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How to Understand Figurative Language- Rhetorical Devices

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1 How to Understand Figurative Language- Rhetorical Devices
Chapter Six How to Understand Figurative Language- Rhetorical Devices

2 General Introduction Figurative language is an expressive use of language and figures of speech/rhetorical devices are ways of making our language figurative. When we use words in other than their ordinary or literal sense to lend force to an idea, to heighten effect, or to create suggestive imagery, we are said to be speaking or writing figuratively. There are three main types of rhetorical devices---lexical, syntactical and phonetic.

3 For example, if someone says that they are 'starving', they do not mean that they are in fact dying of hunger, but that they are very hungry. This is a simple example of a figure of speech, where the word is used to heighten or increase the state that they are describing.

4 Read the following poem and identify the figures of speech used in its language.
Mirror I am silver and exact. I have no preconception. Whatever I see I swallow immediately Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel; only truthful--- The eye of a little god, four-cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

5 Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me. Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back and reflect it faithfully. She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises towards her day after day like a terrible fish. ----Sylvia Plath

6 Some common forms of rhetorical devices: 1
Some common forms of rhetorical devices: 1. Simile:(明喻) It is a figure of speech which makes a comparison between two unlike elements having at least one quality or characteristic in common. To make the comparison, words like as,, as if and like are used to transfer the quality we associate with one to the other. e.g. He looked as if he had just stepped out of my book of fairytales and had passed me like a spirit. It has long leaves that sway in the wind like slim fingers reaching to touch something.

7 2. Metaphor:(暗喻) It is like a simile, also makes a
comparison between two unlike elements, but unlike a simile, this comparison is implied rather than stated. e.g. The diamond department was the heart and center of the store. She was a flower. The flush of rose petals was in her cheeks, and her green dress was the leaves.

8 3. Analogy: (类比) It is also a form of comparison, but unlike simile or metaphor which usually uses comparison on one point of resemblance, analogy draws a parallel between two unlike things that have several common qualities or points of resemblance. e.g. Trying to find the lost contact lens was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

9 4. Personification: (拟人) It is the representation of a thing (animal, plant, force of nature, etc) or abstraction (love, hate, chastity, etc) as a person, or the giving of human attributes to animals, abstractions, or other things. e.g. The wind whistled through the trees. She may have tens of thousand of babies in one summer. (From“ Watching Ants”) 5. Metonymy (转喻) It is a figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated (such as "crown" for "royalty").

10 e.g. The pen (power of literature) is mightier than the sword (forces). The buses (bus drivers) in America are on strike now. 6. Synecdoche: (提喻) It involves the substitution of the part for the whole ; the whole for the part; the special for the general; the general for the special; the material for the object composed of that material; the container for its contents She was dressed in silks. They share the same roof.

11 7.Allusion:(借喻) It is a figure of speech which refers to an indirect reference to someone or something. It usually comes from religions, fairy tales, mythologies, legends, fables and other literal works. e.g. Grammar may be his heel of Achilles. It was another of those catch-22 situations. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.( A catch-22 situation refers to a dilemma faced by somebody. Catch-22 is a novel written by Joseph Heller. )

12 8.Hyperbole: (夸张) It is the deliberate use of overstatement or exaggeration to achieve emphasis.
e.g. He almost died laughing. My blood froze. She gave me the impression of having more teeth, white and large and even, than were necessary for any practical purpose.

13 9. Understatement: (低调陈述/明抑暗扬) It is the opposite of hyperbole, or overstatement. It achieves its effect of emphasizing a fact by deliberately making something appear less important or serious than it really is , impressing the listener or the reader more by what is merely implied or left unsaid than by bare statement. e.g. We are none of us getting any younger. 我们都不年轻啦。 “It's just a flesh wound.” (Black Knight, after having both of his arms cut off, in Monty Python and the Holy Grail) "I have to have this operation. It isn't very serious. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain." (Holden Caulfield in The Catcher In The Rye, by J. D. Salinger)

14 10. Pun: (双关语) It is a play on words, or rather a play on the form and meaning of words, involving words with similar or identical sounds but with different meanings. e.g. A cannon-ball took off his legs, so he laid down his arms. (Here "arms" has two meanings: part of a person's body; weapons carried by a soldier.)

