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Questions tagged [literary-device]

For questions regarding an author's use of various literary techniques and other stylistic elements to allow the reader to better interpret and appreciate the work of literature.

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Besides the best-known ones, what are other constructed/fictional language varieties created for or used in fiction or other media [closed]

I am aware of a number of fictional varieties of natural languages used in fiction or other media, most notably maybe Orwell's Newspeak and Burgess' Nadsat. I am trying to find more examples here, ...
zwiebel's user avatar
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Sparrows in "The Bear" by Anton Chekhov

The following dialogue spoken by the character Smirnov in the farce "The Bear" by Anton Chekhov reads as follows: [taps his forehead] Excuse my outspokenness, a sparrow can give ten points ...
Selfie- grofie's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
7k views

Is there a name for the literary device in the expression "Thanks, I hate it."?

"Thanks, I hate it!" is an expression one could use to passive-aggressively indicate a strong dislike for something. What kind of literary device is used in this saying? Can this be ...
user19705's user avatar
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1 answer
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Can plot development analysis (climax, denouement, etc.) apply to smaller segments throughout a work?

I am in a class where we are being taught to analyze the smaller consecutive units of text which make up chapters in the overall work (which is of a biographical-historical narrative genre), where we ...
SeligkeitIstInGott's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
296 views

'Wild-bee hours' and 'wild-parrot days' in Sarojini Naidu's "A Rajput Love Song"

Sarojini Naidu's poem A Rajput Love Song has the stanza: Haste, O wild-bee hours, to the gardens of the sunset! Fly, wild-parrot day, to the orchards of the west! Come, O tender night, with your ...
CDR's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
162 views

How does the figure of “dropping oil to catch the air-borne motes” work in George Eliot’s “The Spanish Gypsy”?

The Spanish Gypsy (1868) by George Eliot is a closet drama in blank verse, set in Spain in the late 15th century, during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. Duke Silva of Bedmár is engaged to Fedalma,...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
173 views

What figure of speech is "trèfles de braise" in "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame"?

This is an extract of Book X, chapter IV of Victor Hugo's novel Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, emphasis mine): Tous les yeux s'étaient levés vers le haut de l'église. Ce qu'ils ...
Charo's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
1k views

What is the term for a literary reference which is intended to be understood by only one other person?

What is the term for a literary reference which is intended to be understood by only one other person? I came across this term some years ago but did not record it - wrongly assuming I could easily ...
Patrick FitzGerald's user avatar
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2 answers
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Is there a term for the final step an author takes when they "prove" a theme by assigning a reward or tragedy on a character?

For example, in the tale of the tortoise and the hare the tortoise's victory and the social acceptance it wins would be the step that proves to the reader that committing to being “slow and steady” is ...
iceninja21's user avatar
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Making trivial things big, and big things trivial

In Sherriff’s play Journey’s End, Sherriff makes a recurring point of soldiers ‘coping’ with the war by making trivial things big and big things small, so much so that deviation from this theme leads ...
Vivaan Daga's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
500 views

Literary devices in "Thou wouldst be great" et cetera in Macbeth

From Macbeth, Act I Scene V: Lady Macbeth: Thou wouldst be great; Art not without ambition, but without The illness should attend it. I understand what the quote means, but which literary devices ...
Lmnop's user avatar
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Has anastrophe decreased in frequency during the period of Modern English?

Anastrophe, the changing of usual subject-verb-object order for poetic reasons, is something that, anecdotally, strikes me as less frequent nowadays than in older writing from, say, the 19th century. ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
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What is the "YOU LED THEM TO US??!!!" plot device called?

I want to know what the plot device is called where the stumbling protagonist has a brush encounter with the antagonist who lets them free, so that they lead them to the "motherland" / "...
NemyaNation's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
156 views

Is there a word for the device where an adjective or descriptive verb is applied to a nearby word rather than the word it actually describes?

Eg. "the green and climbing eyesight of a cat" ("Sir, Say No More"); "[the quarry] whose trail soon vanished in the antlered wood" ("Arrowhead Hunting"). The ...
eclarette's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
99 views

What form of figurative language is this in Achebe's "Things Fall Apart"?

I was reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe which is set in pre-colonial Nigeria. During a ceremony where members of the clan of Umofia are hearing out cases the leaders who are dressed up as ...
Jaireet Chahal's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
236 views

Are there any literary techniques in the following quote from Othello other than metaphor?

Whilst re-reading Othello, I came across the following quote from Iago. I understand that there is metaphor within the quote, however, can anyone identify any more interesting techniques within the ...
John Elliot's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
219 views

Name for device in "Possessions" by Hart Crane?

