwise. ” (Ch. ) 8. No, I’ve had a profession and then a firm to cherish,” said Ravenstreet, not without bitterness. (P. ) 9. I felt I wouldn’t say “no” to a cup of tea. (K. M. ) 10. I wouldn’t say “no” to going to the movies. (E. W. ) 11. “I don’t think you’ve been too miserable, my dear. ” (P. ) 12. Still two weeks of success is definitely not nothing and phone calls were coming in from agents for a week. (Ph. R. ) ASSIGNMENTS FOR SELF-CONTROL 1. What is a litotes? 2. What is there in common between litotes and understatement? 3. Describe most frequently used structures of litotes.
Periphrasis is a very peculiar stylistic device which basically consists of using a roundabout form of expression instead of a simpler one, i. e. of using a more or less complicated syntactical structure instead of a word. Depending on the mechanism of this substitution, periphrases are classified into figurative (metonymic and metaphoric), and logical. The first group is made, in fact, of phrase-metonymies and phrase-metaphors, as you may well see from the following example: “The hospital was crowded with the surgically interesting products of the fighting in Africa” (I. Sh. ) where the extended metonymy stands for “the wounded”.
Logical periphrases are phrases synonymic with the words which were substituted by periphrases: “Mr. Du Pont was dressed in the conventional disguise with which Brooks Brothers cover the shame of American millionaires. ” (M. St. ) “The conventional disguise” stands here for “the suit” and “the shame of American millionaires” — for “the paunch (the belly)”. Because the direct nomination of the not too elegant feature of appearance was substituted by a roundabout description this periphrasis may be also considered euphemistic, as it offers a more polite qualification instead of a coarser one.
The main function of periphrases is to convey a purely individual perception of the described object. To achieve it the generally accepted nomination of the object is replaced by the description of one of its features or qualities, which seems to the author most important for the characteristic of the object, and which thus becomes foregrounded. The often repeated periphrases become trite and serve as universally accepted periphrastic synonyms: “the gentle / soft / weak sex” (women); “my better half (my spouse); “minions of Law” (police), etc. Exercise V.
Analyse the given periphrases from the viewpoint of their semantic type, structure, function and originality: 1. Gargantuan soldier named Dahoud picked Ploy by the head and scrutinized this convulsion of dungarees and despair whose feet thrashed a yard above the deck. (Th. P. ) 2. His face was red, the back of his neck overflowed his collar and there had recently been published a second edition of his chin. (P. G. W. ) 3. His huge leather chairs were kind to the femurs. (R. W. ) 4. “But Pickwick, gentlemen, Pickwick, this ruthless destroyer of . this domestic oasis in the desert of Goswell street! (D. ) 5. He would make some money and then he would come back and marry his dream from Blackwood. (Dr. ) 6. The villages were full of women who did nothing but fight against dirt and hunger and repair the effects of friction on clothes. (A. B. ) 7. The habit of saluting the dawn with a bend of the elbow was a hangover from college fraternity days. (Jn. B. ) 8. I took my obedient feet away from him. (W. G. ) 9. I got away on my hot adolescent feet as quickly as I could. (W. G. ) 10. I am thinking an unmentionable thing about your mother. (I. Sh. ) 11.
Jean nodded without turning and slid between two vermilion-coloured buses so that two drivers simultaneously used the same qualitative word. (G. ) 12. During the previous winter I had become rather seriously ill with one of those carefully named difficulties which are the whispers of approaching age. (J. St. ) 13. A child had appeared among the palms, about a hundred yards along the beach. He was a boy of perhaps six years, sturdy and fair, his clothes torn, his face covered with a sticky mess of fruit. His trousers had been lowered for an obvious purpose and had only een pulled back half-way. (W. G. ) 14. When I saw him again, there were silver dollars weighting down his eyes. (T. C. ) 15. She was still fat after childbirth; the destroyer of her figure sat at the head of the table. (A. B. ) 16. I participated in that delayed Teutonic migration known as the Great War. (Sc. F. ) 17. “Did you see anything in Mr. Pickwick’s manner and conduct towards the opposite sex to induce you to believe all this? ” (D. ) 18. Bill went with him and they returned with a tray of glasses, siphons and other necessaries of life. (Ch. ) 19.
It was the American, whom later we were to learn to know and love as the Gin Bottle King, because of a great feast of arms performed at an early hour in the morning with a container of Mr. Gordon’s celebrated product as his sole weapon. (H. ) 20. Jane set her bathing-suited self to washing the lunch dishes. (Jn. B. ) 21. Naturally, I jumped out of the tub, and before I had thought twice, ran out into the living room in my birthday suit. (?. ?. ) 22. For a single instant, Birch was helpless, his blood curdling in his veins at the imminence of the danger, and his legs refusing their natural and necessary office. T. C. ) 23. The apes gathered around him and he wilted under the scrutiny of the eyes of his little cousins twice removed. (An. C. ) Hyperbole – a stylistic device in which emphasis is achieved through deliberate exaggeration, – like epithet, relies on the foregrounding of the emotive meaning. The feelings and emotions of the speaker are so raffled that he resorts in his speech to intensifying the quantitative or the qualitative aspect of the mentioned object. E. g. : In his famous poem “To His Coy Mistress” Andrew Marvell writes about love: “My vegetable love should grow faster than empires. Hyperbole is one of the most common expressive means of our everyday speech. When we describe our admiration or anger and say “I would gladly see this film a hundred times”, or “I have told it to you a thousand times” – we use trite language hyperboles which, through long and repeated use, have lost their originality and remained signals of the speaker’s roused emotions. Hyperbole may be the final effect of another SD – metaphor, simile, irony, as we have in the cases “He has the tread of a rhinoceros” or “The man was like the Rock of Gibraltar”. Hyperbole can be expressed by all notional parts of speech.
There are words though, which are used in this SD more often than others. They are such pronouns as “all”, ”every”, “everybody” and the like. Cf. : “Calpurnia was all angles and bones” (H. L. ); also numerical nouns (“a million”, “a thousand”), as was shown above; and adverbs of time (“ever”, “never”). The outstanding Russian philologist A. Peshkovsky once stressed the importance of both communicants clearly perceiving that the exaggeration, used by one of them is intended as such and serves not to denote actual quality or quantity but signals the emotional background of the utterance.
If this reciprocal understanding of the intentional nature of the overstatement is absent, hyperbole turns into a mere lie, he said. Hyperbole is aimed at exaggerating quantity or quality. When it is directed the opposite way, when the size, shape, dimensions, characteristic features of the object are hot overrated, but intentionally underrated, we deal with understatement. The mechanism of its creation and functioning is identical with that of hyperbole, and it does not signify the actual state’ of affairs in reality, but presents the latter through the emotionally coloured perception and rendering of the speaker.
It is not the actual diminishing or growing of the object that is conveyed by a hyperbole or understatement. It is a transient subjective impression that finds its realization in these SDs. They differ only in the direction of the flow of roused emotions. English is well known for its preference for understatement in everyday speech – “I am rather annoyed” instead of “I’m infuriated”, “The wind is rather strong” instead of “There’s a gale blowing outside” are typical of British polite speech, but are less characteristic of American English.
Some hyperboles and understatements (both used individually and as the final effect of some other SD) have become fixed, as we have in “Snow White”, or “Liliput”, or “Gargantua”. Trite hyperboles and understatements, reflecting their use in everyday speech, in creative writing are observed mainly in dialogue, while the author’s speech provides us with examples of original SDs, often rather extended or demanding a considerable fragment of the text to be fully understood. Exercise VII. In the following examples concentrate on cases of hyperbole and understatement.
Pay attention to their originality or stateness, to other SDs promoting their effect, to exact words containing the foregrounded emotive meaning: 1. I was scared to death when he entered the room. (S. ) 2. The girls were dressed to kill. (J. Br. ) 3. Newspapers are the organs of individual men who have jockeyed themselves to be party leaders, in countries where a new party is born every hour over a glass of beer in the nearest cafe. (J. R. ) 4. I was violently sympathetic, as usual. (Jn. B. ) 5.
Four loudspeakers attached to the flagpole emitted a shattering roar of what Benjamin could hardly call music, as if it were played by a collection of brass bands, a few hundred fire engines, a thousand blacksmiths’ hammers and the amplified reproduction of a force-twelve wind. (A. S. ) 6. The car which picked me up on that particular guilty evening was a Cadillac limousine about seventy-three blocks long. (J. B. ) 7. Her family is one aunt about a thousand years old. (Sc. F. ) 8. He didn’t appear like the same man; then he was all milk and honey – now he was all starch and vinegar. (D. ) 9.
