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Juxtaposition is the act of placing two elements, characters, settings, ideas, words, or things side by side, or close together, to allow for comparison and/or contrast. Humans create opinions and form feelings about things, and one way we determine whether we like something, or whether we prefer something, is by comparing or contrasting it to something else. For instance, you may try an apple and enjoy the taste of the apple. Then someone may give you a pear to eat. By eating the pear, you have a way to judge which fruit you like better. By placing the fruits side by side and comparing their taste in your mind, you decide which one you like better and how they are not like each other.
Essentially, juxtaposition is like making lists in your head about things you see, read, or experience. We know an apple is not an orange by making lists of their differing characteristics. We note that an orange is not red, like an apple. An orange does not have a stem similar to an apple. An orange is not eaten or peeled in a way similar to an apple. An orange has more juice than an apple. By placing features side by side, we know how to categorize things, and we also use juxtaposition to decide our feelings and opinions. Perhaps you like the taste of an orange better than the taste of an apple. You would only know this by placing them side by side in your mind and making decisions about them.
Literature and stories use juxtaposition in a way similar to the orange/apple scenario. We often identify characters in a story by comparing or contrasting them to other characters. We often see evil characters in movies dressed in black, while the hero, or good character, is dressed in white or brightly colored clothes. The contrast of colors helps us understand the character in black must be the evil character. We understand this because the evil character is not in white. By placing the characters side by side, their attributes and features are highlighted. We think the evil character is much more evil because we see that he is not the good character. At the same time, the good character, or the hero, appears more righteous because he is not the evil character. By placing character side by side, authors further develop characters or progress their narratives. Poets use juxtaposition often to compare people or things to each other. Shakespeare is known for comparing people to things in nature.
You can use juxtaposition in almost any scenario. We use juxtaposition in time when we say someone is “late” but another person is “on time.” We juxtapose clean and dirty/untidy. We formulate most of our decisions and preferences from juxtapositions.
Charles Dickens is known for his juxtapositions. The opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities, is one of the most famous examples of juxtaposition:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness…”
Dickens juxtaposes several things in his opening. We see the comparison and the contract clearly when we gives words that indicate opposite states of being. We see “best” and “worst” to describe the times. We see the contrast of “wisdom” and “foolishness.” We see “belief” and “incredulity” working side by side as pieces of comparison and contrast. More definitively, we see “Light” and “Darkness” as two concepts that are completely different when put side by side.
This bundle contains 5 ready-to-use juxtaposition worksheets that are perfect to test student knowledge and understanding of what juxtaposition is and how it can be used. You can use these juxtaposition worksheets in the classroom with students, or with home schooled children as well.
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Link will appear as Juxtaposition Examples and Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 14, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.