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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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 ...
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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 ...
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27 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 ...
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What authors/poets try to convey when they use antitheses or things similar to it?

As myself an admirer of T.S.Eliott and Joseph Conrad, my experience with antitheses is enough to drive me to grope for their actual intended meaning. When authors write Shape without form, shade ...
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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 ...
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81 views

Analyzing the alliteration of the first line of Lolita

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Please help me analyze the alliteration from the line above. Which 'L' words attribute to the alliteration? Lo, Li from Lolita and light, ...
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82 views

What is the “uncanny” element of Gothic Literature?

In Wikipedia, the "uncanny" is defined as the psychological experience of something as strangely familiar, rather than simply mysterious. It may describe incidents where a familiar thing or event ...
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What kind of language features appear in Lady Macbeth's line “too full o' the milk of human kindness”?

In Macbeth Act I Scene 5, Lady Macbeth says the following: Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be What thou art promised: yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o' the milk of human ...
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What is the term used for a story's narrator becoming self-aware?

I was reading a short-story titled "A Face in the Dark" by Ruskin Bond. There's this passage in it: "It had no eyes, ears, nose or mouth. It was just a round smooth head — with a school cap on top ...
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What figure of speech does “alive enough to have strength to die” by Hardy contain?

The poem "Neutral Tones" by Thomas Hardy was written in 1867 and published in the 1898 collection Wessex Poems and Other Verses. It contains the stanza: The smile on your mouth was the deadest ...
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Why the capitalization of “Heavens” in Rudyard Kipling's “The Secret of the Machines”?

In Rudyard Kipling's poem The Secret of the Machines the last stanza goes as follows: Though our smoke may hide the Heavens from your eyes, It will vanish and the stars will shine again, ...
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Forms of foregrounding: are recurrence / equivalence the same?

I'm struggling to grasp the difference between the literary devices of recurrence and equivalence. I'm preparing for an exam where we are asked to define these terms. In German, they are referred to ...
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Are the terms “metatextuality / metareference / metareferentiality” synonyms? Is the following definition correct?

Questions I would like to know if I understood correctly that "metatextuality / metareference / metareferentiality" are synonyms and can be used interchangeably. Finally I summarize what I think the ...
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What do you call a break in rhyming in the middle of a book / poem for dramatic effect

Here's what I'm trying to say. I'm creating a children's book for a school project. I've been tasked to identify some literary devices used throughout the book. There is a section of the book which ...
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How can some similes 'make comparisons' without thinking 'of one situation or thing as being something else'?

Prof. Brooks Landon, U. Iowa, Ph.D. U. Texas at Austin. Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses) (2013). p. 121.         ...
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391 views

What would be the name for foreshadowing if it is referencing the past?

In literature, if foreshadowing is reference to future events, what would it be called if it is referencing a past event which the reader does not know?
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Are there earlier incidences than Merchant of Venice of an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other?

In act 2, scene 2 of The Merchant of Venice, Launcelot Gobbo is conflicted regarding whether to run from Shylock, or continue working for him. Shakespeare expresses this internal conflict by ...
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181 views

Sarcasm, satire & irony

On what basis is an expression with an opposite meaning classified under the three types namely sarcasm, satire and irony? How do sarcasm, satire and irony different from one another? I need ...
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Are these quotes from Orwell's 1984 similes, metaphors, or something else?

Winston's entrails seemed to have turned into ice. I thought metaphor, but it's the "seemed" that's throwing me off. It's not quite 'something IS something else' (i.e. his 'entrails turned into ice')...
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Does “The Soul selects her own Society” by Emily Dickinson have a simile?

Here is the poem "The Soul selects her own Society" by Emily Dickinson. The Soul selects her own Society — Then — shuts the Door — To her divine Majority — Present no more — Unmoved — ...
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The structure of 'Winesburg, Ohio' by Sherwood Anderson

I am currently reading Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. It is essentially a collection of related short stories compiled into one novel. Why might Anderson have chosen to structure it like this? ...
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What is the narrative device that involves using inconsequential elements in the story?

I’m looking for the narrative device that, as opposed to Chekhov’s gun, involves purposely including accounts of events or things in the narrative that are inconsequential to the main story. This ...
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Is alliteration adjacent words and/or close together words starting with the same letter? If words between are permitted then how many?

OK, I know this question isn't about literary analysis or anything but I posted this on ELU and it was put on hold (as off-topic) and I was advised to post it here. Is alliteration exclusively ...
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What's the name of the literary device used by Sheymov to refer to himself in 3rd person?

In the introduction, the author explains that he'll use third person to refer to himself: After much thought, I decided to write this book as a third-person account. For me it is a natural form of ...
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Is there a word for a literary technique that allows a short passage to be read aloud in more than one way?

I recently started reading Sam Logan's Sam and Fuzzy online, and am greatly enjoying it. In the fifth volume of the NMS Series (Sam and Fuzzy Missing Inaction, "Boundaries, Pt. 9") there's a cute ...
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149 views

Are photographs in Harry Potter a device for characterizing subjects?

In an answer that I recently wrote elsewhere on this site, I posited that photographs are used by J.K. Rowling in the Harry Potter books as a device to portray the subjects of the photograph in a ...
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Was Mark Twain actually almost a millionaire twice over, before he became famous?

The prequel to Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad was Roughing It: Roughing It illustrates many of Twain's early adventures, including a visit to Salt Lake City, gold and silver prospecting, real-estate ...
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Did Borges invent the idea of writing reviews/summaries of imaginary literary works?

In reading short stories by the great Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges, I've noticed a repeated theme: many of these stories are written in the style of a review or summary of a much larger and ...
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What effect does an epistolary format have on our understanding of the book as a reader?

There are many great works of literature written in the form of an epistolary novel. However, many of those stories could have also been told in a more traditional novel form. What effect does the ...
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To what effect does Goldman claim The Princess Bride is an abridgement?

This question was inspired by this question, which asks about the history of one work claiming itself as an adaptation or abridgment of another. In The Princess Bride by William Goldman, the author ...
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Was pretending to be an abridgement of a made-up work invented by William Goldman?

William Goldman's The Princess Bride is famous (among other reasons) for a literary device it employs - it pretends to be an abridgment (or "the good parts version") of a longer work by S. ...