"Saint Antoine" (paragraph below) shows an example of
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A. Synedoche, a sub-species of metaphor, is a figure of speech that substitutes something closely related to the thing actually meant. Thus, the use of the name of the village for its populace becomes such a metaphor.
As such a metaphor,Saint-Antoine assumes a personality that characterizes the residents of this poor village. They watch to see when Madame Defarge takes the rose from her headband, a sign that there is an enemy to the revolutionaries in the wine-shop, the men all known as "Jacques." When Barsad leaves, for instance, she removes this rose after having registered him in her knitting, and the people of Saint-Antoine then filter into the wine-shop, or they step outdoors in the evening as other women knit.
In this paragraph Saint Antoine is an example of (D) synecdoche. Synecdoche is a literary device by which a part is used to describe the whole, or vice-versa. A good example is referring to swords as “steel.” Steel is the material used to make the swords, not the swords themselves, yet is this sense they represent one and the same thing. In this excerpt from A Tale of Two Cities, Saint Antoine is being used – the whole – to represents the citizens of the neighborhood – the parts. Dickens is referring indirectly to all the people of the faubourg by simply associating them with the faubourg itself. A similar practice occurs when we go to the baseball stadium to watch Chicago play – the city itself is not playing a baseball game, but we indicate the team from that city by the city itself. The whole to represent the part.
Synecdoche is very easily confused with (A) metonymy. The difference lies in the relationship between the thing being represented, and that being used to represent it. Synecdoche is a part-whole relationship, and so the representative has a direct relationship with that being represented. A sword is made of steel, the citizens of Saint Antoine inhabit the neighborhood. With metonymy, this relationship is more indirect. For example, when you use the word “ride” to refer to a car. A ride is not a part of a car, but is contextually related to the actions performable by a person inside a car.
Synecdoche could also be confused with a (C) symbol or (E) metaphor, because each of these involves the use of one idea or object to represent another. With a symbol, however, there is usually some descriptive or functional relationship between the two objects, but no contextual or physical relationship. A red rose to symbolize love is a good example – there is nothing beyond tradition to link these two things, and yet they are one and the same. Metaphor is the verbal equating of one thing with another – my love is a red rose. We do not have this sort of direct verbal evidence in this paragraph. Dickens does not say the citizens of Saint Antoine are themselves the neighborhood. It is more discreet that this. As for (B) allegory, there are no moral undertones to this paragraph, nor is it anything more than expository description. We have no narrative to worry about in such a short excerpt.
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