Explain the literary device in this sentence: "The princess kissed the frog; he croaked."I believe my teacher said this was a pun. I also have to explain how the semicolon adds to the humor of...

Explain the literary device in this sentence: "The princess kissed the frog; he croaked."

I believe my teacher said this was a pun. I also have to explain how the semicolon adds to the humor of this. I would appreciate if anyone could explain this to me as i have thought of this for awhile and still don't understand why it is a pun or how this is humorous? Thanks

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is funny because the word "croak" has two meanings.  It usually refers to the sound that we say that a frog makes.  So that's why it makes sense to say that the frog croaked after the princess kissed it.

But "croak" in slang, also means to die.  So it ends up sounding like after she kissed the frog, it died.

I guess the semicolon is important because if it were a comma, it might be what someone said.  In other words, someone might have croaked those words.  Like if you wrote "Hello," she said.

lit24's profile pic

lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

The literary device used in the sentence "the princess kissed the frog; he croaked" is known as anthropomorphism.

ANTHROPOMORPHISM is the attribution of human characteristics to animals or objects.

In the sentence "the princess kissed the frog; he croaked,' the frog is an animal and the pronoun 'it' should be used instead 'he,' the third person singular personal pronoun is used to refer to the animal 'frog.'

The word 'croaked' could mean either 'to make a low hoarse sound' or 'to die.' The pun results because it could either mean that the frog 'made a low hoarse sound' as soon as the princess kissed it or it could mean that the frog 'died' as soon as the princess kissed it.

A semicolon is used to connect two independent clauses. Independent clauses are clauses which make complete sense on their own. In this sentence the two independent clauses 'the princess kissed the frog' and 'he croaked' make complete sense on their own and are connected  by a semicolon.

The humour results because of the punning on the meaning of the word 'croaked' and also because of the use of the semicolon. The semicolon unlike the comma creates a lot of anticipation. In the fairy tale the frog turns into a handsome prince as soon as it is kissed by the princess. But in this sentence just as the reader conventionally expects the frog to turn into a prince, it does not turn into a prince but it either makes a hoarse sound or it dies.  The humour results because just as the reader pauses at the semicolon and expects the conventional result his expectations are not fulfilled.

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