She was a giant of a woman. Her bulging figure was encased in a green crepe dress and her feet overflowed in red shoes. She carried a mammoth red pocketbook that bulged throughout as if it were stuffed with rocks. (Fl. O’C. ) 10. She was very much upset by the catastrophe that had befallen the Bishops, but it was exciting, and she was tickled to death to have someone fresh to whom she could tell all about it. (S. M. ) 11. Babbitt’s preparations for leaving the office to its feeble self during the hour and a half of his lunch-period were somewhat less elaborate than the plans for a general European War. S. M. ) 12. The little woman, for she was of pocket size, crossed her hands solemnly on her middle. (G. ) 13. We danced on the handkerchief-big space between the speakeasy tables. (R. W. ) 14. She wore a pink hat, the size of a button. (J. R. ) 15. She was a sparrow of a woman. (Ph. L. ) 16. And if either of us should lean toward the other, even a fraction of an inch, the balance would be upset. (O. W. ) 17. He smiled back, breathing a memory of gin at me. (W. G. ) 18. About a very small man in he Navy: this new sailor stood five feet nothing in sea boots. (Th. P. ) 19. She busted herself in her midget kitchen. (T. C. ) 20. The rain had thickened, fish could have swum through the air. (T. C. ) Oxymoron is a stylistic device the syntactic and semantic structures of which come to clashes. In Shakespearian definitions of love, much quoted from his Romeo and Juliet, perfectly correct syntactically, attributive combinations present a strong semantic discrepancy between their members. Cf. : “O brawling love! ? loving hate! heavy lightness! Serious vanity! Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health! ” As is clearly seen from this string of oxymorons, each one of them is a combination of two semantically contradictory notions, that help to emphasize contradictory qualities simultaneously existing in the described phenomenon as a dialectical unity. As a rule, one of the two members of oxymoron illuminates the feature which is universally observed and acknowledged while the other one offers a purely subjective, individual perception of the object.
Thus in an oxymoron we also deal with the foregrounding of emotive meaning, only of a different type than the one observed in previously discussed SDs. The most widely known structure of oxymoron is attributive, so it is easy to believe that the subjective part of the oxymoron is embodied in the attribute-epithet, especially because the latter also proceeds from the foregrounding of the emotive meaning. But there are also others, in which verbs are employed. Such verbal structures as “to shout mutely” (I. Sh. ) or “to cry silently” (M. W. seem to strengthen the idea, which leads to the conclusion that oxymoron is a specific type of epithet. But the peculiarity of an oxymoron lies in the fact that the speaker’s (writer’s) subjective view can be expressed through either of the members of the word combination. Originality and specificity of oxymoron becomes especially evident in non-attributive structures which also, not infrequently, are used to express semantic contradiction, as in “the stree’ damaged by improvements” (O. H. ) or “silence was louder than thunder” (U. ).
Oxymorons rarely become trite, for their components, linked forcibly, repulse each other and oppose repeated use. There are few colloquial oxymorons, all of them showing a high degree of the speaker’s emotional involvement in the situation, as in “damn nice”, “awfully pretty”. Exercise VIII. In the following sentences pay attention to the structure and semantics of oxymorons. Also indicate which of their members conveys the individually viewed feature of the object and which one reflects its generally accepted characteristic: 1. He caught a ride home to the crowded loneliness of the barracks. J. ) 2. Sprinting towards the elevator he felt amazed at his own cowardly courage. (G. M. ) 3. They were a bloody miserable lot – the miserablest lot of men I ever saw. But they were good to me. Bloody good. (J. St. ) 4. He behaved pretty busily to Jan. (D. C. ) 5. Well might he perceive the hanging of her hair in fairest quantity in locks, some curled and some as if it were forgotten, with such a careless care and an art so hiding art that it seemed she would lay them for a pattern. (Ph. S. ) 6. There were some bookcases of superbly unreadable books. (E. W. 7. Absorbed as we were in the pleasures of travel – and I in my modest pride at being the only examinee to cause a commotion – we were over the old Bridge. (W. G. ) 8. “Heaven must be the hell of a place. Nothing but repentant sinners up there, isn’t it? ” (Sh. D. ) 9. Harriet turned back across the dim garden. The lightless light looked down from the night sky. (I. M. ) 10. Sara was a menace and a tonic, my best enemy; Rozzie was a disease, my worst friend. (J. Car. ) 11. It was an open secret that Ray had been ripping his father-in-law off. (D. U. ) 12.
A neon sign reads “Welcome to Reno – the biggest little town in the world. ” (A. M. ) 13. Huck Finn and Holden Caulfield are Good Bad Boys of American literature. (V. ) 14. Haven’t we here the young middle-aged woman who cannot quite compete with the paid models in the fashion magazine but who yet catches our eye? (Jn. H. ) 15. Their bitter-sweet union did not last long. (A. C. ) 16. He was sure the whites could detect his adoring hatred of them. (Wr. ) 17. You have got two beautiful bad examples for parents. (Sc. F. ) 18. He opened up a wooden garage.
