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What are examples of juxtaposition?

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February 28, 2012 9:28AM

Juxtaposition refers to the use of dissimilar terms, concepts, or images in order to contrast their varying (or opposite) attributes. This may be used for ironic effect, to create surprise or humor, or to stimulate the imagination.

Some examples of images would be a baby with a machine gun, a caveman using a microwave oven, or a tycoon pushing his limousine (it has run out of gas). Another example would be a billboard for a church placed right next to one advertising nude dancers.

Literary examples may include juxtaposed characters : Romeo and Tybalt, Scrooge and his mentor Mr. Fezziwig, or the two boys in The Prince and the Pauper. Or an event that brings happiness to one character and sadness to another.

Seemingly self-contradictory phrases are called oxymorons, and they are similarly used for their irony. They could include such phrases as happy misfortune, foolish wisdom, or alone in a crowd.