Tuesday, 2 August 2016

'J' is for Juxtaposition

It's Alphabet time again! 

There weren't many options for 'j' -

(By which she means there was one.)

- so we're going with juxtaposition.

Juxtaposition is a narrative technique where the writer places two contrasting ideas/words next to each other, encouraging the reader to compare them.

For example -

She clutched at the water, but it slithered between her fingers. A wave rolled over her head, forcing her under, and she came up thrashing. It was like moving through treacle. Every pull, every kick robbed her of so much more than energy. Cries turned to gasps, then bitter acceptance. Her kicks grew smaller and smaller. She sank again. Her heart felt like a lump of ice, but her lungs were on fire.

Here, I juxtaposed ice and fire. Hot and cold. 

(That's the best thing you've written since January.)

That's depressing.

Juxtaposition in Fiction -
'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way… ' 
Seven examples in one extract, and you tell me I aren't concise.

(You can't be concise. You're too busy being dramatic.)

  • Shakespeare uses juxtaposition in many of his plays, including Romeo and Juliet.
  • In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte uses juxtaposition in Rochester's speech when he is comparing Jane and Bertha.
Can you think of any more examples of juxtaposition? Do you use it in your writing?