What are Stylistic devices in communication? Stylistic devices are refers to the different techniques that provide additional and in some cases supplemental meaning within a literature material or a piece of writing.
The main difference between stylistic devices and literary devices is that stylistic devices are techniques employed to make a piece of writing captivating while literary devices are strategies that create an effect that provide a deeper meaning to a reader regarding a piece of writing.
Different literary devices or rather stylistic devices may be employed in communication to enhance the process.
The use of these devices acts as spice to communication because it minimizes the barrenness that words may contain within a communication context.
Below are examples of stylistic devices that are often used in literature work and communication in general.
Is the repetition of the consonants sounds at the beginning of words in close proximity.
Examples of Alliteration:
- Kamau keeps cups in the cupboard.
- Tonui picked some juicy pears.
- Sarah sold some fresh fruits salad.
- Beatrice bought a basket that was very beautiful.
It is worth noting that, it is the sounds and not the letters that alliterate as in the case of k and c in Kamau and cupboard. Although k and c are different letters, they represent the same sound in this example. They are pronounced in a similar manner.
Another common stylistic device used in communication is assonance. The term assonance refers to the repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds in words that are closely together/neighboring words.
Assonance creates internal rhyming within phrases or sentences. Assonance is a rhyme, the identity of which depends merely on the vowel sounds. Thus assonance is merely a syllabic resemblance.
Examples of Assonance:
On a proud round in white high night.
I must confess that in my quest I felt depressed and restless.
The early bird catches the worm
Among the greatest stylistic devices used in communication and literature is Imagery. The term Imagery entails using figurative language to represent objects, actions and ideas in such a way that it appeals to our physical senses.
Usually it is thought that imagery makes use of particular words that create visual representation of ideas in our minds. The word imagery is associated with mental pictures.
However, this idea is but partially correct. Imagery, to be realistic, turns out to be more complex than just a picture.
Examples of Imagery in a sentence:
- It was dark and dim in the forest. – The words “dark” and “dim” are visual images.
- The children were screaming and shouting in the fields. – “Screaming” and “shouting” appeal to our sense of hearing or auditory sense.
- He whiffed the aroma of brewed coffee. – “whiff” and “aroma” evoke our sense of smell or olfactory sense.
- The girl ran her hands on a soft satin fabric. – The idea of “soft” in this example appeals to our sense of touch or tactile sense.
- The fresh and juicy oranges are very cold and sweet. – “ juicy” and “sweet” when associated with oranges have an effect on our sense of taste or gustatory sense.
Imagery needs the aid of figures of speech like simile, metaphor, personification, onomatopoeia etc. in order to appeal to the bodily sense.
Examples of Imagery in Literature
Imagery of light and darkness is repeated many times in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Consider an example from Act I, Scene V:
- “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
- It seems she hangs upon the cheek of the night
- Like a rich jewel in an Ethiopia’s ear;”
In the lines above drawn from the play 'O, She Doth Teach The Torches To Burn Bright,' Romeo praises Juliet by saying that she appears more radiant than the brightly lit torches in the hall. He says that at night her face glows like a bright jewel shining against the dark skin of an African. Through the contrasting images of light and dark, Romeo portrays Juliet’s beauty
Flashback is a shift in a narrative to an earlier event that interrupts the normal chronological development of a story. In this lesson, you’ll find that sometimes authors want you to know what happened before.
Flashback interrupts what’s going on in a story to tell about something that happened in the past. Authors use words like “He remembered when … ” or “She thought about that time last year when …” Authors sometimes signal when the flashback is over by using words like Now or Today. A flashback gives readers a deeper understanding of a character’s personality.
Examples of flashback in literature:
You’re getting it. Good girl!” Anya cheered as she ran beside her little sister. Anya smiled, remembering when her dad had taught her to ride a bike. She could still see him running beside her, even when he didn’t need to anymore! He’d always been so protective. But now, he was gone and she alone had to take care of the family. “I still need you, Dad,” she whispered.
Flashbacks can give you information about a character to help you figure out his or her motives, or reasons, for doing things. This example would help you understand why Anya might turn down a chance to travel with a band, even though that was her dream.
Foreshadowing gives readers clues about what might happen later in a story. Authors use foreshadowing to build suspense, tempt readers to predict what might happen, and persuade them to read on to find out if they were right.
Examples of foreshadow
I looked at the speedometer… Paul was driving even faster. “Please slow down,” I said. “We’re coming to a really bad curve in the road!” But he didn’t slow down and the snow was drifting higher and higher. I could hardly see the road!
