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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Figures of speech

Figures of speech are verbal expressions in which words or sounds are arranged in a particular way to achieve particular effect.A figure of speech is a descriptive language used to make comparisons and to employ the reader’s own imagination. Simply put, it is a language that has meaning beyond the literal meaning.Figures of speech are organised into different categories, such as:

Alliteration: Repeated consonant sounds at the beginning of words placed near each other, usually on the same or adjacent lines. A somewhat looser definition is that it is the use of the same consonant in any part of adjacent words.
Examples: Femi was fast and furious
                 Peter and Paul prayed at the palace for the poor prince.
                 She said Shade was scared of the soldiers.
                 God made man;man made money; money made man mad.

Literary Devices

Allegory: It is an attempt through which abstract or symbol is used to portray evils and ills common in our society. In an allegorical narrative, the author generally uses symbolic objects in order to vividly portray abstract ideas or events that are not directly mentioned in the text.
Allusion: It is a direct or indirect reference made to other pieces of art, events, literary work, places, people or myths to enrich the content of the immediate text.
Stream of consciousness: This is a definite line of thoughts, emotions and feelings, which focus on the writer’s mind. It is a narrative method that produces a character’s random thought and association, which makes the readers to appreciate the work better, based on the writer’s impressions as amplified in the text.
Fatalism: This is a belief that events are decided by fate. In fatalism, people accept all that happen to them as inevitable or predestined. It is a philosophical doctrine that what will be, will be.
Aesthetics: It is the study or appreciation of beauty in a work of literature.

Various forms of lines in poetry

Villanelle: A poem of two rhymes in five tercets and a quatrain.
Distich: A verse arranged in a couplet but makes a complete sense.
Monometer: One line of a poem
Couplet: Two lines of poem.
Tercet: Three lines of poem.
Quatrain: Four lines of poem
Quintet: Five lines of poem
Sextet: Six lines of poem.

The Unities

The unities were mentioned by Aristotle in his “Poetics” and amplified by Horace in his “ArsPoetica”. Horace insisted that playwrights should adhere to the unities of action, time and place in their works.
Unity of Action:The play must have a single action (i.e. a single plot). For example, in Ola Rotimi’sThe Gods Are Not to Blame, Odewale kills his father and marries his mother.


Poems are feelings expressed in (imaginative) language and in deep thought.  It is literature in verse with great beauty, emotional sincerity or intensity, or profound insight. It is also the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions and feelings with the use of certain devices such as figures of speech, rhythm, rhyme, metre, all in a peculiar style. However, poetry is an art of writing and collection of poems. The language deployed in poetry is more deep and richer than those of drama and prose.

A writer of dull unimportant poems is called a Poetaster. The person writing a poem is a Poet while his female counterpart is a Poetess.


This genre of literature is expressed in ordinary and straight forward language other than in verse. It is a long narrative with a wide range of characters, events and experiences. The term ‘prose’ is derived from the Latin word, ‘Prorsus’ which means ‘straight on’, ‘continues’ or ‘forward’. This genre of literature is distinguished by its use of a greater amount of words and sentence structures, greater variety of rhythm as well as its closeness to the patterns of ordinary speech.


The genres of literature are the various divisions in which literature could be categorised. They are:drama, prose and poetry.

Drama is, otherwise, referred to as play. It is a written work to be performed on theatre, television or radio. In drama, the events in the story are not just narrated but acted on stage by casts, which involves actions. This genre makes use of dialogues between one cast and another or group of cast. Dialogue distinguishes drama from the other genres. Drama is also divided into acts and scenes. It requires the active participation of the audience.

Elements of literature

These are the parts of a story. These elements are used to form the structure of a literary piece.They represent the elements of storytelling which are common to all literary and narrative forms.For example, every story has a theme; every story has a setting; every story has a conflict; every story is written from a particular point-of-view, etc.

Action: Everything that happens in a story.
Plot: The plot of a story is the sequential arrangement of events or the series of events in a story. There are five parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
Exposition: The introductory material which gives the setting, creates the tone, presents the characters, and presents other facts necessary to understanding the story.

What is Literature?

Literature could be defined as an imitation of life. In its broadest sense, literature is any written or spoken material. It is derived from Latin ‘Literatura’ (writing formed with letters). It is mostly associated with works of the creative imagination. It introduces us to the worlds of experience.

Also, literature can be regarded as a discipline that can be studied as a subject in a formal setting. However, it is the mode of expressing feelings and emotions.
Literature could be labeled an Escape Literature which is literature written purely for entertainment. This type of literature provides little or no insights into human behaviours and its true nature. When it is Imperative Literature, it provides insight into human life and behaviour.