Here at MathClinic-plus, we offer extensive amounts of English tutoring in courses from Elementary School to University. A common aspect of English studied in Elementary School is identifying literary devices and analyzing them in various texts. It is important to know what literary devices are before attempting to find and analyze them.

Literary devices can be used for a variety of reasons. Authors and writers often use these devices in order to emphasize ideas or convey messages to readers that are often not explicitly stated in their writing. Not only does understanding literary devices allow the reader to gather more meaning from a piece of literature, it also presents a more entertaining experience. It is important to be able to identify literary devices, but before doing so, readers must be aware of what literary devices exist first. Here is a short list containing a few of our favorite literary devices:

  1. Satire

    Satire can be used to describe both a literary device and a category of humour. Satire in literature is typically conveyed using ironic humour in order to make a critical statement towards some topic. Satire is often used as social commentary in order to emphasize a topic of choice. This can often be done by exaggerating an aspect of writing. For example, exaggerating an arbitrary trait of a character may be used to highlight a concept the author wishes to present the reader with. This can be used in small sections in a piece of literature, or throughout the entire work. One example of satire as a literary device is seen in the movie Shrek – a movie that parodies a number of fairy tales. In this film, we see various fairy tales parodied such as Pinocchio and Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. Additionally, the entire plot of the movie Shrek is a satirical take on these fairy tales. Satire is often an entertaining and humorous way to convey a message to your audience.

  2. Tone

    For literary devices, tone refers to the mood or overall attitude of the writing. A piece of writing’s tone can be formal, informal, happy, sad, angry, aggressive, pessimistic etc. Tone can be utilized by a writer to communicate feelings or opinions they wish to persuade the reader to accept. This overall impacts how the reader feels when reading a piece of writing. For example, a positive tone may be used in a motivational article in order to boost the morale and optimism of the reader, while an apologetic tone may be used in a public relations statement for the reader to acknowledge feelings of regret and remorse.

  3. Repetition

    Repetition is a fairly straight forward literary device that involves a repeating word or series of words, either repeated sequentially or close to the word’s initial use. Repetition is often a very easy literary device to identify and is often used in common sayings such as home sweet home, or walk the walk/talk the talk. Repetition can also be found in other types of literary devices such as in consonance, the repetition of sounds in a sentence. Words of importance are highlighted by the use of repetition – it is an easy device for both writers to use and readers to identify.

  4. Foreshadowing

    Foreshadowing is a literary device often seen in various forms of media such as literature and film. Foreshadowing works by giving the reader little clues as to what will happen later in the plot within a work of literature. This can be shown through various methods such as flashbacks or through environmental motifs, such as thunderstorms or a sunny day. It can also be presented in the title or chapter title in novels. One example of this is within the short story, The Fall of the House of Usher. From the title alone, the reader can deduct an impending tragedy.

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