Although the concept of the oxymoron is an easy concept to understand, this lesson explores why writers choose to employ oxymorons in their writing. High school students especially find that love can present conflicting emotions which is why the play Romeo and Juliet has long appealed to the age group, but what about modern writers of verse? Does the oxymoron still possess the power to show the complexity of love in the modern world? As teachers we know the answer is yes, but students might struggle to see the connection, and this is where the genius of John Legend comes in. John Legend’s love ballad “All of Me” uses the oxymoron to the show the complex emotions the speaker feels towards the object of his affection.
There are several ways this lesson could be used. It could be used to introduce/refresh students to the concept of the oxymoron, to show students why writers would choose the oxymoron, as a way of teaching students how to create their own oxymorons, or to show them how to find these literary gems in music today.