It’s Literary Terms Day! And it is Wednesday! Of course you see analogy here- Monday brought the rising action of the workweek; it also ushered in the rising anticipation
of Grammar Week. Today is the climax, or ‘Bump Day’ in the workweek, and Pinnacle Day of Grammar Week. Let’s tackle the pinnacled bump head on!
The Prude approves of Literary Terms. They personify what she loves so much about Language.
Metaphors, for example, are the icing on the Cake of Communication, while similes
are like the candles on top.
And let me tell you a little story about anecdotes:
When I first attempted to teach the term and concept of ‘anecdote’ one of my little scholars wanted to know if it was to be taken in case of a poisonous snakebite.
Some literary terms are just fun to say.
‘Oxymoron’ is the most frightfully cute word, isn’t it?
And then we have the ‘Pathetic Fallacy’, which gives human traits to nature. But one wonders- why it is called ‘pathetic’? These are the questions that keep The Prude awake nights as the wind howls piteously down the chimney, the wretched rain weeps down from the heartbroken heavens, and the forlorn leaves spiral in their Death Dance from the trees.
Malapropisms are a great, if inadvertent, favorite of The Prude’s. You know, of course, that a malapropism occurs when 2 words are jumbled in a speaker’s mind. They may cause embarrassment, but they are a great anecdote to cure the winter blahs.
Irony and paradoxes, while easy to recognize, are difficult to explain. The Prude would study like mad and prepare lesson plans to teach the concepts, but it seemed that the hurrieder she went, the behinder she got.
Alliteration, the repetition of initial sounds in words, can be alternately annoying or addicting.
And onomatopoeia is a hoot of a word whose sound suggests its meaning. It is just the sort of buzz word needed to put a little zing and oomph in what many consider a hohum branch of learning.
We draw today, Literary Bump Day, to a close by comparing and contrasting understatement and hyperbole. They are at opposite ends of the literary spectrum, so far apart that if hyperbole jumped on a jet going faster that the speed of light and took off today it wouldn’t reach understatement for a gazillion years. You may even say they have little in common.
Come back tomorrow as we enter the entangled world of epigrams, epitaphs and epithets!