Literary devices

From A+ Club Lesson Planner & Study Guide

Literary devices or literary techniques

  • similar to Rhetorical devices but about literature whereas rhetorical devices regard persuasion

Purpose of literary devices[edit | edit source]

  • When we express a literal thought, the intended idea is directly stated
    • ex. The rainstorm is dropped two inches of rain.
      • = just the facts, ma'am
  • figurative language expands the meaning beyond the literal
    • ex.
      • The violent rainstorm pounded on the roof all night
        • can a storm be violent? can it "pound" on a roof?
          • < not literally, but such was the effect and experience of the storm
      • It rained cats and dogs
        • well, not literally, we hope

imagery and figurative language conveys emotions as well as thoughts[edit | edit source]

  • when we express ourselves figurativey or through imagery, we convey (deliver, carry to) more than just the thought, we help the listener or reader also experience the idea, or carry the idea into his or her own experiences
  • for this reason, the purpose of "figurative language" is "rhetorical effect"
    • rhetorical = of or from use of language
    • rhetorical effect, then, means an effect or experience created by language
    • rhetorical effect comes in a variety of ways, per below

Figurative language[edit | edit source]

Basic “stick figure” representation of a person, with a circle for the head and lines for the torso, arms, and legs.
  • or "figures of speech"
  • "figure" (noun) means a representation of something
    • thus a "stick figure" is a representation of a person using sticks (thin pieces of wood)
    • "to figure" (verb) means to decipher or decode the meaning of something
  • thus "figurative language" is language through representations
    • these representations can be images, references, metaphors, word games, etc. that "represent" one thing through another

Literary approaches[edit | edit source]

  • narration
  • narrator
  • person
  • point of view

Literary techniques[edit | edit source]

point of view[edit | edit source]

climax[edit | edit source]

detail[edit | edit source]

diction[edit | edit source]

sequence[edit | edit source]

structure[edit | edit source]

syntax[edit | edit source]

tension & resolution[edit | edit source]

tone[edit | edit source]

vignette[edit | edit source]

Narrative modes[edit | edit source]

action[edit | edit source]

dialogue[edit | edit source]

description[edit | edit source]

exposition[edit | edit source]

interiority[edit | edit source]

List of literary devices[edit | edit source]

  • allegory
  • alliteration
  • allusion
  • analogy
  • anaphora
  • anthropomorphism-
  • antithesis
  • archetype
  • colloquialism
  • comedy
  • direct characterization
  • ellision
  • euphemism
  • figurative
  • flashback
  • foreshadowing
  • hyperbole
  • imagery
  • indirect characterization
  • irony
  • juxtaposition
  • malapropism
  • metaphor
  • meter
  • mood
  • motif
  • onomatopoeia
  • oxymoron
  • paradox
  • parallelism
  • personification
  • point of view
  • repetition
  • rhetorical
  • simile
  • symbolism
  • tone
  • tragedy
  • tragicomedy

the difference between...[edit | edit source]

metaphor and simile[edit | edit source]

  • both are figures of speech that evoke meaning of one thing through a comparison to another
    • simile is a subset (sub-category) or form of a metaphor
  • metaphor adopts (becomes) the comparative meaning:
    • the heart of the issue
  • simile compares the meaning directly
    • raining like cats and dogs
  • to summarize:
    • metaphor makes a non-literal direct comparison or parallel connection
    • analogy makes a literal (actual) comparison via the words as, like

analogy and metaphor[edit | edit source]

  • analogy
    • draws a direct comparison in order to make a point about both ends of the comparison
    • analogy explains or makes a point through the comparison
    • generally, the analogy is literal:
      • ex. The kid ate through his entire birthday cake faster than a dog devouring a juicy bone
        • i.e. the cake was as enjoyable to the kid as a juicy bone to a dog
    • however, an analogy may also imply a figurative meaning of both sides of the comparison
      • ex. Taking that test, I may as well have tried cleaning my room.
        • i.e., both activities are useless
  • metaphor:
    • draws a comparison to illuminate one thing through a known other
      • i.e, the metaphor is that thing
        • in other words, the metaphor uses a known image or comparison to illuminate another
    • uses emphasis and imagery
    • is abstract
    • both can be emotional (feelings) or rational (conceptual)
    • ex. The test was a cake walk except for that last question which led me off a cliff