Rhetorical Schemes

Authors use rhetorical schemes to emphasize, draw analogies, and engage the reader. Some common rhetorical schemes are parallelism, repetition, and antithesis.

Now, rhetorical schemes are just devices used to make your writing stronger and more interesting.

The next lesson: Writing a Response to the Text, both lessons are included in Practice Tests.

The following transcript is provided for your convenience.

So, these are just a few of many different rhetorical schemes, and if you interested in more ideas, you could always research and find other rhetorical schemes so that you could make your writing stronger.

Parallelism is when several sentences are given the same grammatical structure. An example would be:

“Hector went to the store. He went to the bank. He went to the gym.”

“The author suggests the dullness of these activities.”

That parallel structure shows that it’s the same thing happening over and over again. It’s really dull. It’s really boring.

“He went to the store. He went to the bank. He went to the gym.” He was just playing out the monotony of his day. It was dull, and this grammatical structure is supposed to echo the dullness of the story that’s being told.

Repetition is another example of a rhetorical scheme. Repetition is when you use the same word several times quickly. And the author does this for different reasons. Let’s look at an example and then we’ll discuss those reasons.

“They called him a slave, he thought of himself as a slave, and his prospects were no better than those of a slave.”

This mimics the plodding, hopeless nature of slavery. Think about the way that sounds. It sounds like he’s plodding along.

“They called him a slave, and he thought of himself as a slave, and his prospects were no better than those of a slave.”

So, it’s plodding in the sentence how it’s hopeless, and you hear the word “slave” over and over again. And it causes the reader to focus on that word, “slave,” and consider whether it is really appropriate.

So, those are two reasons that a writer may use repetition. It may mimic a certain nature and make you think about that, or it could cause the reader to focus on that word and consider whether it’s appropriate or whether it’s being used as a literary device.

Is this person really a slave? Or is it someone that they’re just calling a slave as an exaggeration because of the way he’s being treated or the way that he’s perceived? And we really don’t know based on this one sentence, whether this word is appropriate or not. We would have to see the rest of the paragraph. But it definitely does give us a plodding, hopeless feeling to this sentence.

The last rhetorical scheme we’re going to discuss is the antithesis, which is using contrary ideas expressed in a balanced sentence. An example would be:

“One small step for man, one giant leap for all mankind.”

This is the famous quote. It’s said after we took our first step on the Moon. Putting man on the Moon was a giant leap for all mankind.

But it was just one small step. He took one small step onto the Moon, and that one small step counted as a giant leap for all mankind.

So, you’ve got those contrary ideas of a small step and a giant leap expressed in a balanced sentence, and you understand what he means.

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Being able to step foot on the Moon was a huge leap for mankind, even if it was just a small step literally. So, this is an example of antithesis.

So, when you’re writing, there are several rhetorical schemes that you can use to make your writing stronger and more engaging to the reader.

Practice tests help you remember. Take this mini-test to solidify your memory.
Mini-test: 19. Rhetorical Schemes 

Indicate if the following examples illustrate Parallelism, Repetition, or Antithesis.

______ 1. “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend me your ears/I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him” (Shakespeare)
Indicate if the following examples illustrate Parallelism, Repetition, or Antithesis.

______  2. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, … it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness…” (Dickens)
Indicate if the following examples illustrate Parallelism, Repetition, or Antithesis.

______ 3. “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.” (Dale Carnegie)
Indicate if the following examples illustrate Parallelism, Repetition, or Antithesis.

______ 4. “we loved with a love that was more than love/I and my Annabel Lee” (Poe)
Indicate if the following examples illustrate Parallelism, Repetition, or Antithesis.

______ 5. Man proposes, God disposes. (Spanish proverb)
A.  
B.  
C.  
Indicate if the following examples illustrate Parallelism, Repetition, or Antithesis.

______  6. “The world will little note … what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” (Lincoln)
Indicate if the following examples illustrate Parallelism, Repetition, or Antithesis.

______ 7. “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse” (Shakespeare)

 

The next lesson: Writing a Response to the Text, both lessons are included in Practice Tests.

rhetorical-schemes