Therefore, though the terms have similar origins, their meanings are very different. Many of us are familiar with using apostrophe without realizing it. In this way, though apostrophe may seem unnatural in the context of plays and omniscient narrators addressing the audience, it is, in fact, perfectly natural in our daily lives. Apostrophe is also found in popular songs and other media.
Apostrophe has been a part of storytelling since Greek drama, and perhaps before. It provides a way for the storyteller to switch gears, add his or her own commentary, or state feelings inspired by abstract concepts. By addressing a person who is not present or an inanimate object that cannot feel or express emotions, a character is instead showing their own inner state.
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die. The drama of this scene is that Juliet can no longer address her love, who is dead, and must instead consult an inanimate object in her final moment. I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. My gorge rises at it. Addressing the skull makes Hamlet contemplate, once again, the concept of death and decay. O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown…. The ode form of poetry was a favorite of John Keats, who wrote six major odes in the year Odes are usually directed to an inanimate object or person who is not present, reciting their positive characteristics. Thus, odes usually have some form of apostrophe. And this I believe: And this I would fight for: The narrator also often makes sweeping statements about the truth of human nature, which often occur at the beginning of chapters to introduce them thematically.
In this example of apostrophe, the narrator discusses his beliefs about freedom or the mind and free will. Choose the correct definition of apostrophe as a literary device: A punctuation mark that stands in place of omitted letters. An exclamatory figure of speech when a character turns from addressing one party to another party or inanimate object. Apostrophe is a figure of speech in which a speaker directly addresses someone or something that is not present or cannot respond in reality.
The entity being addressed can be an absent, dead, or imaginary person, but it can also be an inanimate object like stars or the ocean , an abstract idea like love or fate , or a being such as a Muse or god. Apostrophe often involves the speaker or writer addressing an inanimate object or abstract idea.
In doing so, the speaker or writer will often impart to the object human characteristics. The object, in other words, gets personified. Take these two lines from William Wordsworth's "Prelude":. Here, in addition to performing an apostrophe in which the speaker addresses the cliffs and islands, Wordsworth personifies those cliffs and islands by imagining them as capable of knowing someone. However, though apostrophe often involves personification of inanimate objects or abstract ideas, it certainly doesn't always.
For instance, in the example below from the end of James Joyce's novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man , Joyce has his main character Stephen Dedalus address "Life," but without ascribing any human qualities to it:. I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.
Here Stephen simply addresses life as it is, as something to be experienced, and not as something that itself has experiences, or feelings, or acts in any other way like a human. It's worth knowing that there is some debate among scholars about exactly what does and doesn't count as apostrophe.
These debates, like lots of scholarly debates, can be a bit technical. But knowing the basics of the debates can help you understand apostrophe, and can also help you understand why some definitions of apostrophe on the Internet seem to define it in different ways.
Though everyone agrees that apostrophe is a form of address to a silent listener, some scholars insist that apostrophe must involve what they call an "aversion," a turning away from an original audience to then address the subject of the apostrophe. This way of thinking about apostrophe is based in theater, where a character onstage would literally turn away from the other characters when issuing an apostrophe.
For example, in the induction of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew , the Lord is speaking to his huntsmen then suddenly he breaks off to exclaim:. Most scholars, though, define apostrophe more broadly as being any "exclamation," or impassioned outcry, in which a speaker directly addresses an absent or silent object directly.
For instance, many poems that address people or inanimate objects begin and end with their subject—they don't turn to their subject from something else, because they only ever address that one subject. There is also some debate about whether all direct addresses from a writer to that writer's audience, sometimes known as "authorial intrusion," counts as a form of apostrophe. For instance, the novel Jane Eyre famously ends with a line in which Jane, who has narrated the entire story, suddenly directly addresses her audience to say: However, while the speaker Jane is here breaking off from her narration to directly address the reader, most scholars agree that this sort of authorial intrusion is not apostrophe.
The reason is that apostrophe does not only address itself to a silent or absent entity—it must address a specific entity. Beaudelaire's poem "To The Reader" may therefore be considered an example of apostrophe, because Beaudelaire describes the reader and makes him come to life, addressing him directly at the end:. There's one more damned than all. He never gambols, Nor crawls, nor roars, but, from the rest withdrawn, Gladly of this whole earth would make a shambles And swallow up existence with a yawn He smokes his hookah, while he dreams Of gibbets, weeping tears he cannot smother.
