|A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices, Page 5||Robert A.
January 5, 2010
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Affliction then is ours; / We are the trees whom shaking fastens more. --George Herbert
There is semi-implied:
There is implied:Here, the comparison, "God is a bird [or hen]" is only implied. Stating the metaphorical equation directly would have been rhetorically ineffective or worse because of the awkward thought it creates. The classical rhetorician Demetrius tells us that when there is a great difference between the subject and the comparison, the subject should always be compared to something greater than itself, or diminishment and rhetorical failure result. You might write, "The candle was a little sun in the dark room," but you wouldn't write, "The sun was a big candle that day in the desert." In Psalm 63, however, there is nothing greater than God to compare him to, and the psalmist wants to create a sense of tenderness and protection, drawing upon a familiar image. So, the comparison is saved by using an implied metaphor.
And there is very implied:
Like simile and analogy, metaphor is a profoundly important and useful device. Aristotle says in his Rhetoric, "It is metaphor above all else that gives clearness, charm, and distinction to the style." And Joseph Addison says of it:
And the fact that two very unlike things can be equated or referred to in terms of one another comments upon them both. No metaphor is "just a metaphor." All have significant implications, and they must be chosen carefully, especially in regard to the connotations the vehicle (image) will transfer to the tenor. Consider, for example, the differences in meaning conveyed by these statements:
28. Catachresis is an extravagant, implied metaphor using words in an alien or unusual way. While difficult to invent, it can be wonderfully effective:
Perhaps a better substitution is the species for the genus--a single, specific, representative item symbolic of the whole. This form of synecdoche will usually be clearer and more effective than the other:
31. Personification metaphorically represents an animal or inanimate object as having human attributes--attributes of form, character, feelings, behavior, and so on. Ideas and abstractions can also be personified.
Personification of just the natural world has its own name, fictio. And when this natural-world personification is limited to emotion, John Ruskin called it the pathetic fallacy. Ruskin considered this latter to be a vice because it was so often overdone (and let this be a caution to you). We do not receive much pleasure from an overwrought vision like this:
33. Allusion is a short, informal reference to a famous person or event:
Allusion can be wonderfully attractive in your writing because it can introduce variety and energy into an otherwise limited discussion (an exciting historical adventure rises suddenly in the middle of a discussion of chemicals or some abstract argument), and it can please the reader by reminding him of a pertinent story or figure with which he is familiar, thus helping (like analogy) to explain something difficult. The instantaneous pause and reflection on the analogy refreshes and strengthens the reader's mind.
34. Eponym substitutes for a particular attribute the name of a famous person recognized for that attribute. By their nature eponyms often border on the cliche, but many times they can be useful without seeming too obviously trite. Finding new or infrequently used ones is best, though hard, because the name-and-attribute relationship needs to be well established. Consider the effectiveness of these:
35. Oxymoron is a paradox reduced to two words, usually in an adjective-noun ("eloquent silence") or adverb-adjective ("inertly strong") relationship, and is used for effect, complexity, emphasis, or wit:
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