The Oxymoron & Alliteration Appeal

person holding type writer beside teacup and saucer on table

We start learning them in elementary school. Maybe second grade, maybe third. English is already molding young minds as we sit in small chairs, feet brushing the floor, only if we’re lucky. Fresh lined paper placed on the desk in front and a yellow number two in hand. The teacher stands at the front of the room, Communication Arts is in session.

Literary devices.

We learned about similes and metaphors first. Then personification before alliteration.

As middle school approaches, we learn about irony, hyperbole, oxymorons, and more. Literature and English just got serious.

The next literature lesson is to learn how to evaluate and draw conclusions based on context clues. We must pay close attention to word choice, the mood, tone, and all those underlying themes.

After years of literary analyses and literary devices, we begin to find what we like and most appeal to, in terms of writing and word order and usage, using those components in our own writing. Meaning our own writing outside of essays and other academic papers. It’s the stories we ponder often and the poems we write until we’re tired.

For you it is likely to be something different. But for me it is oxymorons and alliterations.

Oxymorons are fun, even in their opposite nature, negating the leading and following word. It is basically just a big contradiction. At times they can be used so precisely that you don’t realize what you just read was an oxymoron.

Alone together is an obvious oxymoron, one I enjoy using. But so is criminal justice.

A question that might arise about oxymorons is whether or not they should be used since a group of words are going against each other in meaning. With a loss of meaning it could seem as if the sentence or phrase is pointless, similar to clichés, a blog post I wrote last week. (Read it here.)

However, to me oxymorons give a sense of emphasis and drawn attention to visualization. It’s something particular that clichés just don’t reach.

The oxymoron “alone together” is emphasizing seclusion and isolation with one person, focusing on the excitement that comes with being beside a certain person. There is wonder in being with someone else and away from the whole world.

Moreover, “deafening silence” resembles the ear-pounding sound that a quiet room can project especially when you are by yourself or with the person who you wish would speak.

I also feel inclined to mention that the word oxymoron is in fact, an oxymoron.

While this literary device is fun, alliterations are the same way.

I read something once, maybe a quote, maybe a blog or article. The purpose of the text, regardless of the form, claimed that using alliteration is amateur, elementary, and adds nothing to your writing. Quite simply, its a foolish, childish move.

But me? I disagree.

Sure, alliterations are devices we learn and use in elementary school, but if used in precise ways, they can be powerful, memorable, and catchy.

I describe my writing in three ways, colorful, lyrical, with the right dose of alliteration.

Using alliteration is not creative-less in the sense that you are limiting yourself to a single letter, settling on a word because it sounds the same to the previous. Instead, limiting to just one letter can push your forward thinking strategies and creative mindset by deciding on the proper word to use. Perhaps you can become friends with a dictionary.

The end result is that alliterations are not always amateur lines. If considered carefully, they can create unique and descriptive sentences.

Using oxymorons and alliteration in my writing is an artistic experience. Find your artistic experience.

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