Juxtaposition Examples in Sentences and Art

What Does it Mean to Juxtapose?

One of my favorite literary devices — life as well as books and art — is Juxtaposition. Juxtaposing is when very different things are put close together, so the viewer or reader gets a shock or smile when they notice the contrast. Here’s a cartoon example with two very different moods juxtaposed:

Juxtaposition sentences and examples in cartoon art: different moods
Two different moods juxtaposed.

Viewing the drawing, you may have grinned from the juxtaposed contrast of the sharp, spiky hair and attitude on the left with the smooth and serene expression on the right. Juxtaposition is useful in creative drawings and art to make differences stand out. In the example above, the left fellow’s fury POPS off the screen because he’s so much madder than the lady.

Juxtaposition in Art and Color

Color, lines, and subject matter can all be juxtaposed to great effect in the art world. For example, the super light eyes in my drawing below are sharply juxtaposed with the dark makeup and hair, making them jump off the page!

Juxtaposition example cartoon art: Colors
The light green eyes juxtaposed with her dark hair make this picture POP!

Try Juxtaposition in Photos

If you’re into photography, experiment with juxtaposing hues, lines, textures, and subject matter to boost excitement. For example, when I pose for photos for my travel blog, I make sure to pick dress colors that sharply juxtapose with the background to make both my outfit and the destination pop off the screen. (Ex: A red dress in front of a green forest.)

Juxtaposition as a Literary Device

Though sometimes it’s easier to see and define juxtaposition visually, it’s all over literature and text. To find it in a book or short story, look for the contrast — and what that contrast helps make stand out. Sometimes juxtaposition happens between the actions of two characters, or between the context and situation or person. (Speaking of “between” — make sure to check out the “liminal space” lesson after this one!)

One example (which also is relevant for real life) would be if two people have very different punishments for the same action. Juxtaposing those contrasting outcomes is vitally important because it can highlight prejudice or unjust systems that need to be changed.

Juxtaposition sentences and example cartoon art: different heights
Tall and short, juxtaposed.

Juxtaposition in TV, Movies, and Life

Though juxtaposition is a literary term, it’s sure relevant to TV, movies, and real life! One example is with height — a realm ripe for visual contrast. Height juxtaposition is often used for comic effect in movies or TV, for example, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel filming 5-foot-tall Susie Meyerson arguing with the towering Sophie Lennon.

VIDEO: How I Drew These Illustrations

The process of cartooning in action

The actor Danny DeVito is also frequently used for visual height juxtaposition jokes. Juxtaposed height jokes are also daily features of my own life as a six foot tall woman, as onlookers delight in pointing out the size contrast between me and my friends!

So what about you? Have you seen great juxtaposition examples in literature, TV, or life? Do share!

Get Monthly Updates!

20 thoughts on “Juxtaposition Examples in Sentences and Art”

    • You can even us it in your food! Hehe. Seriously, though, master chefs often juxtapose different textures and colors on a plate to make them look more tasty!

      Reply
    • So true! Food bloggers and culinary photographers use this all the time to create more beautiful and interesting photos, sometimes just instinctively!

      Reply
  1. This is great stuff! I have been experimenting with using juxtaposition in my photography—AND my daughter is an artist, so this post really resonates with me.

    Reply
    • Yes! Just yesterday I used color juxtaposition for an Instagram photo by making sure the there was a bright pink rose in the frame to POP against the green background!

      Reply
    • Merci! Many more to come. Curious to hear requests from teachers, parents, and students about which concepts and vocab words they most want next.

      Reply

Leave a Comment