Literary Device 1

Elie Wiesel uses irony to demonstrate the inhumanity humans show to one another. When Elie Wiesel and his father are on the train taking them to another concentration camp, many victims are in the train car with them. There is no roof on the car and they are in the winter season. They never get to stop to get off and go to the bathroom, and also they barely receive any food. Their only source of water is the snow that collects in the car. One would think that these prisoners would want to join together and at least be relatively kind to each other because they are all in the same terrible situation, and joining together would be their only way of possibly escaping the evils with which the Nazis are treating them. Ironically, they do completely the opposite thing. The people on the train car are irritated with one another and when food is thrown to them they jump after it and whoever gets it first gets it. They show relatively no compassion toward each other. When someone dies on the train car, they cannot wait to throw the dead body out as soon as possible to give themselves more room. This completely shows how inhumane people can be to each other, even when one would expect them to do the opposite. Also, a women on the train car experiences hallucinations of fire when she looks out the window multiple times. The first few times she thinks she sees fire people look for it, but as the fake visions keep occurring, people become incredibly annoyed and frustrated with her, and they show little compassion. Even when in the darkest scenarios, humans never fail to be absolutely cruel to one another.

Jane Austen uses Mr. Darcy to display how first impressions can be false. The first time Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy met, Mr. Darcy is incredibly rude to Elizabeth. He refuses to dance with her because he states her looks are not to his standards. From this moment on, Elizabeth despises Mr. Darcy. Whenever they interact, she is cold and sarcastic to him. After a long time, Mr. Darcy begins to fall in love with Elizabeth. He then proposes to her, coldly and emotionless. Elizabeth refuses his proposal and begins to tell him why: The reasons are as follows: she despises his cruel manner, his treatment towards Whitman, and the break up of Jane and Mr.
Bingley. Elizabeth continues to explain to Mr. Darcy that she thinks he is cold and uncaring and how she hated him for fuining her sister’s happiness with Bingley. Also, Elizabeth tells Mr. Darcy that she knows Whitman was favored by the late Mr. Darcy, but that is no reason for Darcy to forever hate him. Elizabeth finds out a day later that she was horribly wrong. Mr. Darcy had good reason for being cold towards Whitman, for he was more corrupt than anyone could have thought. Elizabeth doesn’t see Mr. Darcy again until she visits Pemberly Manor. She is not expecting him to be there, but once he shows up, he is just as surprised as she is. Nonetheless, his manners were impeccable. Elizabeth, who had spent many a time seething from the ill manners of Darcy, could not believe the improvements he made. Mr. Darcy continues to act polite and even tempered throughout the rest of their stay, tragedy befalls the Bennett family when Lydia, one of Elizabeth’s younger sisters, elopes with Whitman. Elizabeth leaves right away to support her family and Mr. Darcy leaves as well, but no one is sure where he went. Elizabeth later finds out that it was Mr. Darcy who paid the money to bail out her family from disgrace.
Cara Mitchell



John Knowles practices symbolism to demonstrate that individuals have a sinister side. Gene and Finny are best friends, but Gene has recurring thoughts of Finny’s abilities, and the things Finny possesses and Gene does not. Gene and Finny use a tree as a hotspot, a hangout place where they jump in the river and socialize with their other friends, except when one day a horrible accident alters everything. Gene and Finny are at the top of the tree, snickering and joking, when Gene jounces the tree branch and innocent Finny falls, followed by a horrifying noise, the crunching of his bone. Gene knows that he did it out of jealousy, but he cannot openly admit it to Finny, even though he tries telling him. The tree symbolizes envy, evil being unleashed, and Gene’s secret desire to be like Finny. It was also the bond of friendship between Gene and Finny, but that bond gradually broke due to Gene’s menacing side. He tries to circumvent his guilt, and is vexed whenever his friends joke around about Gene breaking Finny’s leg on purpose. Another symbol is the war. War represents conflict and the real world. Devon is at peace, unlike the rest of the world. The war doesn’t even intrude with the students’ lives; it’s as if they don’t know the war is going on. Finny actually doesn’t even believe the war is taking place, that it is an illusion created by old men who want to participate in fighting for their country but are not young enough. He is actually lying, hiding the pity he feels for himself and how exasperated he was about the war because he was not accepted to fight in the war because of his crippled leg.
Saida Gjinatori

Ray Bradbury of Fahrenheit 451 uses the characterization of Clarisse McClellan to prove that life is empty without books. Clarisse meets the protagonist of the story, Montag, and asks him if he has ever been in love, if he is happy, and other profound questions that seem to baffle Montag. Clarisse is a free spirit, wandering the streets and the park all day alone. Montag, in the other hand, is a fireman, trained to destroy books. When Clarisse questions Montag’s life he begins to question his own life as well, wondering why he does not have such strong opinions and feelings as Clarisse. Montag discovers that the difference between the two of them is the wonder books possess. Clarisse’s uncle shares with her stories he has read and encourages her to think for herself making her a foil to Montag’s unfeeling, blank, and oppressed characterization. With Clarisse’s voice in his head after her death, Montag assesses the society he lives in, namely his job as a fireman. One night, the fire station receives a call to burn an old woman’s collection of books but, since she is unwilling to leave her house, they end up burning her with the novels. Scarred by this, Montag wonders what could possibly be contained in books for a woman to die for them and he soon becomes sick with anguishand that is when he makes the decision to go against society and read books. Clarisse is really the catalyst to the change seen in Montag for the duration of the novel.

