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Thursday Flash Craft: Synecdoche and the Search for the One

Wikipedia has every­thing you’d ever need to know about any­thing, includ­ing synec­doche. Accord­ing to Robert Har­ris, synec­doche “is a form of metaphor in which the part stands for the whole, the whole for a part, the genus for the species, the species for the genus, the mate­rial for the thing made, or in short, any por­tion, sec­tion, or main qual­ity for the whole or the thing itself (or vice versa).” Har­ris gives the fol­low­ing exam­ples:

  1. Farmer Jones has two hun­dred head of cat­tle and three hired hands.
  2. If I had some wheels, I’d put on my best threads and ask for Jane’s hand in mar­riage.
  3. The army included two hun­dred horse and three hun­dred foot.
  4. It is sure hard to earn a dol­lar these days. 
  5. Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nos­trils the breath of life; and man became a liv­ing soul. –Gen­e­sis 2:7
  6. Get in here this instant or I’ll spank your body. [Whole for part–i.e. “body” for “rear end”] 
  7. Put Beethoven on the turntable and turn up the vol­ume. [Com­poser sub­sti­tuted for record] 
  8. A few hun­dred pounds of twenty dol­lar bills ought to solve that prob­lem nicely. [Weight for amount] 
  9. He drew his steel from his scab­bard and wel­comed all com­ers. [Mate­rial for thing made] 
  10. Patty’s hobby is expos­ing film; Harold’s is burn­ing up gaso­line in his dune buggy. [Part for whole] 
  11. Okay team. Get those blades back on the ice. [Part for whole]
  12. A major lesson Amer­i­cans need to learn is that life con­sists of more than cars and tele­vi­sion sets. [Two speci­fic items sub­sti­tuted for the con­cept of mate­rial wealth] 
  13. Give us this day our daily bread. –Matt. 6:11
  14. If you still do not feel well, you’d bet­ter call up a saw­bones and have him exam­ine you. 
  15. This pro­gram is for the lit­tle old lady in Cleve­land who can­not afford to pay her heat­ing bill.

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