7 Basic Literature Devices and How to Use Them

What is Literature Device? In this article, we will explain more about this concept and how they are used in the novel.

In literature, Apostrophe is a figure of speech that calls for an imaginary character in the poetry. A very good example is Juliet's monologue, "O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" Other than calling for names, you can also call the other subjects like the water, the moon, the trees. You can highlight apostrophe by putting an "O" while you call for the subject or object.

Often, you might encounter literature that describes a person like this, "She was never tamed until she met an Adonis." Referring to the Greek Myths, Adonis is a handsome younger man whom Aphrodite fell in love with. Does this mean that she in the sentence fell in love with the same Adonis Aphrodite was in love with? No. In literature, the sentence manifests a brief and indirect reference to a person, place, thing or idea of historical, cultural, literary or political significance.

This is an allusion, and you can use this for an immediate but exact description of a person or thing.

"Setting foot on the moon may be a small step for a man but a giant step for mankind." The contrasting effect of the small and giant step adds flavor to the sentence making it more poetic and appealing. The rhetorical device used in the sentence is called Antithesis. It is in which two opposite ideas are put together in a sentence to achieve a contrasting effect. You can apply this technique by finding two opposite objects and finding a subject in which the two will be attributed. You can use this technique in emphasizing the good rather than bad things.

No one wants to offend anyone when we try to state our unfavorable opinions, so we do our best to choose words that are politer and more bearable to hear. This is called Euphemism. The term euphemism refers to polite, indirect expressions which replace words and phrases considered harsh and impolite or which suggest something unpleasant. For example, you can use "temporary negative cash flow" than saying "being broke."

It is an awkward thing to read words like these, "zzzzzz", "splsshhh" and "bgshbgsh." In this case, we are trying to make our readers hear sounds, but we can do this in a more poetic and appropriate way through the use of Onomatopoeia. It creates a sound effect that mimics the thing described, making the description more expressive and interesting. Like, "The buzzing bee flew away"; "The sack fell into the river with a splash." You can apply this by searching for a word that is similar and appropriate to the sound you are pertaining to.

In personification, the objects are given the attributes, most specifically, the ability to act like human beings. For example, in the sentence, "The tree dances" the tree is personified because it is described to be dancing which is a human ability. Often, writers use personification in describing the settings of a story or mood of the literature.

One more creative way to share your negative opinions is through Irony. The irony is a literary device that uses words that are intended to mean completely its opposite. For example, "the bread is soft as a stone." The statement creates an impact because of its logically ironic use of the phrase "soft as stone." You can use irony by simply describing things in an opposite manner through the use of adjective plus a noun that is not intended to be described by the adjective.

- LaPlante, Alice. The making of a story: a Norton guide to creative writing. New York: WW Norton, 2007.

- Hamand, Maggie. Creative writing for dummies. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

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Last review and update: August 30, 2021
About the Editor
Ben Benjabutr is the editor of BookWorm4Life. He holds a Master's Degree in business with 10+ years of work experience and 8+ years of experience in blogging and online content production. He enjoys reading books about business, lifestyle and literature and he loves to share what he learns from books. You can drop him a line via e-mail.