Literary Devices

Literary Devices, Pt. II

Learn different terms used in English that would enable your effective communication with other scholars and team mates. Read more information in "Literary Devices, Part I".
Like every field, English has its own professional vocabulary that describes everything from word choice to sentence structure. In order to be able to read intelligently and write about what you're reading, you need to know that vocabulary; it allows you to communicate effectively with other scholars. Learning the terms for these literary devices is an important part of being able to write clear, thoughtful analysis of novels, plays, and other texts.

Personification

Personification is giving human thoughts, emotions, or actions to inanimate objects. It's similar to a pathetic fallacy.
Example
The soup boiled angrily on the stove.

Polysyndeton

Polysyndeton is the use of conjunctions where they aren't grammatically necessary. It's usually used to add emphasis.
Example
For Christmas she asked for earrings and shoes and a new computer.

Portmanteau

A portmanteau is a word formed by joining two or more other words. It's usually used to create a word that describes something that combines traits from two other items.
Example
dramedy, which is a combination of drama and comedy

Puns

A pun is a word or phrase that's humorous because it has two meanings.
Example
I crossed a cellphone with a skunk, and now the service stinks.

Satire

Satire is a style of writing in which human weaknesses and vices are ridiculed by the use of devices such as irony, sarcasm, and exaggeration. Satire is often humorous, but it's goal is usually to provide criticism.
Example
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller, is one of the 20th century's best examples of satire. The novel satirizes the military and government bureaucracy.

Simile

A simile is a comparison between two things that uses the words like or as.
Example
The freshly cleaned windows sparkled like diamonds.

Spoonerism

A spoonerism is a play on words where the letters in the beginning, middle, or end of the words are swapped.
Example
butterfly becomes flutterby; "Three cheers for our dear old queen" becomes "Three cheers for our queer old dean."

Stream of consciousness

Stream of consciousness is a writing style in which the words on the page depict the flow of a character's thoughts. The writing generally doesn't strictly follow grammatical rules, but instead has a loose, meandering style that mirrors the chaotic way that people think.
Example
"a quarter after what an unearthly hour I suppose they're just getting up in China now combing out their pigtails for the day well soon have the nuns ringing the angelus they've nobody coming in to spoil their sleep except an odd priest or two for his night office..." (Ulysses, by James Joyce)

Syllepsis

Syllepsis is a grammatical construction in which a word that modifies several words is a series carries a different meaning with each word it modifies. It's often used for comedic effect or to draw attention to an idea.
Example
"You held your breath and the door for me" (Alanis Morrisette)

Symbol

A symbol is a person, object, or place that conveys an idea other than the literal translation of the word. The secondary meaning is usually hidden or subtly suggested.
Example
In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the green light at the end of the dock is a symbol for Gatsby's hopes and the American Dream.

Synecdoche

A synecdoche is a figures of speech where a part of something is used to refer to the whole.
Example
using wheels to refer to a car; Washington D.C. to refer to the U.S. government

Synesthesia

In the medical world, synesthesia is a neurological condition in which the senses become linked or confused, for example numbers are seen as having colors. In literature, synesthesia is a term used to describe writing that attempts to draw a link between the senses.
Example
In Vladimir Nabokov's The Gift, the main character, Fyodor, describes how he sees the relationship between color and sound: "If I had some paints handy, I would mix burnt sienna and sepia for you as to match the color of a 'ch' sound.."

Understatement

Understatement is when a word or phrase is less strong than would be expected from the situation. It's often used for comedic effect or to draw attention to something ridiculous.
Example
When somebody shows up two hours late to a party, it's understatement if they say "Sorry we're a bit late."

Verisimilitude

In general, verisimilitude describes the truthfulness of something. In literature, the term describes either how closely a narrative resembles reality or how plausible it is.

Terms for story structure

In addition to words that describe how language is used, if you're going to be writing about literature, you also need to know the terms that describe how stories are put together. Below are a few terms that you can use to discuss the nuts and bolts of a story.