15 What does that lawyer do after he dies. ——Lie still
What does that lawyer do after he dies?——Lie still. 那个律师死后干什么?──躺着仍说鬼话。(注:lie躺, 撒谎;still安静地, 仍然) 11. Irony: (反讽) It is the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning; a statement or situation where the meaning is contradicted by the appearance or presentation of the idea. e.g. We are lucky, what you said makes me feel really good. Slowly the old lady stooped to pick it (the cheque ) up. Her present, her lovely present. With trembling fingers she tore it into little bits.

16 12. Paradox: (似非而是的隽语) It is a figure of speech consisting of a statement or proposition which on the face of it seems self-contradictory, absurd or contrary to established fact or practice, but which on further thinking and study may prove to be true, well-founded, and even to contain a succinct point. e.g. Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. The swiftest traveler is he that goes afoot.

17 13. Oxymoron: (矛盾修辞法) It is a compressed paradox, formed by the conjoining of two contrasting, contradictory or incongruous terms as in bitter-sweet memories, orderly chaos(乱中有序), sweet sorrow(甜蜜的忧伤) and proud humility(不卑不亢 ). 14. Rhetorical repetition:(叠言) It is the use of a word, phrase, or clause more than once in a short passage--dwelling on a point. Used deliberately, repetition can be an effective rhetorical strategy for achieving emphasis or emotional effect. e.g. It must be created by the blood and the work of all of us who believe in the future, who believe in man and his glorious man—made destiny.

18 15. Euphemism:(委婉语) It is a substitution of an inoffensive term for one considered offensively explicit. e.g. Sorry, I must answer the call of nature. It won’t be long. 对不起,我得去方便一下,就一会儿。 Dan Foreman: Guys, I feel very terrible about what I'm about to say. But I'm afraid you're both being let go. Lou: Let go? What does that mean? Dan Foreman: It means you're being fired, Louie.

19 16. Parody:(仿拟) It is a literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule. e.g. To lie or not to lie-the doctor's dilemma ( “To be or not to be, that is the question”. Hamlet) 17. Synesthesia:(通感) It is a neurologically-based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway,such as "a bright sound" or "a quiet color" . e.g. He give me a bitter look.

20 18. Transferred epithet:(移就) It’s a figure of speech in which an adjective properly modifying one noun is shifted to another noun in the same sentence. e.g. He ate with a wolfish appetite. He shrugged with a scornful shoulder. 19. Zeugma:(轭式搭配法) It’s a construction in which a single word, especially a verb, a preposition or an adjective, is applied to two or more nouns although its use is only grammatically or logically correct with only one of them. I would rather be clothed in rag than shame.

21 We’ll see to it that the blouses appeal to the eye as well as to the purse.
20. Syllepsis(一语双叙): It’s a figure of sppech by which a single word refers to one or more words in the same sentence. One is literal meaning while the other is the figurative meaning. e.g. She opened the door and her heart to the homeless boy. The new elected president took the oath and the seat.

22 21. Parallelism:(排比)It refers to the similarity of structure in a pair or series of related words, phrases, or clauses. e.g. The more we do, the more we can do. Few people are immune to vanity, jealousy and pretension. 22. Antithesis: (对照) It is the deliberate arrangement of contrasting words or ideas in balanced structural forms to achieve emphasis. Speech is silver; silence is golden. United we stand; divided we fall. 合则存,分则亡。

23 23. Alliteration: (押头韵) It has to do with the sound rather than the sense of words for effect. It is a device that repeats the same sound at frequent intervals and since the sound repeated is usually the initial consonant sound, it is also called "front rhyme". e.g. The fair breeze blew. The white foam flew. The furrow followed free. 船儿破浪前进

24 24.Onomatopoeia: (拟声) It is a device that uses words which imitate the sounds made by an object (animate or inanimate), or which are associated with or suggestive of some action or movement. e.g. On the root of the school house some pigeons were softly cooing Presently there came the click of high-heeled shoes.

