ANTITHESIS & METONYMY


Literary devices are used to create "special effects" in literature. They make a text richer, often by using interesting or creative comparisons.


Here are two more literary devices: antithesis and metonymy (pronounced ma-ton a-mi)

ANTITHESIS is a literary device characterized by strongly contrasting words, clauses, sentences, or ideas. Antithesis is the balancing of one idea against another.

This device is often used to provide stark contrast and better comprehension of a situation. Song lyrics use this literary device quite frequently.

A classic example is the first line of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness..."

The hungry judges soon the sentence sign,
And wretches hang that jury-men may dine --Alexander Pope


METONYMY is the substituting of one word for another that is closely related to it.

We do this quite a bit in everyday speech, and probably have used metonymy in your writing without even knowing it.


The White House has decided to bail out several banks and car companies. In this sentence "the White House" is substituting for the president.

We often speak of England's monarchy as "the crown."

In the Bible, the book of Genesis reads, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." The "sweat of thy face" really means hard work and is an example of metonymy.


Look for these literary devices as you are reading!

Last modified: Thursday, 7 February 2013, 9:37 AM