Literary devices are the heart and soul of every expression. These devices breathe life in words which are common to all forms of a language whether it is a narrative, story-writing, drama, journalistic writing or poetry.
‘Language is the dress of thought‘. Imagine a person’s feelings, emotions or views on a subject, stated plainly without the aid of a literary device. It would be a dull task. We all love to see our favorite movie stars delivering those wonderfully scripted dialogs with great passion and intensity. All these expressions are a manifestation of the beauty of words, which we refer to as literary devices.
The English language encompasses a host of literary devices that make it so rich and expressive. They provide a broad structure under which all the types of literature are classified, studied and understood. The importance of literature in the portrayal of human emotions is best understood by the application of these devices. Some of the common ones in use are described in brief as follows.
One problem with allegories is in fact the difficulty of determining what counts as source and what as target. For instance, Animal Farm is a text about a farm, which may be taken as an explicit model for thinking about a more abstract, implicit target that has to do with totalitarian politics. Or is Animal Farm a text about a farm which, as an explicit target, is structured by our knowledge of a prior cultural text about totalitarian politics which acts as an implicit source? The fact that totalitarian politics is abstract and the farm is concrete favors the first analysis, but the fact that the global topic of the story of the text is the life at this farm favors the latter. It is precisely one of the distinguishing characteristics of allegory that the direction of the relation between the domains may be read in two ways.
Classics such as “Aesop’s Fables” or John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” and films like “The Matrix” or “Casablanca” are examples of allegorical works.
I will have such revenges on you both
That all the world shall-I will do such things-
What they are yet I know not, but they shall be
The terrors of the earth. You think I’ll weep?
No, I’ll not weep.
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. . . – “We shall fight on the beaches” address of Winston Churchill.
..and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth. – The Gettysburg Address of Abraham Lincoln.
Few months of life has he in store
As he to you will tell,
For still, the more he works, the more
Do his weak ankles swell.
In the lines above, it was the authors intention evoke some sympathy for the aged huntsman from the readers. However, Wordsworth just fell prey to bathos and made it seem silly and not remotely sad in these lines from the poem “Simon Lee the Old Huntsman”. So, basically when exceptionally elevated language and imagery is used for a description quite banal, it results in exaggerated pathos or bathos. This device is sometimes deliberately used by authors for humourous effects. For example,
There was the Donna Julia, whom to call
Pretty were but to give a feeble notion
Of many charms in her as natural
As sweetness to the flower, or salt to Ocean,
Her zone to Venus, or his bow to Cupid,
(But this last simile is trite and stupid.)
In these lines from Lord Gordon Byron’s mock-epic poem “Don Juan”, the poet starts off with a flourish when he uses classical imagery to describe Donna Julia’s beauty and then abruptly goes from the sublime to the ludicrous!
Most motor-cars are conglomerations (this is a long word for bundles) of steel and wire and rubber and plastic, and electricity and oil and petrol and water, and the toffee papers you pushed down the crack in the back seat last Sunday. ~ Ian Fleming, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car”
basically shows us the immense number of elements that make up a concept or thing or person no matter how simple they may appear to be. So, polysyndeton is basically used for highlighting the “unusual” in everything.
Long live the English language for such a diverse and intellectually stimulating vocabulary.