25 Identify the figure of speech used in each of the following statements
Identify the figure of speech used in each of the following statements. 1. The chairman’s wife is in the family way. 2. The diamond department was the heart and center of the store. 3. How and why he had come to Princeton, New Jersey is a story of struggle, success, and sadness. 4. The White House asked the television networks for air time on Monday night. 5. More haste, less speed. 6. His heart almost stopped beating when he heard his daughter’s voice on the phone. 7. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested.

26 8. They were defeated because of the Trojan horses in their country. 9
8. They were defeated because of the Trojan horses in their country. 9. Well, of course, I knew that gentlemen like you carry only large notes. 10. Many eyes turned to a tall, 20-year-old black girl on the U.S. team. 11. Such is the glorious messiness of English. That happy tolerance, that willingness to accept words from anyway, explains the richness of English and the way it has become, to a very real extent, the first truly global language. 12. Because good technique in medicine and surgery means more quickly—cured patients, less pain, less discomfort, less death, less disease and less deformity.

27 13. When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. 14. As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. 15. She brought me into touch with everything that could be reached or felt----sunlight, the rustling of silk, the noises of insects, the creaking of a door, the voice of a loved one. 16. The wind whistled through the trees. 17. Campus love is not an uncommon phenomenon in today’s society.

28 Unit Six The Bridges of Madison County

29 Background to the Author
Robert James Waller (1939-) is an American author, photographer and musician. Waller received his BA ('62) and MA ('64) from University of Northern Iowa. He received his PhD in business from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington in Several of his books have been on the New York Times bestseller list including 1992's The Bridges of Madison County which was the top best-seller in Both that novel and his 1995 novel, Puerto Vallarta Squeeze, have been made into motion pictures. Waller currently resides in Texas.

30 1992 The Bridges of Madison County
( 《廊桥遗梦》original UK Title Love in Black and White) Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend ( 《香杉市慢步华尔滋》 ) 1995 Puerto Vallarta Squeeze ( 《逃命杀手》 ) Border Music (《边界乐章》 ) 2002 A Thousand Country Roads : An Epilogue to The Bridges of Madison County ( 《无尽乡间路-廊桥遗梦的结局》)

31 Introduction to The Bridges of Madison County
The story opens when a woman named Francesca is already dead and has left a will to her two children. Both her son and daughter now middle-aged adults visit their family home in Madison county to take care of their mother’s possessions and to meet the attorney who wrote their mother’s will.

32 They first find out that Francesca has made a strange request
They first find out that Francesca has made a strange request. She desired that after her death, her body be cremated and the ashes sprayed over the covered bridges of Madison County. After this discovery, the son and the daughter come upon their mother’s diary, which they begin to read. The story shifts to flashback. Francesca Johnson, a lonely, disillusioned Italian housewife, lives in Iowa on a farm with her husband and two kids. Though she takes good care of her family and deeply loves them, it is obvious that she is bored and desires some time of her own.

33 It is for this reason that she does not accompany her family when they make a trip to the Illinois state fair. They are gone for four days and these four days and four nights would forever remain the most precious moments of life for Francesca. It is at this time that Robert Kincaid, a divorced, traveling photojournalist working for the National Geographic, comes to the small Iowa town where Francesca lives, in order to shoot the covered bridges for a photographical essay that he is working on. He meets Francesca when he stops at the Johnsons’ ranch to ask for directions. Francesca offers to show him the way and accompanies him to the bridge. Thus begins an aesthetic, soulful, sensitive love story between two adults, one of whom is married. The chemistry between the two is simply amazing and soon sparks fly. Francesca invites him back to her place for dinner and he accepts. Once he shows up, they swap

34 stories, quote W. B. Yeats, laugh together, drink and even dance
stories, quote W.B. Yeats, laugh together, drink and even dance Love is not shown to be happening suddenly and in several subtle moments we are shown the growing attraction and love between Francesca and Robert. They soon become lovers and find ecstatic joy in each other’s company. At the end of the four day period, when it is time for Robert to leave he suggests she go with him. This option is extremely appealing to Francesca who not only loves Robert but also loves his lifestyle involving a lot of travel to exotic locations. She however, keeping in view her family (yet to return from the state fair), turns it down. The two lovers separate to never again see each other in person. Years later Francesca receives news that Robert passed away and his wish is to have his ashes scattered on the bridges of the Madison county.

