How do poets generally use allusions?

Stylistic devices, rhetorical figures

introduction

Stylistic devices (also called rhetorical figures / means or stylistic figures) help to make speeches, essays, etc. more lively and interesting. Above all, they also help to maintain the attention of the reader / listener. In the following you will find some important stylistic devices with explanations and examples - useful for literature analyzes but also for your own texts.

content

Alliteration, initial rhyme, alliteration

same consonant sound as initial sound

As a rule, there are two consecutive words with the same consonant sound. However, the words can be further apart. With the same initial sound, the sentence is better memorized by the reader, which helps to emphasize the sentence.

Examples:
good soul
nice shine
Country of poets and thinkers
Milk perks up tired men

The same consonant initials mean that it does not matter which letter is at the beginning, but that the beginning of the words is pronounced the same.

Examples:
strange quiz
philosophizing truck driver
cool box

If the same consonant is at the beginning of the word, but it is pronounced differently, then it is not an alliteration.

Examples:
black swamp
clever Chilean

Allusion, allusion

indirect reference to a person, event or literature

This stylistic device is used to make an aspect clear without further ado. The allusion should be brief and refer to something known, e.g. B .:

  • famous people
  • historical events
  • (Greek mythology
  • literature
  • Bible

As a rule, the context, background and effects of the event or person are also known. A few words are enough to trigger a certain image (often even an entire scenario) in the minds of the reader / listener. This has the following advantages in particular:

  • We can save ourselves a detailed explanation.
  • The readers / listeners are encouraged to think along.
  • The message is easier to remember.
Examples:
A second threatens the US Vietnam? (Allusion to the Vietnam War; often used in connection with the Iraq War)
Certain programs could Trojans contain. (Allusion to the Trojan warriors in the Trojan horse from Greek mythology)

Many allusions to historical events, mythology or the Bible have meanwhile become idiomatic expressions.

Examples:
experience his Waterloo (allusion to Napoleon's defeat in the battle of Waterloo)
washing his hands in innocence (allusion to Pontius Pilate, who condemned Jesus to death and afterwards washed his "hands in innocence".)
old like Methuselah (allusion to Joseph's grandfather, who was 969 years old; Old Testament)
Watching over something with Argus eyes (allusion to the many-eyed giant Argus in Greek mythology, who guarded Io, Zeus' lover)

Anaphor

Word repetition at the beginning of a sentence

These are usually words that are repeated at the beginning of consecutive parts of sentences or sentences. This directs attention specifically to the main focus of the sentence.

Example:
Germany is located in the middle of Europe and is the ideal location to meet the demand of the neighboring countries.
Germany has a brilliant infrastructure and excellently trained and highly motivated employees.
But: Germany has a massive cost problem. *

Anaphors are often associated with parallelism or climax.

* Source: Speech by the then Federal Minister for Economics and Labor Wolfgang Clement at the opening of the world conference of bfai correspondents on the topic: Global, global, world export champion: How much foreign business is allowed? August 30, 2004 in Berlin, Germany

Antithesis

opposing terms are put in relation to one another

With the antithesis, opposites are clarified and emphasized. The structure of the individual parts of the sentence is usually similar in order to draw attention directly to the contrast.

Examples:
A small step for a man, but a big step for mankind. (Neil Armstrong)
To err is human - to forgive is divine. (Alexander Pope)

hyperbole

conscious exaggeration

If used sparingly, exaggeration helps draw attention to a statement. The statement is emphasized in this way.

Examples:
I'm so hungry I could be a wholehorse devour.
I already have it for youa thousand times said.

Danger! Use this stylistic device really only very sparingly. If you overdo it with exaggeration, the intended effect is lost.

Opposite: → understatement

Hypophora

Questions that will be answered by the speaker or author himself

The speaker or author asks questions that he answers himself afterwards. This stylistic device arouses the attention and curiosity of the reader / listener. This type of question is often asked at the beginning of a paragraph (and answered afterwards) or it initiates a change of direction.

