October 29, 2012

tropes on tropes on tropes

The way Killingsworth breaks down the basic tropes that we incorporate into our lives is extremely useful. Society associates a trope as a figure of speech, but Killingsworth believes that tropes are more than just a figure of speech, which is an interesting way to look at it. Tropes help us classify and study other functions of appeals (Killingsworth 121). The appeals are metaphors, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony. Most of us know what metaphors and irony are and have heard of synecdoche and metonymy, but most of those people can not identify what they are if given examples. Before reading this essay I could not tell you the difference between metaphors and metonymy if I had a gun pointed at my head.

Killingsworth's examples and explanations of these four appeals were necessary for me to understand why certain sayings are not understood by people of different ages or cultures. His explanations for these tropes and how they are related to the way we mentally connect the things that someone says with something we are accustom is told in a more explicit fashion. "If someone says that two things are similar to one another, try thinking of their differences. If someone says that two things are different, try thinking of them as similar" (Killingsworth 134). This knowledge is definitely necesary for understanding what we do in this class and how we look at written works by rhetorical theorists in different ways. Without knowledge of what these tropes are and how they work, we would not be able to function in this class or find humor in someone not understanding irony.


lyzaakitten said...

I agree with you that before this reading I would had no idea the definitions of synecdoche or metonymy. After this reading I believe I have a clear understanding of the two. It seems that the definitions of the two are very similar, In Killingsworth's piece he suggests that synecdoche may be a subcategory of metonymy. Do you agree with this? I think that both of them seem to just be subcategories of metaphors.

Bridgette Balderson said...

Killingsworth says: (p.121)

identify-one position with another (metaphor)
associate-one position with another (metonymy)

Metaphor examples: Rollercoaster of emotions-I feel like when you use metaphors you are simply identifying something as something else or describing something as something else. Simply, a rollercoaster of emotions means you're having lots of ups and downs in your emotional life.

The key word in differentiating metaphor from metaphor is associate, like Killingsworth said. Ex.) The skirts walked in and our jaws dropped. The "skirts" are attractive women, as we can associate that particular type of clothing with women.
Ex.) The suits employed on Wall Street are a wealthy bunch.
The "suits" are wealthy white-collar workers. We can associate suits with wealth.

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