Function of antithesis in literature

Primarily, writers employ antithesis for argument. As a literary or rhetorical device, a writer is trying to communicate a.
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Writers and poets have long used antithesis to show the paradoxical — or opposing — nature of life. English poet John Milton contrasted heaven and hell in this passage from Paradise Lost :. The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.

II. Examples of Antithesis

Martin Luther King fought for racial equality in the United States in the s and 60s. In , he gave an unforgettable speech on the National Mall in Washington, D. King and his supporters were pushing the U.

2. Climax (Gradation).

Congress to pass a civil rights law. Listen for repetitions and opposites. I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

Examples of Antithesis

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state, sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. In the speech, King made many contrasts. King contrasts the sons of slaves and the sons of slave owners.


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Those were the people who made up most of his audience that day. He also contrasts heat with oasis, and injustice and oppression with freedom and justice. The speech led to major changes in U. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act the following year, which outlawed racial discrimination.

Parallel structure is a useful tool for student writers. College professors expect a student paper to have a thesis statement. A first-year student might write something like this:.

Examples of Antithesis

Voters should reject Proposal X because it is unfair to minorities, impossible to enforce, and unnecessary. In this parallel thesis statement, the writer has set up a series of three adjectives: unfair, impossible, and unnecessary. These three adjectives can organize the structure of the entire paper — with one section for each adjective. A strong parallel thesis statement makes it easier for students to organize their thoughts and write their papers.

Oxymoron, Antithesis, Paradox

Calling these antonyms 'natural' simply means that pairs of words can have wide currency as opposites among users of a language outside any particular context of use. Word association tests give ample evidence of the consistent linking of opposites in verbal memory when subjects given one of a pair of antonyms most often respond with the other, 'hot' triggering 'cold' or 'long' retrieving 'short' Miller , An antithesis as a figure of speech at the sentence level builds on these powerful natural pairs, the use of one in the first half of the figure creating the expectation of its verbal partner in the second half.

Oxford University Press, Antithesis in Films - "Since. There is a cut in Barry Lyndon Stanley Kubrick from the yellow flickers of a flaming house to a still gray courtyard, lined with soldiers, and another from the yellow candles and warm browns of a gambling room to the cool grays of a terrace by moonlight and the Countess of Lyndon in white.

Roy Clifton, The Figure in Film. Associated University Presses, "It is clear that in every simile there is present both differences and likenesses, and both are a part of its effect. By ignoring differences, we find a simile and may perhaps find an antithesis in the same event, by ignoring likeness. This was conveyed by the two vessels' whistling. We see a convulsive spurt of water and hear a desperate, soundless puff before the siren of the tender found its voice.

There was a stuttering amazement, a drunken incoordination to these elaborate preliminaries, foiled by the liner's lofty unruffled burst of sounding steam.

Here things that are like, in place, in sound, and in function, are unexpectedly contrasted. The commentary lies in the differences and gains force from the likeness. Associated University Presses, How is antithesis effective? Update Cancel. Make learning a daily habit in just 5 minutes a day.

Each morning, wake up to a new lesson delivered to your inbox. Learn More. You dismissed this ad. The feedback you provide will help us show you more relevant content in the future. Answer Wiki. What are some examples of antithesis? What does an antithesis convey to a reader? What is thesis, antithesis and synthesis?