Example:
What does this mean for German companies? Are we prepared for global competition?
Germany is located in the middle of Europe and is the ideal location to meet the demand of the neighboring countries. *

See also: → Rhetorical question

* Source: Speech by the then Federal Minister for Economics and Labor Wolfgang Clement at the opening of the world conference of bfai correspondents on the topic: Global, global, world export champion: How much foreign business is allowed? August 30, 2004 in Berlin, Germany

Mitigation / understatement

Weakening a statement

A statement is intentionally toned down, either to create irony or to be polite.

Examples:
I speaka little German. (A native speaker, for example, might say this ironically.)
I think I have one for thatsomething different Opinion. (more polite than: I totally disagree.)

Opposite: → hyperbola

litotes

kind of understatement

This type of understatement uses the negative opposite of a word to weaken the message.

Examples:
Not bad. (Instead of: Well done.)
He wasn't being honest with you. (Instead of: He lied to you.)

See also: → understatement

metaphor

figurative expression

The metaphor is a figurative phrase with a figurative meaning. In contrast to the comparison (A is like B.), the metaphor does not use the word "like" (A is B.).

Example:
Not least through astronomy and space travel we have learned that we are only one Speck of dust are in a vast, largely unexplored universe. *

See also: → comparison, metonym, allusion (allusion)

* Source: Speech by the Federal Minister for Economics and Labor Wolfgang Clement at the opening of the world conference of bfai correspondents on the topic: Global, global, world export champion: How much foreign business is allowed? August 30, 2004 in Berlin, Germany

Metonym

figurative expression with immediate relationship

It is (in contrast to the metaphor) a causal, spatial or temporal connection between the visual expression and what is actually meant. The metonym "stands for something", but in contrast to the synecdoche, it is not a direct (physical) part of what is meant.

Examples:
theFall of the wall on November 9, 1989 (fall of the wall = fall of the GDR regime)
Baghdad rejected the accusation (Baghdad = government, interim government, those responsible in the Iraqi capital)
an explanation of theWhite house (White House = US government / president)

See also: → metaphor, synecdoche

Narrative perspective

Narrator speaks in the 1st or 3rd person

Narrator speaks in the 1st person - me

The narrator is involved in the event and tells the story from his point of view (me). It is a limited narrative style as the reader only experiences what the narrator experiences. However, this narrative perspective often pulls the reader under the spell of the story because personal experiences, experiences and secrets are shared with him.

Example:
Joseph von Eichendorff: From the life of a good-for-nothing

Narrator speaks in the 3rd person - he / she

The narrator is not involved in the action, he tells the story in the third person (he, she). In most cases it is an omniscient narrator who on the one hand jumps from scene to scene, but on the other hand also knows exactly what is going on in the main character (and possibly other characters).

Example:
Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist

Less often it is a personal narrator who tells the story in the third person, but only from the perspective of the main character.

Example:
Michael Ende: The neverending story

What is interesting about the neverending story is that Ende actually tells the entire story from the point of view of the main hero Bastian, but as long as Bastian only reads the book, the narrative perspective changes.

Onomatopoeia, onomatopoeia

Visualization by imitating sounds

It is a figurative language in which words imitate certain sounds. It is often difficult and cumbersome to describe sounds. In addition, onomatopoeia makes narratives appear much more alive.

Examples:
The catmeowed miserably.
she has asqueaky Voice.
The doorsqueaks.

parallelism

parallel sentence structure

A certain structure is retained in several successive parts of sentences or sentences. The uniform structure creates clarity and makes it easier for the reader (or listener) to grasp the content more quickly.

Examples:
I slept and dreamed that life was joy. I woke up and saw that life was duty. I acted and, behold, duty became joy. (Rabindranath Tagore)
Trust is good, control is better.

Note: When writing, this stylistic device is particularly advantageous in lists and work instructions. Thanks to the uniform sentence structure, the reader / listener can concentrate directly on the content. Take a look at the examples below.

