Some Literary Devices & Their Use

Some Literary Devices & Their Use

Shakespeare, Joyce, Dickens, and others utilized literary devices for suspense, depth, character, and more. Learn these devices and their uses to grasp the books, poems, and plays of most great writers.

Accumulation

Accumulation originates from the Latin word accumulāre,  'to heap up.' Accumulation is writing various traits of an entity either to characterize or to emphasize characteristics. These traits are the same, similar, or distinct. Accumulation is also adding diverse acts or points or items hinged on the same idea, sentence structure, or other. For example:Prince Henry: A tun of man is thy companion. Why dost thou converse with that trunk of humors, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloakbag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with the pudding in his belly, that reverend Vice, that gray iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years.(Henry IV, Part 1 by William Shakespeare)Through the accumulation of invectives, Prince Henry characterizes Falstaff as a man with repugnant and comical vices. Also, the Prince displays his averse-to-Falstaff manner and brings attention to Falstaff's obesity."A generation goes and a generation comes, yet the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and rushes back again to the place from which it rises. The wind blows south, then returns north, round and round goes the wind, on its rounds it circulates. All streams flow to the sea, yet the sea does not fill up."(Ecclesiastes, The Bible)The Bible first deems the earth (thus the elements in the earth) a constant. Following, it identifies flow and circulation, or change, of elements in the small view but the constancy of all elements and earth in the vast. Therefore, the Bible employs accumulation to unveil the constancy of earth, all elements.'What syllabus of intellectual pursuits was simultaneously possible? Snapshot photography, comparative study of religions, folklore relative to various amatory and superstitious practices, contemplation of celestial constellations…'(Ulysses by James Joyce)Not speaking about characteristics, Joyce here writes of many avenues of study, still characterizing the 'syllabus.'

Juxtaposition

Juxtaposition, as you must know, is the placing together (or beside another) of two opposing ideas, objects, characters, or other. It creates suspense and, like accumulation, adds detail, or character, and/or distinguishes certain traits or ideas or other.'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of the wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…' (A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens)Dickens juxtaposes numerous times in this sentence, showing the clear divide between the two cities before continuing the story. The juxtaposition emphasizes the tumultuous atmosphere of the time, such that only by reading one you can feel the tumult.With these few literary devices, you now know better how writers create their stories. You may find other examples of these literary devices in the books you read and return to learn more.

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