The poem 'Possessions' by Hart Crane contains a lot of what I call 'false units', that is, sentences which appear to have predicates describing subjects, but in reality the predicates do not modify ...
bobsmith76's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
114 views

Expression used when a subplot is the genuine plot

I'm looking for the literary expression that is used when the themes and plot of a subplot are the real plot of a narrative, which is counterpoised to another, more accessible story plot that is only ...
RoDaSm's user avatar
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In Philip Roth's The Human Stain, why might Delphine Roux be considered a caricature?

Roth is commonly considered to be, at best, a masculine writer and, at worst, a misogynistic one. In The Human Stain, for example, the central relationship is between two men, one of whom is sleeping ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
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What is the irony of a ten-dollar bill in Philip Dick's "Voices from the Street"?

There is a scene in the novel where the protagonist has sex with a woman, beats her up, and then departs leaving some money. He had left a ten-dollar bill on the dresser for Marsha... He wondered if ...
DrTyrsa's user avatar
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1 vote
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309 views

Figures of speech in "Once Upon a Time" by Gabriel Okara

Here are two extracts from the poem "Once Upon a Time" by Gabriel Imomotimi Okara: ‘Feel at home!’ ‘Come again’: they say, and when I come again and feel at home, once, twice, there will be ...
Baskaran Soundararajan's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
208 views

Does Vivien sleep with Merlin in Tennyson's "Idylls of the King"?

I am re-reading Tennyson's Idylls of the King after many years. His idyll "Merlin and Vivien" is a rather in-depth look at how Vivien learns Merlin's magic through some impressive feats of ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
185 views

Literary or rhetorical term meaning "past for the future"?

William Blake, in his poem in his preface to Milton, a Poem, commonly known as "Jerusalem" (not to be confused with the long poem Jerusalem The Emanation of the Giant Albion (1804-1820)), ...
mike rodent's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Analysis of "While I speak God's law, I will not crack its voice with whimpering."

In The Crucible, during act 4 (Danforth's monologue), he says While I speak God's law, I will not crack its voice with whimpering. When looking at this quote the only technique I can see is ...
Pen and Paper's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
242 views

If a first-person narrator addresses the reader, is it considered speech or thought?

I'm reading the novel Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief for my literature class and was trying to use the characterisation framework of PAIRS (Physical appearance, Actions, Inner Thought, ...
Sam's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
471 views

Is there a name for the narrative technique of starting at the end and then going back to the beginning? (As in Lord Jim)

I've been reading Lord Jim, by Joseph Conrad, which is rife with what I would call non-standard narrative structures. There are obvious narrative peculiarities in the book that have been discussed at ...
Slider345's user avatar
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28 votes
4 answers
8k views

What is the opposite of deus ex machina?

Deus ex machina is a plot device in which a seemingly unsolvable problem is resolved by a sudden and unexpected external event. For example: "The villain has our hero backed in a corner with no ...
SlowMagic's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
426 views

Why are some metaphors not similes?

This Master Class website says that A simile is a type of metaphor. All similes are metaphors, but not all metaphors are similes. Is this true? Can anyone cite an official textbook? Please explain ...
user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
120 views

Term for intentionally impressing different meanings on different audiences

Is there a term for when an author intentionally generates two completely different responses from two distinct parts of their audience or readership? An example I found could be in The Picture of ...
stevec's user avatar
  • 181
8 votes
2 answers
7k views

What figure of speech is "transient feet" in "A Photograph" by Shirley Toulson?

In the poem "A Photograph" by Shirley Toulson, the phrase "transient feet" appears in the last line of the first stanza: All three stood still to smile through their hair At the ...
Baskaran Soundararajan's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
512 views

Effect of enjambment in "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams

In "The Red Wheelbarrow" the poet William Carlos Williams uses enjambment to great effect (or so I have read): so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the ...
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0 answers
100 views

Can "women echoed" be considered a figure of speech?

I'm trying to understand the use of literary devices, and in particular the literary conventions related to metonymy, metaphor and similar figures of speech. For example, in the following sentence, ...
Sayaman's user avatar
  • 149
4 votes
1 answer
158 views

What is the figure of speech used in this part of "Cataract Operation"?

What is the figure of speech used in these lines taken from the Simon Armitage poem "Cataract Operation"? the olé of a crimson towel. the cancan of a ra ra skirt, the monkey business of a ...
user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
2k views

What literary device is used in from "one thing to another"?

