Climax - AP LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION

Climax - AP LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION

CLIMAX (AND ANTICLIMAX) DEFINITION WHAT IS A CLIMAX? HERES A QUICK AND SIMPLE DEFINITION: CLIMAX IS A FIGURE OF SPEECH IN WHICH SUCCESSIVE WORDS, PHRASES, CLAUSES, OR SENTENCES ARE ARRANGED IN ASCENDING ORDER OF IMPORTANCE, AS IN "LOOK! UP IN THE SKY! IT'S A BIRD! IT'S A

PLANE! IT'S SUPERMAN!" WHAT IS NOT CLIMAX CLIMAX APPEARS ALL OVER THE PLACE, AND IT'S EASY TO IDENTIFY IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR. THE DEFINITION OF CLIMAX INCLUDES ANY USE OF LANGUAGE THAT IS CHARACTERIZED BY A FEELING OF MOUNTING INTENSITY ACROSS SUCCESSIVE WORDS, PHRASES, CLAUSES, OR SENTENCES, BUT IT'S GENERALLY AGREED THAT SOMETHING IS ONLY AN EXAMPLE OF CLIMAX IF TENSION IS BUILT OVER THE COURSE OF THREE OR MORE DISCRETE WORDS, PHRASES, CLAUSES, OR SENTENCES. SO FOR EXAMPLE, THE FOLLOWING PHRASES

DO NOT COUNT AS CLIMAX, SINCE EACH ONE CONTAINS ONLY TWO DISCRETE IDEAS: NON-EXAMPLES IF YOU THINK THAT'S BAD, IT GETS WORSE." "TO INFINITY, AND BEYOND!" "OUT OF THE FRYING PAN AND INTO THE FIRE!" EXAMPLES HERE'S A HANDFUL OF EXAMPLES THAT DO CONTAIN AT LEAST THREE

DISCRETE WORDS OR CLAUSES IN ORDER OF INCREASING IMPORTANCE, WHICH QUALIFIES THEM AS EXAMPLES OF CLIMAX: LET A MAN ACKNOWLEDGE HIS OBLIGATIONS TO HIMSELF, HIS FAMILY, HIS COUNTRY, AND HIS GOD. SINCE CONCORD WAS LOST, FRIENDSHIP WAS LOST; FIDELITY WAS LOST; LIBERTY WAS LOSTALL WAS LOST. WHEN CLIMAX IS UNCLEAR IT CAN SOMETIMES BE DIFFICULT TO TELL WHETHER THE WORDS, PHRASES, OR SENTENCES IN A SEQUENCE ACTUALLY HAVE A HIERARCHY

OF IMPORTANCE OR POWER, WHICH MAKES IT DIFFICULT TO KNOW WHETHER CLIMAX IS AT PLAY. FOR INSTANCE, WAS ABRAHAM LINCOLN USING CLIMAX WHEN HE DECLARED IN HIS GETTYSBURG ADDRESS THAT THE UNION WAS FIGHTING TO DEFEND A GOVERNMENT "OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE." WHEN CLIMAX IS UNCLEAR SOME PEOPLE MIGHT ARGUE THAT GOVERNMENT "FOR THE PEOPLE" IS

THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY IDEA OF THE THREE PRESENTED HERE, AND THAT THEREFORE THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF CLIMAX. HOWEVER, OTHERS MIGHT SAY THAT THERE IS NO HIERARCHY BETWEEN THESE THREE IDEAS THAT THEY'RE ALL EQUALLY IMPORTANTAND THAT THIS SEQUENCE THEREFORE ISN'T AN EXAMPLE OF CLIMAX. CLIMAX OR NOT? LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. CLIMAX AND PARALLELISM

GENERALLY SPEAKING, CLIMAX WORKS IN TANDEM WITH PARALLELISM. IN PARALLELISM, TWO OR MORE ELEMENTS OF A SENTENCE (OR SERIES OF SENTENCES) HAVE THE SAME GRAMMATICAL STRUCTURE, WHICH MAKES LISTS (OR SEQUENCES OF MULTIPLE IDEAS) EASIER TO READ AND UNDERSTAND. ALL OF THE EXAMPLES WE'VE LOOKED AT SO FAR HAVE USED PARALLELISM, AND THE FOLLOWING IS ANOTHER GOOD EXAMPLE OF BOTH CLIMAX AND PARALLELISM: CLIMAX AND PARALLELISM