Foreshadowing also “sets up” future events so you’re prepared for them and they make sense. For instance, as a reader you don’t know why the author mentions snowdrifts until later in the story, when the car hits a snowdrift that stops the vehicle from going over a cliff!
Irony is perhaps the most common literary device used in communication and literature. It is the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning; a statement or situation where the meaning is contradicted by the appearance or presentation of the idea.
There are three types of irony commonly used; verbal, situational and dramatic irony:
- Verbal irony is a trope in which the intended meaning of a statement differs from the meaning that the words appear to express.
- Situational irony involves an incongruity between what is expected or intended and what actually occurs.
- Dramatic irony is an effect produced by a narrative in which the audience knows more about present or future circumstances than a character in the story.
Is a rhetorical strategy in communication that uses sensory details to portray a person, place, or thing.
Description is used in many different types of nonfiction, including biographies, memoirs, nature writing, profiles, sports writing, and travel writing.
There are two types of description used in communication:
Objective description attempts to report accurately the appearance of the object as a thing itself, independent of the observer’s perception of it or feelings about it. It is a factual account, the purpose of which is to inform a reader who has not been able to see with his own eyes.
Impressionistic description it attempts to make us feel more than to see. Impressionistic description focuses on the mood or feeling the object evokes in the observer rather than upon the object, as it exist in itself, it does not seek to inform but to arouse emotion.
Is a brief, usually indirect reference to a person, place, or event, real or fictional. Allusion is a figure of speech, in which one refers covertly or indirectly to an object or circumstances from an external context.
It is left to the audience to make the connections; where the connection is detailed in depth by the author, an allusion is often called a reference.
In the arts a literary allusion puts the alluded text in a new context under which it assumes new meanings and denotations. It is not possible to predetermine the nature of all the new meanings and internal patterns that an allusion will generate.
According to their content, allusions may be historical, cultural, mythological, literary, political, or private.
Examples of Allusion:
Allusion is one of the best used elements of literature to justify a situation or character, because of the comparison to an already existing or written about situation or character.
- She was breathtakingly beautiful, but he knew that she was the forbidden fruit.
This statement is an example of allusion to the Holy Bible. It is something that you’ll find very often. There is direct reference to the ‘forbidden fruit’ that Eve could not resist. In general terms, it’s about something that may be very nice, but for some reason should not be linked with.
- She transformed her backyard to look like the Garden of Eden.
This is another allusion to the Bible, in which the Garden of Eden has been used as a base of comparison. The backyard is said to be transformed into something as beautiful and enchanting as the Garden of Eden.
- His wife was his Achilles’ heel.
This statement is a mythological allusion, as it is a clear reference to Achilles, from the Iliad by Homer. His only point of weakness was in his heel.
- He lies so much! I am surprised that his nose has not grown like Pinocchio’s.
Here, the reference is to the story about Pinocchio, The Adventures of Pinocchio, in which Pinocchio’s nose grew longer every time he lied.
5.She acts like Scrooge, and will never enjoy even the simple pleasures of life.
This is in reference to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In this, Scrooge is a character who is extremely stingy. The statement above revolves around the fact as to how stingy the person in question is.
- He acts like he is the biggest Romeo around town, and cares less what anyone says.
Here, the reference is to Romeo, who is the main character from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Romeo is considered extremely romantic as far as expressing his love for Juliet goes.
- We’ll miss him a lot. More so, since he was a Good Samaritan to a lot of unfortunate people in our town.
This line compares to the Good Samaritan mentioned in the Bible. He is someone who voluntarily helps those in times of need.
- He can scale any structure as if he were Spider-Man.
The reference is to the popular superhero Spider-Man. It is made to describe how good the person is at climbing various structures, just as Spider-Man could.
- Everything was on target, until that Benedict Arnold, Chris, decided to switch over to our rivals along with our trade secrets.
Here, the comparison is made with Benedict Arnold, who was a successful American general, but switched sides during the Revolutionary War and started fighting for the British.
- We all have collectively decided to boycott this new scheme started by our local government.
In the 1880 ‘Irish Land Question’ controversy, Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott, an English land agent in Ireland, along with his family, was shunned by the community. This is where the term boycott came into use, simply meaning to ignore or do without.
- She fell for him, knowing well that he is nothing less than a Casanova.
Giovanni Giacomo Casanova was an 18th century adventurer and writer, who was known to have romanced hundreds of women wherever he traveled. Hence, Casanova is always referred to a man with charisma, who makes numerous romantic conquests.
- We need to unite and get this Draconian law regarding jaywalking changed.
This refers to a law that is extremely harsh for a petty crime. Draco was a 7th century lawmaker in Athens, well known for a legal code that was unnecessarily severe. The death penalty was meted out even for minor offenses.
- He met his Waterloo as soon as he ventured outside the safe zone.
Waterloo simply means to be crushed and defeated. It has become common reference to the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, in which Napoleon’s troops were crushed by a coalition of European forces, which forced him to abdicate and go into exile.
Symbolism is the use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities by giving them symbolic meanings that are different from their literal sense.
Symbolism can take different forms. Generally, it is an object representing another to give it an entirely different meaning that is much deeper and more significant. Sometimes, however, an action, an event or a word spoken by someone may have a symbolic value. For instance, “smile” is a symbol of friendship. Similarly, the action of someone smiling at you may stand as a symbol of the feeling of affection that that person has for you.
Symbols do shift their meanings depending on the context they are used in. “A chain”, for example, may stand for “union” as well as “imprisonment”. Thus, symbolic meaning of an object or an action is understood by when, where and how it is used. It also depends on who read them.
Common Examples of Symbolism in Everyday Life
In our daily life, we can easily identify objects, which can be taken as examples of symbol such as the following:
- The dove is a symbol of peace.
- A red rose or red color stands for love or romance.
- Black is a symbol that represents evil or death.
- A ladder may stand as a symbol for a connection between the heaven and the earth.
A broken mirror may symbolize separation
A Pun is a type of word play wherein one word has two meanings or where similar-sounding words are exploited. This gives an ambiguity to the sentence, which is purposely added for a humorous or rhetorical effect. According to Ambrose Bierce, pun is “A form of wit, to which wise men stoop and fools aspire”. Literary figures like Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Oscar Wilde, and George Carlin were famous for its use in their works.
Types of Puns
Visual Pun: Using a picture to convey the pun is quite popular nowadays. Usually, logos, emblems, symbols, and other graphic elements are utilized to put the message across to the reader.
Homophonic Pun: Here, the pun depends on similar-sounding words with different meanings. Usually, the nuances of the sentence structure are ignored to bring in the humor element.
“Why is it so wet in England? Because many kings and queens have reigned there.”
Homographic Pun: This type of pun involves words, which have the same spelling, but different meanings.
“You can tune a guitar, but you can’t tuna fish. Unless of course, you play bass.” – Douglas Adams (homographic pun on bass)
Homonymic Pun: This type of pun is often far-fetched and involves homographic and/or homophonic puns. It presents lexical ambiguity in a sentence.
“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”
Compound Pun – It relies on a string of words, which forms another word, or string of words, thereby adding the comic element.
“Why can a man never starve in the Great Desert? Because he can eat the sand which is there.”
Recursive Pun: The second part of the pun depends on the understanding of the first element of the sentence.
“A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.” (Your mother refers to the Oedipus complex)
An annotation is a short description of an item. Annotations describe (summarize important content) and evaluate (critically analyze) the resource based on standard criteria. An annotation differs from an abstract or summary, as abstracts and summaries usually only describe or summarize the content and do not critically evaluate. Annotations may be written to describe books, Web sites, articles, government documents, videos, or other items.
What is the function of annotation?
Annotation functions by informing the reader about the item of interest and to provide a critical analysis or evaluation of its content.
How do I write an annotation?
The content of an annotation depends on the intended audience. An annotation should include the following:
- Complete bibliographic citation information using an appropriate citation style (MLA, APA, Turabian, etc.)
- A brief summary of the item’s content and the main purpose of the work
- An annotation should also include evaluative comments such as:
- the qualifications of the author
- any biases that are detected
- the intended audience/reading level
- the item’s relationship to other similar works or areas of study
- special features about the item (e.g. bibliography, graphics, appendices, etc.)
other evaluative comments about the item (what was useful, what was missing, how it compares to similar items on the same topic, etc.)
An annotation should be written in the third person and should stand alone, accurately describing the contents of the source without reference to any other source. In addition, if annotations are being written for an annotated bibliography, do not begin each annotation in the same way. The reader may find the document boring if similar wording is used throughout. An annotation is usually a minimum of three to four sentences long and is usually indented below the citation