In literature, an apostrophe is a phrase that is sometimes represented by an exclamation like "Oh". A writer or speaker who uses apostrophe is speaking directly to someone who is absent, dead, or speaking to an inanimate object.
It is important not to confuse apostrophe, the literary device, with the punctuation mark that shows apostrophe (') characters Ownership of or marks the omission of one or more letters (contraction). Postrophes in literature is an arrangement of words that address a non-existent person or abstract idea as if they were there and able to understand feelings.
Examples of apostrophes in literature
The English literature contains numerous examples of apostrophes. Let's look at some examples.
Example 1: Macbeth (by William Shakespeare)
William Shakespeare uses apostrophe in his play Macbeth:
“Is this a dagger? what I see in front of me,
The grip on my hand?
Come let me hold you!
I don't have you, and yet I still see you.
In her mental conflict before assassinating King Duncan, Macbeth has a strange vision of a dagger and speaks to him as if he were a person
Example # 2: The Star (by Jane Taylor)
Jane Taylor uses an apostrophe in the well-known poem, The Star :
"Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky."
This poem became one of the most popular nursery rhymes ever told to young children - often in song form. In this nursery rhyme, a child talks to a star (an inanimate object). So this is a classic example of an apostrophe.
Example # 3: Frankenstein (by Mary Shelly)
See how Mary Shelly uses an apostrophe in her novel Frankenstein:
“Oh! Stars and clouds and winds, all of you are about to make fun of me; if you really feel sorry for me, crush the feeling and the memory; let me become nothing; but if not, go, go and leave me in darkness ”.
Talking with the stars, clouds and winds is an apostrophe.
Example # 4: Death do not be proud (By John Donne)
“Death do not be proud, although some have called
Powerful and terrible, because you are not like that,
Because those whom you think, you tear them down,
Do not die, poor man death, not even you can kill me.
Here Donne speaks to death, an abstract idea, as if he were a person capable of understanding his feelings.
Example # 5: The Sun Rising (By John Donne)
John Donne once again uses the apostrophe in his poem The Sun Rising:
“Busy old fool, rebellious sun,
Why are you doing like this,
through windows and curtains,
Must you run the lovers' stations with your movements?
You miserable pedant ... ”
The poet addresses the sun in an informal and colloquial way, as If it were a real human being, he asks the Sun in a rude way why the Sun appeared and spoiled the good time it was passing with his beloved
Example # 5: A portrait of the artist when he was young (By James Joyce)
James Joyce uses the apostrophe in his novel Portrait of the young artist:
“Welcome, life! I am going to meet for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated consciousness of my race. ”
Being able to speak with something abstract, like life itself, is only possible in literature.
Example # 6: To a stranger born in a far away country hundreds of years from now (by Billy Collins)
In this excerpt , the poet uses a conventional apostrophe that begins with "O":
“Oh stranger from the future!
O be inconceivable!
Whatever the shape of your house,
Whatever you go from one place to another,
No matter how strange and colorless the clothes you wear,
I bet nobody likes a wet dog either.
I bet everyone in your pub ,
Even children push her. ”
The speaker is talking to an imaginary character, the“ stranger ”.
Example # 7: Sire (By W.Merwin)
Another example of an apostrophe comes from the poem Sire, written by W.Merwin:
“Forerunner, I would like to say, silent pilot,
Little dry death, future,
Your hints are so weird40 to4 like mine. I know so little that anything you tell me would be a revelation. ”
Function of the apostrophe
With the use of the apostrophe in their literary works, writers treat abstract ideas or non-existent people in life, so that the nature of the emotions they want to communicate is better conveyed. It is more convenient for readers to relate to abstract emotions when they observe them in the In addition, the use of the apostrophe encourages readers to develop a fresh and creative perspective.
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