Example 1 (without parallelism):

  • First you open the book.
  • You have to read the text now.
  • Look at the pictures.
  • The questions need to be answered.

Example 2 (with parallelism):

  • Open the book.
  • Read the text.
  • Look at the pictures.
  • Answer the question.

You will surely have noticed that the work instructions in the second example are better memorized. In the first example, the different sentence structure distracts from the content. It may still work with this simple example. It becomes more difficult when the list consists of more complex ideas in long sentences.

parenthesis

Further information

The flow of sentences is interrupted by additional information that does not belong to the main message and is placed in commas, brackets or dashes. The additional information can be individual words, groups of words or complete sentences.

Examples:
As the number one export country, we - and especially our small and medium-sized companies - urgently need support in the sometimes difficult foreign markets. *
Rather, globalization has emerged unnoticed, often unwanted, as a result of technical progress.¹

Note

Whether an insertion is enclosed in brackets, commas, or dashes depends on the priority the writer attaches to this information.

Brackets - by the way: Sebastian (Mandy's brother) got the cards.

Commas - neutral: Sebastian, Mandy's brother, got the cards.

Dashes - especially emphasizing: Sebastian - Mandy's brother - got the tickets.

* Source: Speech by the Federal Minister for Economics and Labor Wolfgang Clement at the opening of the world conference of bfai correspondents on the topic: Global, global, world export champion: How much foreign business is allowed? August 30, 2004 in Berlin, Germany

personification

Humanization

Animals, inanimate things or abstract concepts are given human attributes (properties, actions, behaviors, feelings). This stylistic device often makes a story more interesting and lively.

Examples:
The windplayed with their hair.
I closed the door and minestubborn automobilerefused toto open them again.
The frogsstarted their concert.

Repetition

Repetition of words or phrases

Individual words or groups of words are repeated within a text. In this way, certain ideas or facts are picked up again and emphasized.

Example:
... The unresolved Middle East conflict threatens security and stability ... In Iraq, too, it is about stability for the country and the security of an entire region. ... the question now is that we are all jointly responsible for bringing more stability to the region. ... We do this so that the people in this country can stand up for their own safety. *

* Source: Federal Chancellor Schröder at the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 5, 2004 in Frankfurt am Main

Rhetorical question

Question with no direct answer

It is a question that will not be answered. The answer (usually just yes or no) is taken for granted.

The stylistic device is used to provoke, attract attention or draw conclusions.

Examples:
Shouldn't that make us think?
And what better place could there be for such a differentiation and new consideration than this book fair? *

See also: → Hypophora

* Source: Federal Chancellor Schröder at the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 5, 2004 in Frankfurt am Main

comparison

direct comparison

Two things are compared with each other. You can see this stylistic device z. B. on the word "like". (A is like B.)

Other options include:

  • A is (not) like B
  • A is more / less than B.
  • A is just like B
  • A is comparable to B
  • A is almost / almost like B
Examples:
Online shops are springing up like mushrooms.
He was pale as death.
I feel like the fifth wheel on the car.
Nose, hand, face and ears are as black as the moors. *

See also: → metaphor

* Source: Wilhelm Busch: Max and Moritz (4th strike)

Synecdoche

Over- or sub-concept of what is meant

It is a kind of concretization or generalization in which a part, a member or a property is used for what is meant. The following options are particularly common:

Part stands for whole

Examples:
per capita income ... (head = person)
a one-to-one conversation (4 eyes = 2 people)

Whole stands for part

Example:
The army helped the population fight the flood disaster. (Army = soldiers)

Special stands for general

Example:
Do you ever have a pace? (Tempo = paper tissue)

General stands for special

Example:
The animal moved away. (Animal = a very specific animal, e.g. dog, dolphin, snake)

Material stands for product

Example:
She wore gold on her finger. (Gold = ring)

See also: → metonym