Contrast is a rhetorical device thru which writers become aware of differences among subjects, places, persons, things, or thoughts. Simply, it is a sort of opposition among two objects, highlighted to emphasize their variations.
Contrast comes from the Latin word, contra stare, which means to stand against. Usually, although not always, writers use terms and words to indicate a contrast including but, yet, however, instead, in evaluation, nevertheless, on the contrary, and unlike. For instance, E. B. White, in his novel Stuart Little, brings a assessment among Stuart and different babies, using the word unlike:
“Unlike maximum babies, Stuart should stroll as quickly as he turned into born.”
Types of Contrast
Point-by way of-factor Contrast – In this sort of contrast, writers deal with a series of functions of two subjects, and then gift their assessment, discussing all factors successively.
Subject-by way of-difficulty Contrast – In this sort of comparison, a writer first discusses one difficulty thoroughly, and then moves directly to another.
Examples of Contrast in Literature
Example #1: Eminent Men I Have Known, Unpopular Essays (By Bertrand Russell)
“To start with the differences: Lenin become cruel, which Gladstone was now not; Lenin had no admire for tradition, whereas Gladstone had a first rate deal; Lenin considered all means valid for securing the victory of his party, while for Gladstone politics become a recreation with certain regulations that have to be observed. All these variations, to my mind, are to the gain of Gladstone, and accordingly Gladstone at the whole had beneficent consequences, whilst Lenin’s effects were disastrous.”
In this example, Russell provides a factor-by means of-factor contrast between persons, Vladimir Lenin – a Russian communist revolutionary, and William Gladstone – a British Liberal politician. By the end, the author expresses his choose for Gladstone over Lenin.
Example #2: Sonnet 130 (By William Shakespeare)
“My mistress’ eyes are nothing just like the sun;
Coral is some distance extra red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have visible roses damasked, pink and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks …”
In the first 5 traces of this poem, Shakespeare employs a number of contrasts to put emphasis on his beloved’s qualities. He contrasts her with the sun, coral, snow, and wire. Simply, he wants to deliver the concept that, whilst his woman is not extraordinary, she is substantial.
Example #3: A Tale of Two Cities (By Charles Dickens)
Charles Dickens, in the very first chapter of his novel A Tale of Two Cities, offers a sweeping historical past of activities and forces, which shape the characters’ lives later on. In the first paragraph, he starts to percentage a twin theme, as he compares and contrasts the thoughts of “best” and “worst” of times, “light” and “darkness,” and then “hope” and “despair.”
These contrasting ideas reflect pix of desirable and bad that could recur in situations and characters throughout the novel. Dickens makes evaluation between countries, England and France. Both countries experience very specific and very similar situations simultaneously. The differences he compares are principles of justice and spirituality in every country.
Example #4: Romeo and Juliet (By William Shakespeare)
William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet is about contrasts of love and hate. This tragic play embodies these emotions in unique ways, as we see a romance between young lovers, Romeo and Juliet, whereas their households are at conflict and hate every other. However, their love forbids this warfare.
Characters in this play also contrast each different. Romeo and Juliet, though both are lovers, are unique too. Romeo is impulsive and dependent, at the same time as Juliet is organized, brave and practical. Montague’s marriage is successful, even as Capulet’s is not. Along with a consistent comparison in characters, we be aware contrasts in mood, theme, and motion of the play as well.
Function of Contrast
Writers address some of features and traits of two subjects, persons, places, and occasions via contrasting them from one point to another. While the major motive of evaluation is to elucidate thoughts and clear their meanings, readers can easily recognize through this device what will occur next. Through contrary and contrasting ideas, writers make their arguments stronger, for that reason making them more memorable for readers because of emphasis positioned on them. In addition, contrasting ideas shock the audience, heighten drama, and bring balanced structures in literary works.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw