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Rhetorical Devices

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  • Rhetorical Devices

    You have already examined many rhetorical devices even if you did not know it.  Amy Benjamin, author of "AP Toolbox" defined rhetorical devices as "the jewelry of rhetoric: they create sparkles and interesting little gems of writer's craftsmanship.  Like jewelry, rhetorical devices should not be used to excess lest they become garish."  Benjamin's point here is important -- writers hold valuable keys to language when they have mastered rhetorical devices -- but writers need to use them wisely and when appropriate, not overindulging their work with them.

    In this lesson you will familiarize yourself with common devices such as

    • alliteration
    • allusion
    • anaphora
    • parallelism
    • antithesis
    • imagery
    • irony
    • figurative language
    • paradox
    In addition, you will take a look at more obscure devices as well.






    Visit the web resource below and examine the following basic terms: alliteration, allusion, anaphora, parallelism, antithesis, imagery, irony, figurative language, and paradox. Then examine the more advanced terms: zeugma, chiasmus, apostrophe, metonymy, and synecdoche. Pay close attention to the examples -- they will help you to understand the usage of these tools. 

    In the assignment to follow, you will be asked to define these terms and to give your own examples.

    A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices