FUNCTIONS:   Function of Climax A climax, when used as a plot device, helps readers understand the significance of the rising action earlier to the point in the plot where the conflict reaches its...

This week we talked about Syntactical SDs and EMs, namely, climax, anticlimax, antithesis, attachment, asyndeton, polysyndeton, break-in-the-narrative, chiasmus, detachment, ellipsis, enumeration, litotes, parallel constructions, question-in-the-narrative, represented speech, rhetorical question, suspense, inversion, repetition.

so, there are some functions of them:


Function of Climax

A climax, when used as a plot device, helps readers understand the significance of the rising action earlier to the point in the plot where the conflict reaches its peak. The Climax of the story makes readers mentally prepared for the resolution of the conflict. Hence, climax is important to the plot structure of a story. Moreover, climax is used as a stylistic device or a figure of speech to render balance and brevity to speech or writing. Being properly employed, it qualifies itself as a powerful tool that can instantly capture the undivided attention of listeners and readers alike. Hence, its importance cannot be underestimated.


Function of Anti-Climax

Generally ludicrous or comic effect is produced by anti-climax. When employed intentionally, it devalues the subject. Therefore, it is frequently used for satirical and humorous composition in literature and movies. However, sometimes it is used unintentionally – then it is known as bathos.


Function of Asyndeton

Asyndeton helps in speeding up the rhythm of words. Mostly this technique is employed in speech but can be used in written works too. It helps in attracting the readers to collaborate with the writers, since it suggests that words, phrases and sentences are incomplete and the readers would have to do some work to deduce meanings. This version creates immediate impact and the readers are attuned to what the author is trying to convey.
Asyndeton are applied often intentionally in order to give a unique emphasis to the text, thereby drawing the attention of readers towards a particular idea the author wants to convey.


Function of Polysyndeton

Polysyndeton performs several functions. Not only does it join words, phrases and clauses and thus brings continuity in a sentence, but it acts also as a stylistic device, brings rhythm to the text with the repetition of conjunctions in quick succession. It is also employed as a tool to lay emphasis to the ideas the conjunctions connect.


Function of Aposiopesis (Break-in-the-narrative)

The purpose of using aposiopesis is to create dramatic or comic effects. The writers or speakers use it whenever they want to express ideas which are too overwhelming to finish. Several playwrights use this technique to make the dialogues seem sincere and realistic. But the most effective use of aposiopesis is seen when the readers successfully figure out the missing thoughts that the writer has left unfinished.


Function of Chiasmus

As the above discussion reveals, chiasmus is a unique rhetorical device which is employed by writers to create a special artistic effect in order to lay emphasis on what they want to communicate. Richard A. Lanham in his treatise, Analyzing Prose, puts forward his interesting point of view about chiasmus in the following words:

“By keeping the phrase but inverting its meaning we use our opponent’s own power to overcome him, just as a judo expert does. So a scholar remarked of another’s theory, ‘Cannon entertains that theory because that theory entertains Cannon.’ The pun on ‘entertain’ complicates the chiasmus here, but the judo still prevails–Cannon is playing with the power of his own mind rather than figuring out the secrets of the universe.”


Function of Ellipsis

Ellipsis is also very commonly used in filmmaking. The parts and scenes that are of no significance to the film are usually omitted by editing. For instance, there would be no point in showing a scene that involves a character walking to the door to answer it unless there is something absolutely important in that scene that you would like to highlight. Normally, such a scene would be cut short by editing the unnecessary parts. In such cases, the narrative logic allows the audience to ignore the ellipsis.


Function of Litotes

Litotes uses ironical understatement in order to emphasize an idea or situation rather than minimizing its importance. It rather discovers a unique way to attract people’s attention to an idea and that is by ignoring it.

J.R. Bergmann in his book “Talk at Work: Interaction in Institutional Settings” talks about litotes in the following words: “I want to claim that the rhetorical figure litotes is one of those methods which are used to talk about an object in a discreet way. It clearly locates an object for the recipient, but it avoids naming it directly.”

This is the best that has ever been said about litotes – that to ignore an object and still talk about it in a negative way is the best way to make it appear important and prominent.


Function of a Rhetorical Question

Writers employ rhetorical questions for rhetorical effects and we cannot easily quantify the impact rendered by a rhetorical question. The idea becomes all the more powerful, and our interest is aroused to continue to read and enjoy the technical and aesthetic beauty that a rhetorical question generates. Moreover, it is a requirement in persuasive speeches.


Function of Inversion

Like all literary devices, the main function of inversion in prose or poetry is to help the writers achieve stylistic effects like laying an emphasis on a particular point or changing the focus of the readers from a particular point. In poetry, inversions are regularly used to create rhythm, meter or rhyming scheme in the lines.


Function of Repetition

The beauty of using figurative language is that the pattern it arranges the words into is nothing like our ordinary speech. It is not only stylistically appealing but it also helps convey the message in much more engaging and notable way. The aura that is created by the usage of repetition cannot be achieved through any other device. It has the ability of making a simple sentence sound like a dramatic one. It enhances the beauty of a sentence and stresses on the point of main significance. Repetition often uses word associations to express the ideas and emotions in an indirect manner. The beauty of reading a piece with repetition in it is the balance where we, as readers, have to decipher such associations and understand the underlying meanings.

Repetition as a literary term can be used both constructively and destructively. The constructive usage encompasses functions such as, putting emphasis on a point, confirming a fact or an idea, cohesion, mimesis, transition, showing impartiality and or describing a notion. The same literary device when used destructively can disintegrate the entire piece of writing. Erasure, redundancy, continuous present, fragmentation, copying and habitual misuse of the literary device are among the destructive effects.




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