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Questions tagged [literary-device]

The tag has no usage guidance, but it has a tag wiki.

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A word or phrase for a hypothetical reaction of a person from the past to the present

This question arises from an essay in a recent bird guide, in which the author imagines how ornithologists past would react to changes since their time, and which of these would interest them most. ...
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What is the literary device for “our eyes opened” when describing a realization?

This is a quote from the book Night, by Elie Wiesel. In context: "We realized that we were not staying in Hungary. Our eyes opened. Too late."
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Can someone please identify this literary device [duplicate]

"Mike-schmike." I muttered, preoccupied by the way he'd said "you and I." I liked it more than I should. This is a line from Stephanie Meyer's Twilight novel (page 25). How would we describe 'Mike-...
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Interpretation of a Paradox in 'Romeo and Juliet'

"The earth that’s nature’s mother is her tomb; What is her burying grave, that is Rainbow in her womb.” From Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, is an oft-quoted example of a paradox, a literary device - ...
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In the Franklin's tale by Geoffrey Chaucer, there is a sentence. Is it anastrophe or hyperbaton or something else?

In line 202 to 204, there is a sentence that reads as such: "Ther nis yfostred man, ne brid, ne beest; It dooth no good, to my wit, but anoyeth. See ya nat, Lord, how mankinde it destroyeth?" If we'...
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The Last of The Mohicans, literary device question. “Thievish race.” [closed]

I am reading the book, The Last of The Mohicans, and I was wondering what literary device was being used, when Hawkeye is given the quote "A Huron!” repeated the sturdy scout, once more shaking his ...
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1answer
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Is there a name for the substitution of “the + singular noun” for a plural noun?

For instance, I might say, "Overcrowding is a major concern in the classroom today" rather than "Overcrowding is a major concern in classrooms today". Is that substitution a literary device? The ...
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Literary devices and sentence structure in Matthew 7:1 (KJV)

I am a student who is looking for help on a specific portion of my discussion. I have been asked the following questions with respect to this KJV verse: Judge not, that ye be not judged. -- ...
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1answer
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What is an “indirect dialogue/discourse”?

I came upon this paragraph during my practice for a literature test. "...Lin stood in the yard facing the front wall while flipping over a dozen mildewed books he had left to be sunned on a stack of ...
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Literary term for “I picked up my suitcase and convictions and walked out the door”? (intangible and tangible items together in a list)

All! I've been stumped with this question for a while now. What do we call it when you use an intangible object and represent it as though it is tangible, usually coupled with tangible objects? ...
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What is the literary device used to show internal contradiction in dialogue?

In Joseph's Conrad Heart of Darkness, the Russian, the Brickmaker, and Mr.Kurtz are often contradicting their own statements. For example the Brickmaker hesitant actions paralleled with his short, and ...
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What is “alliteration” actually?

I have come across contrasting definitions of alliteration in different dictionaries, grammars and on websites. The website 'Literary Devices' (literarydevices.net) defines it as: "It is a ...
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What is the literary device where a word holds two meanings in a phrase? [duplicate]

For example, He showed the strength of his arms and his heart when he pushed the fallen horse out of the mud slide.
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Is there a word for constructions that involve intentional false language, with corrections in parentheses?

I realize that the title may not be entirely clear, so here's an example of what I mean: I yelled at (sent a politely worded email to) tech support about their utterly broken (mildly annoying) ...
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Is there a specific term for nullifying an intentional insult by accepting it as a compliment? [duplicate]

For Example: 1.) Women turned Trump’s insulting “Grab’em by the pussy!” into “Pussy Hats” that they sported proudly in The Women’s March. 2.) Trump also attempted to humiliate Hillary Clinton by ...
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What comic device is based on unexpected changes in meaning? [duplicate]

To be a really good lover, then, one must be strong and yet tender. How strong? I suppose being able to lift fifty pounds should do it. Woody Allen I am not asking specifically about the ludicrous ...
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What is the literary device for giving a human un-human attributes? [duplicate]

What is the literary device for giving a human un-human attributes? For example, a picture of a woman driving a car really quickly saying "She's flying down that road!". What is that literary device? ...
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What’s it called when a sentence can repeat itself over and over [duplicate]

I’ve been wondering about this for a while and I don’t remember the actual sentence but what’s the name for a sentence that can repeat itself over and over I think it went something like this: “I ...
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What does “gimme something purty vallable” mean? [closed]

Kindly explain to me the meaning of the phrase in the box Said he'd gimme something purty vallable if I did. Taken from Puppy Show by Fredric Brown
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What is this literary device called?

When we use a conjunction such as "but" or "yet" to dramatically interrupt the rhythm of a sentence. What's this literary device called?
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What kind of literary device is this? [duplicate]

The usage of the word "mind" in the following sentence: King Solomon was the greatest mind that ever lived.
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Is a mask a symbol or a metaphor? (Star Wars Rebels)

(While this is question is not technically from a literary work, it does deal with literary devices, so I decided this would probably be the best area to put it in. However, if I am incorrect in this, ...
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Polyptoton for a word that isn't actually a word?

In a poem that I have come across, there's the following line: "deep deep deep deep de deep deep" I'm currently trying to pick apart this line and see what I can get out of it. Arguably, there are ...
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Is there a literary device/term that encapsulates the phrase 'from start to finish'?

