Elements of Eloquence Single Line Challenge, Chapter Three, Antithesis

middle-aged man seated on wooden chair in dark green interior

He isn’t remembered for writing, “It was a fairly decent time, on average.”

Let’s dig in to antithesis. As described by Mark Forsyth in his book Elements of Eloquence (the easy and enjoyable book we’ve taken as our guidebook for the Figures of Rhetoric Poetry Challenge) antithesis is a double statement in which a thing is stated, and then its reverse is stated. It’s sort of a pair of verbal bookends, bracketing the whole of some reality.

Here are a couple of examples he gives:

  1. In sickness and in health
  2. A time to be born and a time to die
  3. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Obviously this can be used to different effects. Forsyth also goes into Oscar Wilde’s antitheses quite a bit. They often involved further development than the usual antithesis – some unexpected twist. He says it’s simple to imitate, but I haven’t found it so!

  1. Journalism is unreadable, and literature is not read.

Our turn!

Let’s show off our lines of prose or poetry, sober or humorous, involving antithesis. Post yours in the comment section below; I’ll get it started.

If you have trouble posting, please email me at alana.k.asby(at)vulgarismedia(dot)com. I’m trying to figure out why some people are having difficulty with the comment box.

Line Challenge 1
Line Challenge 2

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