VENI, VIDI, VICI: I CAME, I SAW, I CONQUERED. THE THREE CLAUSES OF THE SENTENCE ARE PARALLEL BECAUSE EACH STARTS OFF WITH THE PRONOUN "I" FOLLOWED BY A VERB IN THE PAST TENSE, SO THEREFORE THEY HAVE THE SAME GRAMMATICAL STRUCTURE. BECAUSE THE GRAMMATICAL STRUCTURE OF THE CLAUSES IS IDENTICAL, IT IS EASER TO SEE THAT THE IDEAS IN EACH SUCCESSIVE CLAUSE GROW IN INTENSITY AND SIGNIFICANCE. ANTICLIMAX

THE OPPOSITE OF CLIMAX IS A FIGURE OF SPEECH CALLED ANTICLIMAX. THERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF ANTICLIMAX. THE FIRST TYPE OF ANTICLIMAX IN THE FIRST TYPE, WORDS ARE ARRANGED IN ORDER OF DESCENDING IMPORTANCE, AS IN: "FOR GOD, FOR COUNTRY, AND FOR YALE." (A YALE UNIVERSITY MOTTO.) "HE HAS SEEN THE RAVAGES OF WAR, HE HAS KNOWN NATURAL CATASTROPHES, HE HAS BEEN TO SINGLES BARS." (WOODY ALLEN)

"HE LOST HIS FAMILY, HIS JOB, AND HIS HOUSE PLANTS." ANTICLIMAX IN THE SECOND TYPE OF ANTICLIMAX, WHICH IS SIMILAR TO BUT SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FROM THE FIRST, WORDS ARE ARRANGED IN ORDER OF ASCENDING IMPORTANCE WITH A SUDDEN SHIFT AT THE END BACK TO THE UNIMPORTANT, AS IN: "'OH, POOR MR. JONES,' MOURNED MRS. SMITH, 'DID YOU HEAR WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM? HE TRIPPED AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS, FELL DOWN THE WHOLE FLIGHT, BANGED HIS HEAD, AND DIED'. 'DIED?' SAID MRS. ROBINSON, SHOCKED. 'DIED!' REPEATED MRS. SMITH WITH

EMPHASIS. 'BROKE HIS GLASSES, TOO.'" (ISAAC ASIMOV) AMONG THE GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS OF BENITO MUSSOLINI'S REGIME WERE THE REVIVAL OF A STRONG NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS, THE EXPANSION OF THE ITALIAN EMPIRE, AND THE RUNNING OF THE TRAINS ON TIME." ANTICLIMAX ANTICLIMAX GENERALLY HAS A COMEDIC EFFECT, SINCE IT SUBVERTS

THE LISTENER'S EXPECTATIONS BY PLACING THE LEAST IMPORTANT THING AT THE END OF THE LIST, WHERE THEY WOULD EXPECT TO HEAR THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. SOME EXAMPLES OF ANTICLIMAX ARE INTENDED TO BE FUNNY (LIKE WOODY ALLEN'S), AND SOME ARE FUNNY WITHOUT INTENDING TO BE (LIKE THE YALE MOTTO). CLIMAX IN LITERATURE ALL THAT MOST MADDENS AND TORMENTS; ALL THAT STIRS UP THE LEES OF THINGS; ALL TRUTH WITH MALICE IN IT; ALL THAT CRACKS THE SINEWS AND CAKES THE BRAIN; ALL THE SUBTLE DEMONISMS OF LIFE

AND THOUGHT; ALL EVIL, TO CRAZY AHAB, WERE VISIBLY PERSONIFIED AND MADE PRACTICALLY ASSAILABLE IN MOBY DICK. HERMAN MELVILLE CLIMAX IN MUSIC YEAH, AND LAST NIGHT I THINK I LOST MY PATIENCE LAST NIGHT I GOT HIGH AS YOUR EXPECTATIONS LAST NIGHT I CAME TO A REALIZATION AND I HOPE YOU CAN TAKE IT I HOPE YOU CAN TAKE IT: I'M TOO GOOD TO YOU

I'M WAY TOO GOOD TO YOU YOU TAKE MY LOVE FOR GRANTED I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND IT DRAKE CLIMAX IN SPEECH THERE ARE THOSE WHO ARE ASKING THE DEVOTEES OF CIVIL RIGHTS, "WHEN WILL YOU BE SATISFIED?" WE CAN NEVER BE SATISFIED AS LONG AS THE NEGRO IS THE VICTIM OF THE UNSPEAKABLE HORRORS OF POLICE BRUTALITY. WE CAN NEVER BE SATISFIED AS LONG AS OUR BODIES, HEAVY WITH THE FATIGUE OF TRAVEL, CANNOT GAIN LODGING IN THE MOTELS OF THE HIGHWAYS AND THE HOTELS OF THE CITIES. WE CANNOT BE