The phrase from start to finish is a common phrase yet are there any terms that describe it? For example, 'it's raining cats and dogs' is idiomatic and other phrases can be colloquial or hyperbolic, ...
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Term for using your own words against you [closed]

Could anyone tell me the literary term (if one exists) for using someone's own words against them in the future. For example, in The Merchant of Venice when Shylock states he wants to 'catch Antonio ...
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Name of device for when a verb ESPECIALLY matches the rest of the sentence

The other day, I was reading an article about an individual who used to become pen pals with murderers in order to gain information about them. I believe this individual was a member of the CIA, hence ...
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What is the literary device used in “She’s not just showing you what she made. She’s showing you what she’s made of”

What is the literary device used in “She’s not just showing you what she made. She’s showing you what she’s made of” At first, I thought it was chiasmus, but it does not really fit. Certain that it ...
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1answer
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What literary device is this? A. B. C

Asyndeton refers to a practice in literature whereby the author purposely leaves out conjunctions in the sentence, while maintaining the grammatical accuracy of the phrase. Example: Read, Write, ...
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Which literary device is used in these Thoreau quotes?

I am reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau and he likes word play. Specifically he likes to make silly analogies between things that aren’t usually put together. I am wondering what type of literary ...
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Name for the literary device contrasting synonyms with different connotations?

I’m thinking in terms of phrases like: You may be [one connotation of denotation x] but you’re not [contrasting connotation of denotation x]. Two examples are: He may have been your father, but ...
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Who is the speaker and what is the figure of speech?

"A neighbor of mine in the village Likes to tell how one spring When she was a girl on the farm, she did A childlike thing." (Complete Poem is here) These lines are from the poem "...
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Help finding the name of a literary device

Circumstance/Background To express the surety of a particular outcome, a future/forecasted event is spoken of as if it has already transpired. Question The aforementioned literary style foreshadows ...
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Word for a phrase that by ambiguity could be accidentally self-deprecating

There is a literary technique in comedies where a person says something intending for it to be reassuring and confident, but their words are humorous because when interpreted differently, the phrase ...
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1answer
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How do I reference Billy Bragg in the following instance?

Billy Bragg has an album entitled, 'Talking with the Taxman about Poetry'. I want to entitle an essay, 'Talking with the Gasman about Yoga'. What is this called, and what is the best way to give ...
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Trying to understand this Elif Batuman article

Here is the link https://nplusonemag.com/issue-4/essays/short-story-novel/. Here she introduces the Cervantes cell analogy: When the available literary forms no longer match the available real-...
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Reverse personification [duplicate]

Personification is an object or a thing described with a human-like aspect (eg. The Sun smiled at me). Can personification also be used to describe a human with an aspect from an object? For example,...
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In rime of the ancient mariner what archaic word form appears in lines 37-40? [closed]

I am confused on everything about this story and especially stuck on that one question? The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast, 37 Yet he cannot choose but hear; 38 And thus spake on ...
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Macbeth Literary Device Act 3 Scene 4

What literary device is being used in the first line: Thou art the best o' th' cutthroats:yet he's good That did the like for Fleance: if thou didst it, Thou art the nonpareil. I was thinking ...
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Is “as much as the next guy” a simile?

Would "as much as the next guy" be a simile, or just an idiom? I am working on a lesson plan for similes, and was not 100% sure.
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Is the poetic device in “silence was golden” best described as metaphor or synesthesia?

After he stopped talking, silence was golden. What poetic device is used in this sentence? This was a multiple choice question with the following choices: symbol, synesthesia, metaphor, oxymoron. I ...
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Language technique of preposition starting a sentence?

Specifically, in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby': With the influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change. The phrase "With the influence of the dress" is known as a '...
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What is called when a word is intentionally spelled in another way to highlight another word that is similar to a part inside of it?

I guess it will be best explained with an example from the text I am reading. Dumas was spelled as DumbAss as a means of satire. What is this called?
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Term for Multiple Similar/Redundant Adjectives

I've been searching fervently for a potentially fictitious term that I thought I came across a while ago for structures like: The weather that day was so bleak and dreary, all I wanted to do was ...
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Literary term for implied meaning

There is a mode in Arabic literary rhetoric (balāgha) for a statement that is true in itself, but the intended message is implied by the phrase "secondarily", but is not directly represented in the ...
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Does repetition in the following sequence of words display symbolism, emphasis, or both? [closed]

The sequence is "How much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck would?" I am wondering if repetition, particularly of the word "wood", would display symbolism or any other kind of ...
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What is the term used to describe substituting a person for something they did or created?

In the software world, we often write software that interfaces with other software. Let's assume I wrote program A, and it interfaces with program B that John wrote. When communicating with John ...
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Is there a name for this literary device from James Baldwin and question about punctuation? [duplicate]

In James Baldwin's essay Everybody's Protest Novel, there is the following sentence: It must be remembered that the oppressed and the oppressor are bound together within the same society; they ...
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1answer
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Literary devices [closed]

I want to know what kinds of literary devices the following writings are: The writing that gives "sweet sound" The writing that explains the facts with contracting or expanding way. The ...
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1answer
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Is “Light of moon and ray of star” an idiom?

What is the literary device used for the following quote from The Fellowship of the Ring : By light of moon and ray of star I think that it is an idiom.... I may be wrong!
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Would this be considered a malapropism?

Would it be considered a malapropism to substitute a word or portion of a word in a phrase with another word or portion of a word, generally rhyming with the original word, and generally considered an ...