The doors creaked. The garage was full of nothing. (R. Ch. ) 19. She was a damned nice woman, too. (H. ) 20. A very likeable young man with a pleasantly ugly face. (A. C. ) In all previously discussed lexical SDs we dealt with various transformations of the logical (denotational) meaning of words, which participated in the creation of metaphors, metonymies, puns, zeugmas, etc. Each of the SDs added expressiveness and originality to the nomination of the object. Evaluation of the named concept was often present too, but it was an optional characteristic, not inherent in any of these SDs.
Their subjectivity relies on the new and fresh look at the object mentioned, which shows the latter from a new and unexpected side. In irony, which is our next item of consideration, subjectivity lies in the evaluation of the phenomenon named. The essence of this SD consists in the foregrounding not of the logical but of the evaluative meaning. The context is arranged so that the qualifying word in irony reverses the direction of the evaluation, and the word positively charged is understood as a negative qualification and (much-much rarer) vice versa.
Irony thus is a stylistic device in which the contextual evaluative meaning of a word is directly opposite to its dictionary meaning, So, like all other SDs, irony does not exist outside the context, which varies from the minimal – a word combination, as in J. Steinbeck’s “She turned with the sweet smile of an alligator,” – to the context of a whole book, as in Ch: Dickens, where one of the remarks of Mr. Micawber, known for his complex, highly bookish and elaborate style of speaking about the most trivial things, is introduced by the author’s words “… Mr. Micawber said in his usual plain manner”.
In both examples the words “sweet” and “plain” reverse their positive meaning into the negative one due to the context, micro- in the first, macro- in the second case. In the stylistic device of irony it is always possible to indicate the exact word whose contextual meaning diametrically opposes its dictionary meaning. This is why this type of irony is called verbal irony. There are very many cases, though, which we regard as irony, intuitively feeling the reversal of the evaluation, but unable to put our finger on the exact word in whose meaning we can trace the contradiction between the said and the implied.
The effect of irony in such cases is created by a number of statements, by the whole of the text. This type of irony is called sustained, and it is formed by the contradiction of the speaker’s (writer’s) considerations and the generally accepted moral and ethical codes. Many examples of sustained irony are supplied by D. Defoe, J. Swift or by such XX-ieth c. writers as S. Lewis, K. Vonnegut, E. Waugh and others. Exercise IV. In the following excerpts you will find mainly examples of verbal irony. Explain what conditions made the realization of the opposite evaluation possible.
Pay attention to the part of speech which is used in irony, also its syntactical function: 1. The book was entitled Murder at Milbury Manor and was a whodunit of the more abstruse type, in which everything turns on whether a certain character, by catching the three-forty-three train at Hilbury and changing into the four-sixteen at Milbury, could have reached Silbury by five-twenty-seven, which would have given him just time to disguise himself and be sticking knives into people at Bilbury by six-thirty-eight. (P. G. W. ) 2.
When the, war broke out she took down the signed photograph of the Kaiser and, with some solemnity, hung it in the men-servants’ lavatory; it was her one combative action. (E. W. ) 3. “I had a plot, a scheme, a little quiet piece of enjoyment afoot, of which the very cream and essence was that this old man and grandchild should be as poor as frozen rats,” and Mr. Brass revealed the whole story, making himself out to be rather a saintlike holy character. (D. ) 4. The lift held two people and rose slowly, groaning with diffidence. (I. M. ) 5.
England has been in a dreadful state for some weeks. Lord Coodle would go out. Sir Thomas Doodle wouldn’t come in, and there being nobody in Great Britain (to speak of) except Coodle and Doodle, there has been no Government (D. ) 6. From her earliest infancy Gertrude was brought up by her aunt. Her aunt had carefully instructed her to Christian principles. She had also taught her Mohammedanism, to make sure. (L. ) 7. She’s a charming middle-aged lady with a face like a bucket of mud and if she has washed her hair since Coolidge’s second term, I’ll eat my spare tire, rim and all. R. Ch. ) 8. With all the expressiveness of a stone Welsh stared at him another twenty seconds apparently hoping to see him gag. (R. Ch. ) 9. “Well. It’s shaping up into a lovely evening, isn’t it? ” “Great,” he said. “And if I may say so, you’re doing everything to make it harder, you little sweet. ” (D. P. ) 10. Mr. Vholes is a very respectable man. He has not a large business, but he is a very respectable man. He is allowed, by the greater attorneys to be a most respectable man.