You know this dainty monster, too, it seems — Hypocrite reader! A number of poetic forms are closely associated with apostrophes, such that these sorts of poems, more often than not, contain apostrophe.
Elegy and ode , two common poetic forms both make frequent use of apostrophe. An elegy, a poem written to commemorate a person who has died, sometimes addresses that person directly, or laments the death to other people, to nature, or to god. In "Elegy for Jane," Roethke addresses Jane directly in the last stanza:.
An ode, like an elegy, usually praises and describes its subject, as in Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale," in which he addresses his subject directly, from his opening line:. In addition, poems that contain an envoi , a short concluding stanza found particularly in ballades and sestinas , often contain apostrophe.
The envoi regularly though certainly not always serves as a dedication to a patron, beloved, or muse, and these dedications often take the form of an apostrophe. Apostrophe is found throughout literature: One of the earliest and most famous examples of apostrophe in literature comes from Homer, who begins both The Iliad and The Odyssey with an invocation of the Muse.
The Odyssey begins with the following lines, which ask the Muse, a goddess of the arts, to help the author in his work:. Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending, the wanderer, harried for years on end, after he plundered the stronghold on the proud height of Troy.
Apostrophe pops up all over the place in Shakespeare, as his characters often address abstract ideas or inanimate objects while onstage. In Macbeth , while Macbeth is struggling with whether to follow through with a planned murder, he sees an apparition of a dagger and addresses it:. Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight?
The works of Romantic poets of the nineteenth century, who were steeped in Greek poetry and myth, are also filled with apostrophe. Several of John Keats' odes, in particular, address their subjects directly. In "Ode on a Grecian Urn," Keats speaks to a beautiful ancient vase, addressing it as a bride, a child, and a historian, and also as a kind of Muse, who, if it could speak, would write more eloquently than Keats himself:. Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness, Thou foster-child of silence and slow time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme.
The modernist writer Virginia Woolf, who wrote in the early 20th century, also regularly used apostrophe in as part of the "stream of consciousness" that she often created for her characters. Here, in Woolf's The Waves, one character, Rhoda, cries out in anger to "human beings":. What dissolution of the soul you demanded in order to get through one day, what lies, bowings, scrapings, fluency and servility! How you chained me to one spot, one hour, one chair, and sat yourselves down opposite!
Many different genres of music make use of apostrophe, as it creates a direct emotional attachment between the singer and his or her subject. Walter, remember when the world was young and all the girls knew Walter's name? Walter, isn't it a shame the way our little world has changed. Do you remember Walter playing cricket in the thunder and the rain? Do you remember Walter smoking cigarettes behind your garden gate? Yes, Walter was my mate.
But Walter, my old friend, where are you now? I saw your son today, he look just like you You was the greatest, you'll always be the greatest I miss you B. G Can't wait til that day, when I see your face again.
Apostrophe - when a character in a literary work speaks to an object, an idea, or someone who doesn't exist as if it is a living person. This is done to produce dramatic effect and to show the importance of the object or idea.
Definition and a list of examples of apostrophe. Apostrophe is an exclamatory figure of speech in which a speaker addresses a 3rd party or inanimate object. Literary Devices.
An apostrophe is a figure of speech in which some absent or nonexistent person or thing is addressed as if present and capable of understanding. Also known as a turne tale, aversio, and aversion, apostrophes are exclamatory passages most often found in . A concise definition of Apostrophe along with usage tips, an expanded explanation, and lots of examples.
Sep 24, · I need an example of the literary device apostrophe in pop culture!? Can you help me find some literary techniques in these songs please? Someone who is good at literary terms and likes disney movies!?Status: Resolved. Songs are poems, too. Or, the article in which I mention Katy Perry, Yeezy, Ezra Pound, Dante, and Flight of the Concords. Seven Songs, Seven Literary Devices — Celebrating the Poetics of Songwriting. Column by Taylor Houston April 25, 4 comments. In: It occurred to my word nerd brain that these were pretty good .