Use Antithesis to Make Your Point by Contrastby Tamara Passey
"What's the point?" "That's besides the point."
We all need a little help making our point, right?
Here is another tool for the get-to-the-point toolbox: antithesis.
(It's not a tongue twister; it's a figure of speech.)
And that parenthetical sentence was the first example of making a point by contrast. Sometimes the best way to say what you mean is to say what you do not mean, followed by what you do mean.
"This juxtaposition of contrary statements is called antithesis." 1 According to Wilbers. And in Week 25 of Mastering the Craft he doesn't just give one example of antithesis, he gives twenty-seven. (And yes, I managed to use an example of antithesis in that sentence about examples of antithesis.)
Here is an exercise, see if you can complete the statements:
a. We notice things that don't work. We don't notice . . .
b. This book is not to be tossed aside lightly. It should be . . .
c. Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved . . .
While your thinking of opposite endings for those statements, here are some more gems:
"Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you're doing--none of that is writing. Writing is writing" E. L. Doctorow
"The difference between journalism and literature is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read." Oscar WildeFor those of you who have read The Christmas Tree Keeper, you may recognize I did this with the opening lines in Chapter One:
"The Nor'easter brought the snow, but that didn't start it. The radio station began playing carols around the clock, but that didn't start it. Main Street wrapped the lampposts in candy-cane-striped garland, but even that wasn't enough. Not until the decorated tree stood in the front window with soft lights glowing around the angel's contented face did Christmas officially begin in the Donovan family."And the endings you've been waiting for:
a. We notice things that don't work. We don't notice things that do.
b. This book is not to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force. (Dorothy Parker)
c. Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more. (Brutus in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.)
And one more (literary related) antithetical statement for the road:
"In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)So, give it a try...write your own antithetical statement, or share one of your favorites!
1. Mastering the Craft, Wilbers, p. 141