SATISFIED AS LONG AS THE NEGRO'S BASIC MOBILITY IS FROM A SMALLER GHETTO TO A LARGER ONE. WE CAN NEVER BE SATISFIED AS LONG AS OUR CHILDREN ARE STRIPPED OF THEIR SELF-HOOD AND ROBBED OF THEIR DIGNITY BY SIGNS STATING: "FOR WHITES ONLY." WE CANNOT BE SATISFIED AS LONG AS A NEGRO IN MISSISSIPPI CANNOT VOTE AND A NEGRO IN NEW YORK BELIEVES HE HAS NOTHING FOR WHICH TO VOTE. NO, NO, WE ARE NOT SATISFIED, AND WE WILL NOT BE SATISFIED UNTIL JUSTICE ROLLS DOWN LIKE WATERS, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS LIKE A MIGHTY STREAM. CLIMAX IN DOUGLASS PLUMMER WAS A MISERABLE DRUNKARD, A PROFANE SWEARER, AND A SAVAGE MONSTER.

THE CHILDREN WERE THEN CALLED, LIKE SO MANY PIGS, AND LIKE SO MANY PIGS THEY WOULD COME AND DEVOUR THE MUSH, SOME WITH OYSTER-SHELLS, OTHERS WITH PIECES OF SHINGLE, SOME WITH NAKED HANDS, AND NONE WITH SPOONS. HE WAS CRUEL ENOUGH TO INFLICT THE SEVEREST PUNISHMENT, ARTFUL ENOUGH TO DESCEND TO THE LOWEST TRICKERY, AND OBDURATE ENOUGH TO BE INSENSIBLE TO THE VOICE OF A REPROVING CONSCIENCE. SO ULTIMATELY, WHATS THE FUNCTION OF CLIMAX?

IT'S A HIGHLY EFFECTIVE TOOL OF RHETORIC: IT LENDS STRUCTURE AT THE SENTENCE LEVEL;

IT BUILDS ANTICIPATION IN THE LISTENER; IT MAKES CLEAR WHICH IDEA IN A SERIES THE SPEAKER ASSIGNS THE MOST VALUE. IT MAKES WORDS (AND THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY OCCUR) EASIER TO REMEMBERA VALUABLE QUALITY FOR BOTH SONGWRITING AND SPEECHWRITING.

IT ADDS A TOUCH OF DRAMA AND SUSPENSE TO THE PRESENTATION OF A LIST. IT ESTABLISHES A CLEAR RELATIONSHIP OF HIERARCHY BETWEEN THINGS ON A LIST. ANADIPLOSIS DEFINITION

ANADIPLOSIS IS THE LITERARY TERM FOR A RHETORICAL DEVICE IN WHICH A WRITER OR SPEAKER USES A WORD NEAR THE END OF THE CLAUSE AND THEN REPEATS THAT WORD TO BEGIN THE NEXT CLAUSE EXAMPLES 1. "WHEN I GIVE, I GIVE MYSELF." WALT WHITMAN, "SONG OF MYSELF" 2. "I WILL ARISE AND GO NOW, AND GO TO INNISFREE . . . AND I WILL HAVE SOME PEACE THERE, FOR PEACE COMES DROPPING SLOW." WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS, "THE LAKE ISLE OF INNISFREE" 3. "THE LOVE OF WICKED MEN CONVERTS TO FEAR, THAT FEAR TO HATE, AND HATE TURNS ONE OR BOTH TO WORTHY DANGER AND DESERVED DEATH." SHAKESPEARE, RICHARD II

4. "I BEG YOUR PARDON; PARDON, I BESEECH YOU." SHAKESPEARE, ROMEO AND JULIET 5. "I AM SAM; SAM I AM." DR. SEUSS, GREEN EGGS AND HAM FROM DOUGLASS TO BE ACCUSED WAS TO BE CONVICTED, AND TO BE CONVICTED WAS TO BE PUNISHED. HE SPOKE BUT TO COMMAND AND COMMANDED BUT TO BE OBEYED. EFFECTS?

CALLS ATTENTION TO A PARTICULAR WORD, PHRASE OR IDEA. CREATES STRUCTURE IN THE SENTENCE.

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