Contrast is a rhetorical tool that writers use to identify differences between two subjects, places, people, things or ideas. It's just a kind of opposition between two objects that are highlighted to highlight their differences.
Contrast comes from the Latin word: contra stare, which means to stand against it. Usually, though not always, writers use phrases and words to indicate contrast, such as but, but instead, in contrast, nonetheless on the contrary and unlike, for example, E. White, in his novel Stuart Little, contrasts Stuart and others Babies, where the word is used differently than:
"Unlike most babies, Stuart was able to walk immediately after he was born."
Types of Contrast
Pointed Contrast - In this type of contrast, writers treat a number of features of two subjects and then present their contrast discussing each point in turn.
Subject-by-Subject Contrast - In this type of contrast, a writer first discusses one topic thoroughly and then moves on to another.
Examples of Contrasts in Literature
Example 1: Significant Men That Me I knew unpopular essays (by Bertrand Russell)
“First the differences: Lenin was cruel, which Gladstone was not; Lenin had no respect for tradition, while Gladstone had much; Lenin considered all means legitimate to ensure the victory of his party, while for Gladstone politics was a game of rules that must be observed. All of these differences are, in my opinion, to the advantage of Gladstone, and accordingly Gladstone had overall beneficial effects, while Lenin's effects were disastrous.
In this example, Russell shows a point-by-point contrast between two people, Vladimir Lenin - a Russian communist revolutionary, and William Gladstone - a British liberal politician. In the end, the author expresses his favor for Gladstone towards Lenin.
Example # 2: Sonnet 130 (by William Shakespeare)
“My mistress's eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is much redder than the red lips;
If the snow is white, why are her breasts dark;
If hair is wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses in damask, red and white,
But I do not see any such roses in her cheeks ... ”
In the first five lines of this poem Shakespeare uses a series of contrasts to highlighting the qualities of his beloved He contrasts them with the sun, coral, snow and wire. Simply put, he wants to convey the idea that his wife, while not extraordinary, is substantial.
Example 3: A Tale of Two Cities (by Charles Dickens)
Charles Dickens, in the very first chapter of his novel A Tale of Two Cities, presents one extensive background of events and forces that later shape the lives of the characters. In the first paragraph, he begins to share a dual theme as he compares and contrasts the ideas of the "best". and "worst" times, "light" and "darkness" and then "hope" and "despair".
These contrasting ideas reflect images of good and bad that would recur in situations and characters throughout the novel. Dickens contrasts two countries, England and France. Both countries experience very different and very similar situations simultaneously, the differences he compares are concepts of justice and spirituality in each country.
Example # 4: Romeo and Juliet (By William Shakespeare)
William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet is about contrasts of love I gave. This tragic play embodies these emotions in different ways, as we see a romance between two young lovers, Romeo and Juliet, while their families are at war and hate each other. However, her love forbids this war.
The characters in this play also contrast. Romeo and Juliet, although they are both lovers, they are also different. Romeo is impulsive and dependent, while Juliet is organized, courageous and practical. Montague's marriage is successful, while Capulet's is not. Along with a constant contrast in characters, also notice contrasts in the mood, theme, and action of the play.
Function of Contrast
Writers address a range of features and characteristics of two subjects, people, places and events by contrasting them from one point to another. While the main purpose of contrast is to explain ideas and clarify their meanings, this device makes it easy for readers to understand what will happen next. Through opposing and opposing ideas, writers strengthen their arguments, making them more memorable to readers by emphasizing them. In addition, contrasting ideas shock the audience, add to the drama and create balanced structures in literary works.
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