24. The children were very brown and filthily dirty. (W. V.)
25. Liza Hamilton was a very different kettle of Irish. Her head was small and round and it held small and round convictions. (J. St.)
26. He sat with Daisy in his arms for a long silent time. (Sc.F.)
27. From the Splendide Hotel guests and servants were pouring in chattering bright streams. (R.Ch.)
ASSIGNMENTS FOR SELF-CONTROL
1. What lexical meaning is instrumental in the formation of epithets?
2. What semantic types of epithets do you know?
3. What structural types of epithets do you know?
4. What parts of speech are predominantly used as epithets and why?
5. When reading a book pay attention to the type and distribution of epithets there and to what defines the quantity and the quality of epithets in a literary work.
Hyperbole - a stylistic device in which emphasis is achieved through deliberate exaggeration, - like epithet, relies on the foregrounding of the emotive meaning. The feelings and emotions of the speaker are so raffled that he resorts in his speech to intensifying the quantitative or the qualitative aspect of the mentioned object. E.g.: In his famous poem "To His Coy Mistress" Andrew Marvell writes about love: "My vegetable love should grow faster than empires."
Hyperbole is one of the most common expressive means of our everyday speech. When we describe our admiration or anger and say "I would gladly see this film a hundred times", or "I have told it to you a thousand times" - we use trite language hyperboles which, through long and repeated use, have lost their originality and remained signals of the speaker's roused emotions.
Hyperbole may be the final effect of another SD - metaphor, simile, irony, as we have in the cases "He has the tread of a rhinoceros" or "The man was like the Rock of Gibraltar".
Hyperbole can be expressed by all notional parts of speech. There are words though, which are used in this SD more often than others. They are such pronouns as "all", ''every", "everybody" and the like. Cf.: "Calpurnia was all angles and bones" (H. L.); also numerical nouns ("a million", "a thousand"), as was shown above; and adverbs of time ("ever", "never").
The outstanding Russian philologist A. Peshkovsky once stressed the importance of both communicants clearly perceiving that the exaggeration, used by one of them is intended as such and serves not to denote actual quality or quantity but signals the emotional background of the utterance. If this reciprocal understanding of the intentional nature of the overstatement is absent, hyperbole turns into a mere lie, he said.
Hyperbole is aimed at exaggerating quantity or quality. When it is directed the opposite way, when the size, shape, dimensions, characteristic features of the object are hot overrated, but intentionally underrated, we deal with understatement. The mechanism of its creation and functioning is identical with that of hyperbole, and it does not signify the actual state' of affairs in reality, but presents the latter through the emotionally coloured perception and rendering of the speaker. It is not the actual diminishing or growing of the object that is conveyed by a hyperbole or understatement. It is a transient subjective impression that finds its realization in these SDs. They differ only in the direction of the flow of roused emotions. English is well known for its preference for understatement in everyday speech - "I am rather annoyed" instead of "I'm infuriated", "The wind is rather strong" instead of "There's a gale blowing outside" are typical of British polite speech, but are less characteristic of American English.
Some hyperboles and understatements (both used individually and as the final effect of some other SD) have become fixed, as we have in "Snow White", or "Liliput", or "Gargantua".
Trite hyperboles and understatements, reflecting their use in everyday speech, in creative writing are observed mainly in dialogue, while the author's speech provides us with examples of original SDs, often rather extended or demanding a considerable fragment of the text to be fully understood.
Exercise VII. In the following examples concentrate on cases of hyperbole and understatement. Pay attention to their originality or stateness, to other SDs promoting their effect, to exact words containing the foregrounded emotive meaning:
1. I was scared to death when he entered the room. (S.)
2. The girls were dressed to kill. (J.Br.)
3. Newspapers are the organs of individual men who have jockeyed themselves to be party leaders, in countries where a new party is born every hour over a glass of beer in the nearest cafe. (J.R.)
4. I was violently sympathetic, as usual. (Jn.B.)
5. Four loudspeakers attached to the flagpole emitted a shattering roar of what Benjamin could hardly call music, as if it were played by a collection of brass bands, a few hundred fire engines, a thousand blacksmiths' hammers and the amplified reproduction of a force-twelve wind. (A. S.)
6. The car which picked me up on that particular guilty evening was a Cadillac limousine about seventy-three blocks long. (J.B.)
7. Her family is one aunt about a thousand years old. (Sc.F.)
8. He didn't appear like the same man; then he was all milk and honey - now he was all starch and vinegar. (D.)
9. She was a giant of a woman. Her bulging figure was encased in a green crepe dress and her feet overflowed in red shoes. She carried a mammoth red pocketbook that bulged throughout as if it were stuffed with rocks. (Fl. O'C.)
10. She was very much upset by the catastrophe that had befallen the Bishops, but it was exciting, and she was tickled to death to have someone fresh to whom she could tell all about it. (S.M.)
11. Babbitt's preparations for leaving the office to its feeble self during the hour and a half of his lunch-period were somewhat less elaborate than the plans for a general European War. (S.M.)
12. The little woman, for she was of pocket size, crossed her hands solemnly on her middle. (G.)
13. We danced on the handkerchief-big space between the speakeasy tables. (R.W.)
14. She wore a pink hat, the size of a button. (J.R.)
15. She was a sparrow of a woman. (Ph. L.)
16. And if either of us should lean toward the other, even a fraction of an inch, the balance would be upset. (O.W.)
17. He smiled back, breathing a memory of gin at me. (W.G.)
18. About a very small man in the Navy: this new sailor stood five feet nothing in sea boots. (Th.P.)
19. She busted herself in her midget kitchen. (T.C.)
20. The rain had thickened, fish could have swum through the air. (T.C.)
ASSIGNMENTS FOR SELF-CONTROL
1. What meaning is foregrounded in a hyperbole?
2. What types of hyperbole can you name?
3. What makes a hyperbole trite and where are trite hyperboles predominantly used?
4. What is understatement? In what way does it differ from hyperbole?
5. Recollect cases of vivid original hyperboles or understatements from your English reading.
Oxymoron is a stylistic device the syntactic and semantic structures of which come to clashes. In Shakespearian definitions of love, much quoted from his Romeo and Juliet, perfectly correct syntactically, attributive combinations present a strong semantic discrepancy between their members. Cf.: "O brawling love! О loving hate! О heavy lightness! Serious vanity! Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!"
As is clearly seen from this string of oxymorons, each one of them is a combination of two semantically contradictory notions, that help to emphasize contradictory qualities simultaneously existing in the described phenomenon as a dialectical unity. As a rule, one of the two members of oxymoron illuminates the feature which is universally observed and acknowledged while the other one offers a purely subjective, individual perception of the object. Thus in an oxymoron we also deal with the foregrounding of emotive meaning, only of a different type than the one observed in previously discussed SDs. The most widely known structure of oxymoron is attributive, so it is easy to believe that the subjective part of the oxymoron is embodied in the attribute-epithet, especially because the latter also proceeds from the foregrounding of the emotive meaning. But there are also others, in which verbs are employed. Such verbal structures as "to shout mutely" (I.Sh.) or "to cry silently" (M.W.) seem to strengthen the idea, which leads to the conclusion that oxymoron is a specific type of epithet. But the peculiarity of an oxymoron lies in the fact that the speaker's (writer's) subjective view can be expressed through either of the members of the word combination.
Originality and specificity of oxymoron becomes especially evident in non-attributive structures which also, not infrequently, are used to express semantic contradiction, as in "the stree' damaged by improvements" (O. H.) or "silence was louder than thunder" (U.).