He never misses a chance in his practice which is a mark of respectability, he never takes any pleasure, which is another mark of respectability, he is reserved and serious which is another mark of respectability. His digestion is impaired which is highly respectable. (D. ) 11. Several months ago a magazine named Playboy which concentrates editorially on girls, books, girls, art, girls, music, fashion, girls and girls, published an article about old-time science-fiction. (M. St. ) 12.
Apart from splits based on politics, racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds and specific personality differences, we’re just one cohesive team. (D. U. ) 13. A local busybody, unable to contain her curiosity any longer, asked an expectant mother point-blank whether she was going to have a baby. “Oh, goodness, no,” the young woman said pleasantly. “I’m just carrying this for a friend. ” (P. G. W. ) 14. Sonny Grosso was a worrier who looked for and frequently managed to find, the dark side of most situations. (P. M. ) 15. Bookcases covering one wall boasted a half-shelf of literature. T. C. ) 16. I had been admitted as a partner in the firm of Andrews and Bishop, and throughout 1927 and 19281 enriched myself and the firm at the rate of perhaps forty dollars a month. (Jn. B. ) 17. Last time it was a nice, simple, European-style war. (I. Sh. ) 18. He could walk and run, was full of exact knowledge about God, and entertained no doubt concerning the special partiality of a minor deity called Jesus towards himself. (A. B. ) 19. But every Englishman is born with a certain miraculous power that makes him master of the world.
As the great champion of freedom and national’independence he conquers and annexes half the world and calls it Colonization. (B. Sh. ) 20. All this blood and fire business tonight was probably part of the graft to get the Socialists chucked out and leave honest businessmen safe to make their fortunes out of murder. (L. Ch) 21. He spent two years in prison, making a number of valuable contacts among other upstanding embezzlers, frauds and confidence men whilst inside. (An. C. ) Antithesis is a good example of them: syntactically, antithesis is just another case of parallel constructions.
But unlike parallelism, which is indifferent to the semantics of its components, the two parts of an antithesis must be semantically opposite to each other, as in the sad maxim of O. Wilde: “Some people have much to live on, and little to live for”, where “much” and “little” present a pair of antonyms, supported by the ‘ contextual opposition of postpositions “on” and “for”. Another example: “If we don’t know who gains by his death we do know who loses by it. ” (Ch. ) Here, too, we have the leading antonymous pair “gam – lose” and the supporting one, made stronger by the emphatic form of the affirmative construction – “don’t know / do know”.
Antithesis as a semantic opposition emphasized by its realization in similar structures, is often observed on lower levels of language hierarchy, especially on the morphemic level where two antonymous affixes create a powerful effect of contrast: “Their pre-money wives did not go together with their post-money daughters. ” (H. ) The main function of antithesis is to stress the heterogeneity of the described phenomenon, to show that the latter is a dialectical unity of two (or more) opposing features. Exercise I. Discuss the semantic centres and structural peculiarities of antithesis: 1. Mrs.
Nork had a large home and a small husband. (S. L. ) 2. In marriage the upkeep of woman is often the downfall of man. (Ev. ) 3. Don’t use big words. They mean so little. (O. W. ) 4. I like big parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy. (Sc. F. ) 5. There is Mr. Guppy, who was at first as open as the sun at noon, but who suddenly shut up as close as midnight. (D. ) 6. Such a scene as there was when Kit came in! Such a confusion of tongues, before the circumstances were related and the proofs disclosed! Such a dead silence when all was told! (D. ) 7.
Rup wished he could be swift, accurate, compassionate and stern instead of clumsy and vague and sentimental. (I. M. ) 8. His coat-sleeves being a great deal too long, and his trousers a great deal too short, he appeared ill at ease in his clothes. (D. ) 9. There was something eery about the apartment house, an unearthly quiet that was a combination of overcarpeting and underoccupancy. (H. St. ) 10. It is safer to be married to the man you can be happy with than to the man you cannot be happy without. (E. ) 11. Then came running down stairs a gentleman with whiskers, out of breath. (D. 12. 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. D. ) 13. Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron, and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses and little crowded groceries and laboratories and flophouses.
Its inhabitants are, as the man once said “Whores, pimps, gamblers and sons of bitches”, by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said “Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men” and he would have meant the same thing. (J. St. )