The extract is Then, from one thing to another, M. Hamel went on to talk of the French language, saying that it was the most beautiful language in the world — the clearest, the most logical; that we ...
Karthik's user avatar
  • 149
2 votes
1 answer
288 views

Was Anton Chekhov the earliest to use stream-of-consciousness technique in his works?

Anton Chekhov was a famous Russian short story writer and dramatist. Early in his career, he mastered the form of the one-act play and produced several masterpieces of this genre. I remember I ...
Knight wants Loong back's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
1k views

Where is dramatic irony present in Macbeth?

In a school book it is written Dramatic Irony or Irony of situation: It involves a situation in a play or story in which the audience knows the reality which the speaker or character is ignorant of. ...
Knight wants Loong back's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
145 views

What literary device is Walter de la Mare's "It is I" in "Napoleon"?

Walter de la Mare's short poem "Napoleon" goes like this: What is the world, O soldiers? It is I: I, this incessant snow, This northern sky; Soldiers, this solitude Through which we go Is I....
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
827 views

What figure of speech is "change of mood" in Robert Frost's "Dust of Snow"?

From "Dust of Snow" by Robert Frost: Has given my heart A change of mood And saved some part Of a day I had rued. What figure of speech, or poetic device, is used in the line, "A ...
asr09's user avatar
  • 13
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

What literary term/device is used when a character in a novel represents the author?

I'm reading a novel called Persepolis for my English course, and it's about a girl named Marji that grows up during the 1979 Revolution. The author's intention with the novel is to break Western ...
Josh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
365 views

Sonnet 39 of Astrophil and Stella: Are these epithets or metaphors?

This is Sonnet 39 of Astrophil and Stella, also known as Come Sleep! O Sleep: Come Sleep! O Sleep, the certain knot of peace, The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe, The poor man’s wealth, the ...
seawitch's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
351 views

What is the name of the literary device where successive lines paraphrase each other?

The literary device I'm thinking of is when you say something, then you say it again using different words, or words which are equivalent in meaning. For example, in Psalm 137 If I forget you, ...
bobsmith76's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
291 views

Is the stormy weather an element of Naturalism in The Shining by Stephen King?

In Stephen King's novel The Shining, there seems to me to be a correlation between the weather and the sanity of Jack Torrance. Namely, as the Torrance family becomes more isolated (i.e. people from ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 41
5 votes
0 answers
63 views

Why does isolating "there" on its own line sound less emphatic in Korean than English?

I was reading Translator’s Note: Three Poems by Ko Un from the Poetry Foundation and came across this excerpt: We translated “명사도 동사도 다” (“all nouns and verbs”) as “all words,” which sounds less ...
bobble's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
277 views

What are the poetic devices used in this poem and how do they relate to its meaning?

What are the poetic devices (tone, imagery etcetera) used in this poem and how do they contribute to the poem's overall theme? I would appreciate an answer based on a close reading of the text. ...
cynthy's user avatar
  • 41
4 votes
1 answer
379 views

Name of this lyrical device comparing oneself to something that's described by the same word, but in another sense of the word?

Warning: The examples contain some offensive words, but I believe that is not against the rules here? Lately I've been listening a lot to a certain hip-hop album, in which almost every track uses a ...
Fiksdal's user avatar
  • 207
3 votes
1 answer
84 views

Identify rhetorical/stylistic device in Tanpınar's The Time Regulation Institute

Is this an example of any rhetorical/stylistic device or literary technique? But can one really call it a life? If to live is to endure endless pain and destitution and to suffer humiliation so deep ...
krenkz's user avatar
  • 165
4 votes
1 answer
50 views

Where can I find sources that could help me write about parody of human feelings in Beckett's novel "Molloy"?

My college assignment is to write about parody in Beckett's Molloy and I need to write about the parody of human feelings in this novel too. I would appreciate if someone could tell me which sources ...
Amy00's user avatar
  • 41
1 vote
1 answer
139 views

Is there a contrast between "straight" and "late" in this example?

King Crimson's song "I talk to the wind" starts with: Said the straight man to the late man Where have you been? I'm pretty sure that the songwriter is creating a contrast (e.g., an ...
Gerardo Furtado's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
95 views

What is the point of "the story so far"/recaps in book series?

I just finished the book "The Fellowship of the Ring". Now I've started with "The Two Towers". It begins by recapping the story of the first book. For who exactly is this "...
Pippin's user avatar
  • 31
8 votes
2 answers
174 views

The name of a device by which an author reports the use of coarse language without quoting it?

Don, a soldier sleeping in a hammock, is abruptly awakened some hours earlier than expected and is quite alarmed, thinking the camp may be under attack by the enemy. The company headquarters runner ...
Michael Hardy's user avatar