- Symbol = “any object, typically material, which is meant to represent another.”
- Metaphor = “The use of a word or phrase to refer to something that it isn’t, implying a similarity between the word or phrase used and the thing described, and without the words ‘like’ or ‘as.’”
- Simile = “a figure of speech in which one thing is compared to another, generally using like or as.” Allusion = “Indirect reference; a hint; a reference to something supposed to be known, but not explicitly mentioned; a covert indication.”
- Description = Concrete illustration of a person, place, or thing by an appeal to one or more of the five physical senses.
- Juxtaposition = “A placing or being placed in nearness or contiguity, or side by side, often done in order to compare/contrast the two, to show similarities or differences.”
- Contrast = difference.
- Comparison = similarity
- Parallelism = “agreement or similarity; resemblance; correspondence; analogy; likeness.”
- Ambiguity = “something liable to more than one interpretation, explanation or meaning, if that meaning etc cannot be determined from its context.”
- Repetition = “the act or an instance of repeating or being repeated.”
- Irony = “a statement that, when taken in context, may actually mean the opposite of what is written literally; the use of words expressing something other than their literal intention.”
Note: Except for the definitions of “contrast,” “similarity,” and “description,” these definitions are taken from Allwords.com, an “English Dictionary - With Multi-Lingual Search”
Of course, it is one thing to know the meanings of words; it is another thing entirely to learn to master the concepts to which they point. A dictionary cannot teach us to do that. To learn the techniques, we must apprentice ourselves to the masters and learn from observing them at work. For example, to learn to use symbolism effectively, we might study the works of Stephen Crane, Jonathan Swift, and Mark Twain. Ambiguity might be best learned from the example of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Proverbs can teach more than morality; Proverbs can also teach us how to employ parallelism, both complementary and antithetical. Poe is a master of symbolism, too, but he is also gifted in the art of juxtaposition and repetition. There are many masters from which to learn. We have already learned a preliminary lesson, however: a knowledge of the meaning of words is merely a beginning. To become adepts, we must become students of the adept.