Characterization

Characterization is the process an author uses to build a character. A writer can use physical descriptions of a character and give details of the character's thoughts, actions, and words as well as many other techniques to give the reader insight into the character.

Climax

In a narrative, the climax is the point of highest tension. It's when all the parts of a plot come together; after the climax, the main conflict can be resolved.

Conflict

In a story, the conflict is the main problem that drives the actions of the characters. In can be something external, for example, in Lord of the Flies, the marooned boys have to find a way to survive. The conflict can also be internal: in Lord of the Flies, the boys are always battling with their own anger and fears.

Denouement (pronounced day-noo-mon)

The denouement is the closing of the story. It follows the climax and ties up loose ends or unresolved issues in the narrative.

Diction

Diction refers to the author's word choice. When analyzing diction, you should consider how specific words impact things like tone, characterization, and symbolism.

Foil

A foil is a specific type of character whose purpose is to stand in comparison to the main character. Through this comparison, certain traits in the main character can be emphasized or highlighted.

Motif

Motifs are symbols or images that are repeated throughout a narrative. These recurring devices can help build theme, character, and tone.

Narrative

Narrative is another word for story: it's the series of events that together comprise the rising action, climax, and resolution of a story.

Plot

Plot is the action of a narrative. It's what the characters do throughout the story.

Point of view

The angle from which a story is told, that is, who is telling it, is called the point of view. There are three main types of point of view. First person is when a single person is telling the story from their own point of view. It uses first person pronouns like I and we. Third person stores are told from the point of view of a narrator who is separate from the action. It uses third person pronouns like he and she. Second person point of view uses the personal pronoun you, and is very uncommon in literature.

Setting

The setting is where a story takes place.

Theme

A theme is the main subject of a novel. It's what the story is about-the idea that ties the plot, motifs, and characters together. The theme isn't necessarily the message of a story. Instead, it's the just the general topic the work explores.

Tone

Tone is the attitude the author takes toward the subject and the audience. Tone can be formal, informal, friendly, and somber, among many other options.

Our TOP writers

TOP 10
Writer 90763
ID 90763

Master's in Project Management, PMP, Six Sigma

Rating 97.2%
(97.2%)
CUSTOMER REVIEWS (8) about writer 90763

5700 written pages

1142 orders

1096 a+ papers

My Master’s degree and comprehensive writing experience allow me to complete any order fast and hit the nail on the head every time.

hire writer
TOP 10
Writer 107367
ID 107367

MBA, PMP, ITIL

Rating 99.1%
(99.1%)
CUSTOMER REVIEWS (7) about writer 107367

5766 written pages

721 orders

685 a+ papers

I am experienced writer with an MBA, PMP, ITIL, that consistently delivers unique, quality papers. I take pride in my experience and quickness.

hire writer
TOP 10
Writer 99423
ID 99423

MS in Human Resource Management

Rating 98.5%
(98.5%)
CUSTOMER REVIEWS (9) about writer 99423

11104 written pages

1389 orders

1306 a+ papers

I hold a MS degree in Human Resource and my goal is to help students with flawless, unique papers, delivered on time.

hire writer
TOP 10
Writer 156385
ID 156385

RN, MSN, PCN, PHN

Rating 99.7%
(99.7%)
CUSTOMER REVIEWS (6) about writer 156385

2605 written pages

261 orders

235 a+ papers

As Registered Nurse (RN, PCN), I can quickly deal with any medical paper. My expertise and writing skills are perfect for this job.

hire writer
TOP 10
Writer 99549
ID 99549

MPA, MHA

Rating 98.2%
(98.2%)
CUSTOMER REVIEWS (8) about writer 99549

5801 written pages

967 orders

890 a+ papers

I have MPA, MHA degrees but, most importantly, experience and skills to provide unique, well-written papers on time.

hire writer
TOP 10
Writer 127980
ID 127980

DNP, BA, APN, PMHNP-BC

Rating 99.2%
(99.2%)
CUSTOMER REVIEWS (9) about writer 127980

2658 written pages

380 orders

342 a+ papers

I can write about multiple areas and countless topics, as I have a DNP and BA degrees. High-quality writing is my second name.

hire writer
TOP 10
Writer 125292
ID 125292

PhD in American History

Rating 99.5%
(99.5%)
CUSTOMER REVIEWS (8) about writer 125292

3836 written pages

427 orders

401 a+ papers

A PhD in American history comes handy. Unique papers, any topics, swift delivery — helping with academic writing is my passion.

hire writer
TOP 10
Writer 92876
ID 92876

MA, PsyD, LMFT

Rating 100%
(100%)
CUSTOMER REVIEWS (7) about writer 92876

7433 written pages

1239 orders

1165 a+ papers

Incredibly fast PsyD writer. Efficient paper writing for college. Hundreds of different tasks finished. Satisfaction guaranteed.

hire writer
TOP 10
Writer 106387
ID 106387

MEd, NCC, LPC, LMFT

Rating 99%
(99%)
CUSTOMER REVIEWS (9) about writer 106387

3583 written pages

359 orders

345 a+ papers

Top-ranked writer with tons of experience. Ready to take on any task, and make it unique, as well as objectively good. Always ready!

hire writer
TOP 10
Writer 85466
ID 85466

MSW, LICSWA, DSW-C

Rating 97.6%
(97.6%)
CUSTOMER REVIEWS (8) about writer 85466

8723 written pages

2183 orders

1943 a+ papers

Experienced Social Work expert focused on good writing, total uniqueness, and customer satisfaction. My goal — to help YOU.

hire writer

Buy your papers from the best writing service

Have your tasks done by our professionals to get the best possible results.

total: $8.51
Confidentiality

NO Billing information is kept with us. You pay through secure and verified payment systems.

Quality

All papers we provide are of the highest quality with a well-researched material, proper format and citation style.

Communication

Our 24/7 Support team is available to assist you at any time. You also can communicate with your writer during the whole process.

Authorship

You are the single owner of the completed order. We DO NOT resell any papers written by our expert

Originality

All orders are done from scratch following your instructions. Also, papers are reviewed for plagiarism and grammar mistakes.

Samples

You can check the quality of our work by looking at various paper examples in the Samples section on our website.

Special price $8.51/page
Place an order
63,000
more than 63,000 times students trusted us to write their papers
9/10
9 out of 10 customers recommend us*
92%
92% of our customers have placed more than 7 orders
*data is based on 6,568 customers' feedback received from Jan 1, 2017 till Jan 1, 2018.
Special price $8.51/page
Place an order
Customer #4501

I'm not exactly what you'd call an exemplary student. Yeah, I like reading and things like that, but when it comes to essays - it's like I forget how to put words together. It's not the first time I'm asking your writers for help, and they've yet to let me down!

Customer #3835

Good! I hardly trust any online services and was kinda skeptic when ordered my coursework. Everything went ok though deadline extension was kinda unexpected. Quality was acceptable.

Estimated Deadline: Sunday, May 29 1:50 PM in Your timezone
Total price: $8.51
Price starts from $8.51
Regular discounts and offers
Excellent results guaranteed
Professional 24/7 support

Free samples of our work

There are different types of essays: narrative, persuasive, compare\contrast, definition and many many others. They are written using a required citation style, where the most common are APA and MLA. We want to share some of the essays samples written on various topics using different citation styles.

services
Hey, you...Yes, you! Don’t you want to get your Discount?
binder1
binder2
Your discount will be
sent to the email!

I have read and agree to the Terms of Use, Money Back Guarantee, Privacy and Cookie Policy of BestCustomWriting.com

  • dmca_logo
  • safecharge
  • trustpilot

Use your opportunity to get a discount!

To get your special discount, write your email below

  • dmca_logo
  • safecharge
  • trustpilot

Best papers and best prices!

Want to get quality paper done on time cheaper?

  • dmca_logo
  • safecharge
  • trustpilot