SYNECDOCHE



Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part of an object is used to represent the whole object.

 

For example, if you refer to your uncle as "Baldie" because of his bald head, you are using the figure synecdoche.

The saying "lend me a hand" really means you want the whole person to help you in some project. A "hand" would not do you any good if the person did not volunteer the entire body to help.




In his poem "Ozymandias," Shelley uses synecdoche in the following lines when the traveller describes the broken statue of a tyrant:

 

     Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

     Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

     The hand that mocked them.

 

Can you identify the synecdoche? What are the two terms (A and B) of this figure?

(Consider that the sculptor, probably a slave, may very well have understood that the tyrant Ozmandias would someday come to a sad end, or at least his statue would, and thus the broken statue could someday mock the pride of the tyrant.)






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