35 The story is not about love and not about sex, but about an ideal
The story is not about love and not about sex, but about an ideal. The film opens with the information that two people once met and fell in love, but decided not to spend the rest of their lives together. The implication is: If they had acted on their desire, they would not have deserved such a love. It is celebrating the concept of an ideal love which transcends the mundane( [mʌn‘den]世俗的) and attains a spiritual quality. The Bridges of Madison County is a 1992 best-selling novel and one of the bestselling books of the 20th century, with 50 million copies sold worldwide.

36 While-reading Activity
The text is an except of The Bridges of Madison County. Skim it to get the gist of it. Main idea: The text is mainly about where the author got the story and the preparations he made before writing it. Finish the questions in Exercise I & II.

37 Cultural Notes to the text
The Lake Poets are a group of English poets who all lived in the Lake District of England at the turn of the nineteenth century. The three main figures of what has become known as the Lakes School are William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey. Coleridge in 1795

38 willing suspension of disbelief
The term was coined by Coleridge in his Biographia Literaria, published in 1817, in the context of the creation and reading of poetry. He argued that “human interest and a semblance of truth” would serve to seduce the reader into an imaginative compact with the author. It’s most often used to describe the mechanism of assimilation required to appreciate an invented situation, particularly a work of drama of fiction in film, theatre or literature. To use the term is really just a fancy to say “belief” though the underlying complexity of the double-negative corresponds to the complexity of the term: I believe because I agree to overlook certain factors that would otherwise cause me not to believe.

39 Post-reading Activity
Respond to the following statements. 1. The most important things in life are not always about making yourself happy. 2. Only when you understand what marriage entails and clarify your expectations, you can finally enjoy a happy life after marriage.

40 Appreciate some sentences taken from the book.
1. Nobody understands when a woman makes a choice to marry and have children, in one way her life begins, but in another way, it stops. You build a life of details, and you just stop and stay steady, so that your children can move. And when they leave,they take your life of details with them. You are expected to move on again, but you don't remember what it was that moved you, because no one's asked you in so long. Not even yourself. 大家都不了解,女人决定结婚生子时,她的生命一方面开始了,另一方面却结束了。生活开始充斥琐碎的事,你停下脚步,呆在原地,好让你的孩子能够任意来去。他们离开后,你的生活就空了。你应该再度向前,但你已忘了如何迈步。因为长久以来,都没有人叫你动。你自己也忘了要动。

41 2. Now I want to keep it forever,I want to love you the way I do now for the rest of my life.
我希望永远保留着份爱,我希望终生都能这样的爱你。 3. I can't make an entier life disappear to start a new one. 我不能让生命就此消逝无踪,重头再来。 4. All I can do is try to hold on to both of us somewhere inside of me. 我只能试着在心灵深处紧紧的守候着你。 5. I'm coming to you as you coming to me for so long. Although we haven't know each other before the date. 我要向你走去,你向我走来已经很久了。 虽然我们相会之前谁也不知道对方的存在。

42 6.This kind of certainty comes once in a lifetime.
这样确切的爱,一生只有一次。 7.Seems right now, that all I have done in my life was making my way here to you. 我今天才知道,我之所以漂泊就是在向你靠近。 8.The true love belongs to the adults. 真正的爱情是属于成年人的。 9.Love is magic, but without responsibility,its magic will gone. 爱情是有魔力的,但如果放弃责任,这份魔力就会消失。 10.Love won't obey our expectation. Its mystery is pure and absolute. 爱情并不遵从我们的想象。爱情的神秘在于它的纯洁与纯粹。

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