Literary Devices or The Literary Device

The word “device” is a noun which comes from the verb “to devise.” To devise means to create, invent, innovate or bring something to life after careful study and action.

For example, when the first man realized that he couldn’t jump to the top of a high building, he probably devised the ladder. The ladder then became a device which helped the man to accomplish a task.

Throughout history, humankind have “devised” all kinds of “devices.” We can put these devices into categories. For example, as the human race became more and more civilized, people saw the importance of appearing neat in society. They invented or “devised” the electrical iron to iron clothes and make it appear neat. The electrical iron, because it uses electricity, may be classified as an “electrical device.” It may also be classified as a “household” appliance or device.

When we walk into a room at night, we may flip a switch and light up the room thanks to a well-known electrical device called the light bulb. Devices make our lives endowed and more convenient. Imagine what life would have been like without the electrical iron and the light bulb!

The word “literary” means “having to do with words and letters.” Therefore, a literary master is someone who is skilled at using words and letters. As literary masters, we have come to devise many “literary devices.” And just as electrical devices help to make our everyday life smoother and brighter, literary devices help to make our speech and writing smoother, brighter, spicier and more polished.

Literary devices help us to get a point across much clearer than would have been possible without it. We can define the term “literary device” by saying that it is:

A device or technique used by a writer to produce a special effect in writing.

Here are some examples of literary devices used in the English Language.

Analogy – the use of a known concept to paint a picture of a relatively unknown concept.

Hyperbole – the use of statements that exagerrate the reality of something to stress importance, carry across a view point, etc.

Metaphor – the comparison of two different things without using the words “like” or “as.”

Personification – the use of language which gives human qualities to things that are not human. Example: the flowers smiled to the rain.

Simile – The comparison of two things using the words “like” or “as.” Example: Her eyes were as black as the night.

Sarcasm – A form of irony in which the opposite of what is spoken is meant – usually to criticize or insult. For example, if a parent tells a child who has failed his or her exam, “keep up the good work,” that parent is making use of “sarcasm” and is being “sarcastic.”

What literary device do you know of? Tell us about it in the comments section.

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