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There are several songs that have lyrics you can use to understand literary devices.
One example of a song that has a lot of similes is “Smile” by Uncle Kracker. This song contains a variety of similes including “sing like a bird” and “spin like a record.” It can help you understand that a simile is an indirect comparison using “like” or “as” to compare two unlike things.
Another song that can help you learn the literary device of irony is “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette. Irony is when something happens that the opposite of what you expected.
It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take…
In this case, the irony is kind of mean. You expect your wedding day to be perfect, and then it rains. You get a free ride, but you’ve already bought your ticket. Bummer!
Finally, another song that can teach a literary device is “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles. This song can teach the concept of metaphor and symbolism.
Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been,
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?
The metaphor of keeping her face in a jar and living in a dream demonstrated another type of figurative language. Metaphors are comparisons that say something is something else, rather than like it. Likewise, Eleanor is a symbol of the emptiness of modern life.
Songs use many different literary devices to get their message across. Listen carefully!
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