FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE
Similes, Metaphors,
Personification, Alliteration,
imagery, tone/mood, direct
characterization, Rhyme,
Symbolism, and Repetition
FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE
A writers tool
 It helps the reader to
visualize (see) what the
writer is thinking
 It puts a picture in the
readers mind
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Makes the writing come
alive
Adds dramatic effect
SIMILE
A
simile is used
to compare two
things
 It uses the words
“like” or “as” to
make
comparisons.
SIMILES
TWILIGHT: AFTER HAYING-JANE KENYON
YES, LONG SHADOWS GO OUT
FROM THE BALES; AND YES, THE SOUL
MUST PART FROM THE BODY:
WHAT ELSE COULD IT DO?
THE MEN SPRAWL NEAR THE BALER,
TOO TIRED TO LEAVE THE FIELD.
THEY TALK AND SMOKE,
AND THE TIPS OF THEIR CIGARETTES
BLAZE LIKE SMALL ROSES
IN THE NIGHT AIR. (IT ARRIVED
AND SETTLED AMONG THEM
BEFORE THEY WERE AWARE.)
THE MOON COMES
TO COUNT THE BALES,
AND THE DISPOSSESSED-WHIP-POOR-WILL, WHIP-POOR-WILL
--SINGS FROM THE DUSTY STUBBLE.
THESE THINGS HAPPEN. . .THE SOUL'S BLISS
AND SUFFERING ARE BOUND TOGETHER
LIKE THE GRASSES. . .
THE LAST, SWEET EXHALATIONS
OF TIMOTHY AND VETCH
GO OUT WITH THE SONG OF THE BIRD;
THE RAVAGED FIELD
GROWS WET WITH DEW.
METAPHOR
A metaphor is
used to compare
two things
 Instead of saying
something is “like”
or “as” --- a
metaphor states
that it just IS.
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Metaphor
Mother To Son-By Langston Hughes
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor –
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now –
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
METAPHOR
DEMOCRACY-BY LANGSTON HUGHES
DEMOCRACY WILL NOT COME
TODAY, THIS YEAR
NOR EVER
THROUGH COMPROMISE AND FEAR.
I HAVE AS MUCH RIGHT
AS THE OTHER FELLOW HAS
TO STAND
ON MY TWO FEET
AND OWN THE LAND.
I TIRE SO OF HEARING PEOPLE SAY,
LET THINGS TAKE THEIR COURSE.
TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY.
I DO NOT NEED MY FREEDOM WHEN I'M DEAD.
I CANNOT LIVE ON TOMORROW'S BREAD.
FREEDOM
IS A STRONG SEED
PLANTED
IN A GREAT NEED.
I LIVE HERE, TOO.
I WANT FREEDOM
JUST AS YOU.
PERSONIFICATION
Giving non human objects human like
characteristics.
 Giving animals human like characteristics.
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PERSONIFICATION
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Sylvia Plath
Mirror
I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see, I swallow immediately.
Just as it is, un misted by love or dislike
I am not cruel, only truthful –
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me.
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.
ALLITERATION
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The repetition of consonant sounds to enhance
the rhythm or to create a beat in poetry.
ALLITERATION
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Insomniac
There are some nights when
sleep plays coy,
aloof and disdainful.
And all the wiles
that I employ to win
its service to my side
are useless as wounded pride,
and much more painful.
Maya Angelou
 Alliteration
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Touched by an Angel-by Maya Angelou
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
REPETITION
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Repeating certain lines, phrases
or words to add emphasis to the
importance of them and to draw
the reader’s attention to them.
REPETITION
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Let Evening Come
Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don't
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.
Jane Kenyon
SYMBOLISM
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Symbolism is something you can see
that has taken on a meaning beyond
what the object actually is. For
instance, when you think of a
symbol, think of something that is
tangible, something you can hold or
touch with your hand. If it is
something you can not touch,
eliminate it as a possible symbol
THE ROAD NOT TAKEN
BY ROBERT FROST
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The Road Not Taken
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler,
long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there Had worn
them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
 In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet
knowing how way leads on to way, I
doubted if I should ever come
back.
 I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
 Two roads diverged in a wood,
 and I— I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the
difference.
