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English 104: Additional Tropes

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Presentation delivered to the English 104 class at Victor Valley College.

Presentation delivered to the English 104 class at Victor Valley College.


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  • 1. AdditionalTropes English 104
  • 2. Additional Tropes Some other forms of figurative language used in arguments: Hyperbole Understatement Antonomasia Irony Parallelism Antithesis Reversed structures
  • 3. Hyperbole The use of overstatement to make a point Example: “With page after page of bulging biceps and Gillette jaws, robust hairlines and silken skin, Men’s Health is peddling a standard of male beauty as unforgiving and unrealistic as the female version sold by those dewy-eyed pre-teen waifs draped across covers of Glamour and Elle.” – Michelle Cottle, ‘Turning Boys into Girls’ Overstated descriptions of male and female beauty used to argue that men’s magazines contribute to the same anxieties about appearance as those that have afflicted women
  • 4. Understatement The use of a quiet message to make a point Examples: “The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage.” – Japanese Emperor Hirohito announcing the surrender of Japan after WWII “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped […] I trust you are not in too much distress.” - Captain Eric Moody’s announcement to the passengers of British Airways Flight 9 A subtle message used to downplay the severity of the situation and thus attempt to reduce panic
  • 5. Antonomasia Substituting a proper name with a phrase or epithet Examples: “King of Pop” for Michael Jackson Argues that Jackson is a great pop musician “Iron Lady” for Margaret Thatcher Argues that Thatcher is a strong-willed woman “Caribou Barbie” for Sarah Palin Argues that Palin is good-looking but empty-headed
  • 6. Irony The use of words to convey a meaning in opposition to their literal meaning Example: The Onion (http://www.theonion.com/) Uses satire to make a point about politics and pop culture. Uses irony, exaggeration, humor, and ridicule to criticize politics and contemporary issues.
  • 7. Schemes Schemes: figurative language based on word order Parallelism – the use of grammatically similar phrases Example: “Rosa sat so that Martin could walk. Martin walked so that Obama could run. Obama ran so that our children could fly.” – Unknown  Uses parallelism to argue in favor of Obama, saying that he has inspired a new generation of African Americans Antithesis – the use of parallel structures to indicate contrast Example: “Those who kill people are called murderers; those who kill animals, sportsmen.” – Unknown  Uses antithesis to argue against the killing of animals
  • 8. Schemes Schemes: figurative language based on word order Reversed structures – the use of a reversal of wording to make a point Example #1: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy Uses reversed structure to encourage citizens to work for their country Example #2: “The Democrats won’t get elected unless things get worse, and things won’t get worse until the Democrats get elected.” – Jeane Kirkpatrick Uses reversed structure to argue against the Democrats
  • 9. Works Cited Lunsford, Andrea A., John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters. Everything’s an Argument with Readings. 6th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. Print.
  • 10. Works Cited Lunsford, Andrea A., John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters. Everything’s an Argument with Readings. 6th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. Print.

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