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whole is used for the part with good effect when the purpose is to soften the expression; as, He has departed this life; for, He died.—He has closed up business; for, He has gone into bankruptcy. Softening of expression is called Euphemism.
The attribute is sometimes used to suggest the subject of the attribute, as youth and beauty, for the young and beautiful. What is classed as giving “ the material for the object " comes under this head; as, He bartered his soul for gold. — He killed him with murderous steel. Here, naming the material suggests the striking attributes, -- in the one that which pleases the eye; in the other, that which adapts the instrument to its deadly work. The subject of the attribute may be given to suggest the attribute; as, There might have been seen the fox in his conduct.
Putting the definite number for an indefinite comes under this figure; as, “ Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain."
Let the following Synecdoches be explained and classed as to the kind of association involved:
1. They saw the city of spires. 2. The skein fell from her sick hand. 3. “Give us this day our daily bread.” 4. They cut the solid whiteness through. 5. Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee. 6. Unfurl the stars and stripes. 7. The Vandals overran the Roman world. 8. The tired fingers toiled on. 9. He was a man of influence in his day. 10. He barters his soul for gold. 11. “They that take the sword shall perish by the sword.” 12. The steel (the sword) glittered in the air.
Metonymy. — This is a figure of association in which an object is suggested by naming some object or attri
bute externally associated with it. Hence, the use of the word Metonymy, meaning a change of name. Unlike Synecdoche, Metonymy directly expresses something different from its real meaning. The sail is not a different object from the ship, but a part of it; while in this, “ The hotel sets a good table,” the word table expresses something entirely different from the food on the table. These two figures, however, are fundamentally alike, each being based on the same law of association of ideas. The table recalls the food upon it for the same reason that the sail recalls the ship. Both, too, have the same value to style, in that each names some accessory idea which recalls the principal idea more clearly or more forcibly than its direct naming would do.
There are different kinds of Metonymies, as determined by the different laws of association:
1. Relation of purpose and means; as, The ballot governs the country. — “ The pen is mightier than the sword.”
2. Relation of cause and effect; as, Gray hairs should be respected. — Mr. Snyder is a student of Shakespeare.
3. Relation of place; as, The palace should not scorn the cottage.
4. Relation in time; as, “Remember March, the ides of March.”
Point out the Metonymy in each of the following, and state the relation on which it is based :
1. His wit set the table in a roar. 2. We have prostrated ourselves before the thronę. 3. Strike for your altars and your fires. 4. Who steals my purse steals trash. 5. Too much red tape does not expedite business. 6. He is a slave to the bottle. 7. In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat thy bread.
“We plant upon the sunny lea,
A shadow for the noontide hour,
A shelter from the summer shower,
And busily all the night
With a silence deep and white.”
Shall peel its fruit by cottage hearth.”
Figures of Comparison. · A figure of comparison is a figure of thought in which the imagination brings to view some resemblance between the primary and the secondary object, which does not fall under the categorical relations of the judgment. By this means the writer throws the unfamiliar, the abstract, and the inner things of spirit into the form of the concrete individual. He is thus permitted to speak in the language of the sensuous imagination, and thereby to give definiteness and to illuminate what would otherwise be dim, vague, and unfamiliar to the understanding. And of more importance still, a figure of comparison serves to give to an object some quality which it has not by nature, and thus elevates or degrades it.
Figures of comparison are based ultimately on the fact that there is a fundamental quality common to all
objects. “ All are manifestations of one force.” The imagination penetrates objects and brings to view their inner nature. Figures of comparison arise from the exercise of the imagination as it interprets the inner identity of things; as it perceives the spiritual truth of which physical facts are, symbols. Hence, they are profoundly significant, bringing to view the very life and being of common material things, or clothing ideal qualities of spirit in pleasing forms of beauty.
Figures of comparison differ from those of association in two essential particulars: (1) in figures of association there is no illustrative power or transference of qualities, as in the others; (2) the imagination required to construct or interpret them is the literal, picturing imagination; while in figures of comparison it is the poetic, the intuitive imagination. In figures of association one idea suggests another because the two have been previously associated in consciousness; in figures of comparison one object suggests another by some resemblance, subtile and new to the mind discerning it. Figures of comparison express ideal relations, — relations which the mind creates for itself and which can be found in the mind only; while figures of association express real relations; that is, relations which are felt to be in the external object, the actual relations, as substance and attribute, time and space, whole and part, cause and effect, and purpose and means.
Figurative comparison is not always easily discriminated from literal comparison. Literal comparison, which occupies so prominent a place in the presentation of thought, is between objects which are essentially alike, and in respect to such points as logical analysis can present; while figurative comparison is between objects which are essentially unlike, except in respect to what the penetrative imagination alone can find. In figurative comparison there must be an actual likeness, which the mind does not ordinarily detect, because of the prominent and essential unlikeness of the objects compared, — a likeness which cannot be found by any amount of analysis by the judgment, and which only the intuitive imagination can feel. The terms in figurative comparison lie in different worlds
- the spiritual and the material; hence their absorbing difference and their hidden resemblance. But there must be some point of identity between them, else the spiritual could not be presented in terms of the material. To explain a figure is to put the finger on the point of identity between what seems contrasted terms. All figures of comparison, like all processes in mathematics, are based on the fact that one thing is identical, at some point, with another. When Longfellow speaks of his thoughts clinging to the mouldering past as the vine to the mouldering wall, he must have discerned that clinging is identical with clinging. And when he says that the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast, having already suggested the falling leaves in the blasts of wind and rain, one readily, by simplifying the equation, discerns that falling in blasts equals falling in blasts. Leaves and hopes are conspicuously different, — different in color, form, size, parts, use, structure, etc.; so different that the mind in its regular