Figures of speech in The Wreck of the Deutschland

Metaphor and personification

The main figure of speech is the metaphor. Similes are rarely used, perhaps we could say, never.

Personification is used of death (11); hope (15) and heart (18). A specific type of personification is anthropomorphism, in which God is given human characteristics, e.g. ‘thy finger' (1); ‘frown of his face' (3); ‘fondler' (9); ‘feathers' (12).

Other figures of speech

Less used figures are:

  • metonymy (e.g. ‘maiden's knee' (7) representing her maternal love)
  • synecdoche ‘telling of tongue' (9) (part of the anatomy to represent the whole of the speech act)
  • oxymoron (e.g. ‘winter and warm' (two opposite concepts put together as if the same)).
  • apostrophe, or a direct address to someone or something, occurs in the apostrophe to his heart (18).
Investigating figures of speech in The Wreck of the Deutschland
  • What effect does Hopkins achieve by using metaphors to the exclusion of similes?
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