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 Symbolism
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Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
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Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
RHYME
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Rhyming, whether it is internal,
external, etc., creates a beat or
rhythm to poetry. The songs you
listen to are poetry set to music.
EXTERNAL RHYME
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A Dream-by Edgar Allen Poe
In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departedBut a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.
Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turned back upon the past?
That holy dream- that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding.
What though that light, thro' storm and night,
So trembled from afarWhat could there be more purely bright
In Truth's day-star?
 Imagery
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Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
IMAGERY
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By using adjectives, specific
details, and vibrant descriptions,
the writer can paint a picture with
words. The images evoked create
an overall mood and draw the
reader in.
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Imagery
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The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
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Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
TONE/MOOD
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Mood
The mood is the feeling or atmosphere of a piece. The mood
can be many different things. Some examples included:
A feeling of love.
A feeling of doom.
A feeling of fear.
A feeling of pride.
An atmosphere of chaos.
An atomsphere of peace.
Meaning
What is the author trying to communicate.
MOOD
How to Achieve Mood and Meaning
You should be able to establish mood or
purpose in poetry by:
 choice of words,
 summary terms,
 symbolic language,
 structure of the sentences,
 the length of each poetic line,
 and the punctuation marks chosen.
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GLOOMY MOOD:
WINTER GARDEN
Stark naked flower stalks
Stand shivering in the wind.
The cheerless sun hides its black light
Behind bleak, angry clouds,
While trees vainly try
To catch their escaping leaves.
Carpets of grass turn brown,
Blending morosely with the dreary day.
Winter seems the death of life forever.
(poetry devices used: alliteration,
personificationoxymoron, metaphor, hyperbole)
EXAMPLE OF CHEERFUL MOOD:
SPRING GARDEN
Stunningly dressed flower stalks
Stand shimmering in the breeze.
The cheerful sun hides playfully
Behind white, fluffy, cotton-ball clouds,
While trees whisper secrets
To their rustling leaves.
Carpets of grass greenly glow
Blending joyfully with the day.
Spring brings life to death.
(Poetry devices used: alliteration,
IRONY DEFINED
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DEFINITION OF IRONY As a figure of speech,
irony refers to a difference between the way
something appears and what is actually true.
Part of what makes poetry interesting is its
indirectness, its refusal to state something
simply as "the way it is." Irony allows us to say
something but to mean something else,
whether we are being sarcastic, exaggerating,
or understating.
MY PAPA’S WALTZ-THEODORE ROETHKE
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The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.
We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself.
The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.
You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.
IRONY
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The first stanza introduces what is a heavily
ironic tone that persists throughout the poem.
A waltz sounds like a pleasant enough
diversion, but the whiskey, the dizziness, and
especially the word death collectively undercut
this assumption and make us understand that
the situation is not entirely lighthearted. - lines
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1-2 - "The whiskey on your breath / Could make a
small boy dizzy"
These lines are ironic because, while it is possible
that the smell of “the whiskey” alone would make
the child dizzy, being swung roughly (and even
drunkenly) about is probably to blame too.
- line 3 - "I hung on like death"
This line emphasizes the irony of line 4. Because the
speaker’s father presents a certain danger, he
“hangs on” to him here not necessarily “like death”
but rather for dear life. The word death is thus ironic,
but it makes the danger of the situation clear and
offsets the notion that this is just a lighthearted
waltz.
- line 4 - "Such waltzing was not easy"
The waltz should be easy, on a literal level,
because the speaker is just being swung
around by his father. It isn’t easy because,
apparently, their lives together aren’t easy.
 - lines 5-6 - "We romped until the pans / Slid
from the kitchen shelf"
Continuing the tone of the first stanza, the word
romped here is ironic because it makes the
waltz sound carefree, yet the effect of this
romping is to cause a violent, crashing
disruption in their domestic world.
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RHYTHM
Rhythm is a musical quality produced by the
repetition of stressed and unstressed syllables.
Rhythm occurs in all forms of language, both
written and spoken, but is particularly
important in poetry
 The most obvious kind of rhythm is the regular
repetition of stressed and unstressed syllables
found in some poetry.
 Writers also create rhythm by repeating words
and phrases or even by repeating whole lines
and sentences
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Figurative Language