Erich Remarque uses the character Paul Baumer to show how war changes people. Before joining WWI, Paul and all of his friends are school boys. Their teacher convinces them to be patriotic to Germany and join the war effort; they all sign up. Once they arrive at the front, they experience the horrors of war. They are horrified when they are in the trenches, in some cases trying to run away. As time goes by, Paul becomes almost completely oblivious to what is happening. He tries to help comfort the new recruits who are going through exactly what he and his friends went through. He also is not perturbed about the shells as much, it has become second nature for him to duck at the different sounds heard all around him. He realizes that there is nothing he can really do about not getting hit, it is just the luck of the draw. Paul figures out that things have changed for him personally when he goes on leave. He decides to go back and visit his family in Germany for a couple of weeks. But while he is there, he becomes miserable. He becomes sick of people's interpretations of what the front is like, because he knows they cannot relate to it. He dislikes people's interpretations about what life for the typical soldier might be like, because he finds their ideas stupid and nothing like what it really is. He also knows that his life will never be the same again, not after experiencing everything he did in the war. He looks back at all of his childhood things: books on his shelf, magazines in a pile, school work strewn everywhere, and knows that his life will never be like that again. He finds it almost comical, but in a tragic way, that he used to like all of those things, and especially that he used to care about them. On leave, he also discovers a physical change that he went through, while sitting in a beer garden in his neighborhood. He discovers that he learned how to drink in the army. But this he quickly brushes away, as the fact that his life will never be the same again really hits him as hard as it possibly can. After a while, he almost begs for his leave to be over, so he can go back to the life he really knows and remembers.
Alexa Fedynsky


Ken Kesey uses characters to show the flaws of conformity. The protagonist, Chief Bromden, a half-Indian who pretends to be deaf and dumb, is the quintessence of conformity at the start of the novel. He was unable to accept his individualism and was troubled about how society acted towards him, so he was admitted to the asylum in an effort to conform. He acts deaf and dumb so that people simply pass him over and don’t notice him. In his state of paranoia, he repeatedly fantasizes about this mysterious “fog,” always wishing to slip into it in such a way that nobody can see him. Kesey also uses the character R.P. McMurphy to express his theme. McMurphy is the embodiment of individuality and freedom, and his presence in the hospital enlightens the others about the lackluster appeals of conformity. McMurphy criticizes absurd rules on the ward, such as only brushing your teeth during a specific time. By criticizing the policy, McMurphy is criticizing the hospital and society, and in turn, he is criticizing conformity. McMurphy also demonstrates his individuality by making a bet with the other patients that he could wear down Nurse Ratched—a classic authoritarian figure. He walks around half-naked, goes behind her back, and shrugs off electro-shock therapy to really wear down the Big Nurse.

Edward Albee uses characterization to portray the idea of illusion versus reality. Throughout the book, it is very difficult o understand if something is completely made up, or if it is the truth. The main person that is spoken of and never seen is Martha and George’s son. Martha was speaking to Nick, and she told him that she had a son, but she was not supposed to do this. George had told her that if she ever spoke of their son, he would have o kill their son. The only problem is that it is unclear whether or not George is kidding. Also, the reader is never given a reason for why their son should not be talked about. Near the end of the novel, the doorbell rings and George answers the door. It was the day of their son’s twenty first birthday, and he was apparently at the door. George left for a while, and when he gets back he claims that he has just killed their son. Martha says, “STOP THAT”, and is in denial, because she doesn’t think that George really killed their son. It is very unclear whether Martha is mad at George for killing their son, or if she is in shock and disbelief. Some phrases in the book make it seem like their son is an illusion made up in George and Martha’s minds. Every time someone asks them if they have children, they say no. Either they are trying to hide something, or their son flat out doesn’t exist. This ambiguity makes he reader wonder whether or not the son is a real person. After all, he is never seen or heard, only spoken about. Martha and George’s son perfectly exemplifies the fine line that keeps the reader wondering what is illusion and what is reality.




Jane Austen uses characterization
to demonstrate how marriage determines ones fate. Mrs. Dashwood in the very opening
is widowed by her husband and cannot inherit a thing. Instead of being able to
stay in her home and get the money she deserves, her stepson receives the money
himself and is in charge of whether or not the family starves. Not only is this
unfair, but the women do not even notice that they are being robbed. Luckily,
Mrs. Dashwood married well and her husband, Mr. Dashwood leaves instructions
for his son to help out his sisters and mother. Even though the young Mr.
Dashwood allows his family to stay for a period of time and helps them out a little
financially, they are much worse off than they were once, living in a small
cottage in a small town. The young Mr. Dashwood would have been more giving,
had it not been for his snobby, stingy wife who convinces him by wheedling that
his father surely could not have meant for him to be so charitable. She cares
for absolutely nobody but herself, and probably only married Mr. Dashwood for
his status and money. In the end Mrs. Dashwood must do with what she gets, and
try to marry her daughters to wealthy, upstanding men who will ensure them good
futures.

William Shakespeare uses the character Egeus, the father of Hermia, to represent the family’s influence on love. Love’s complication is made even more complex by the family trying to influence it. In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Egeus is used to show just that. In the play, Hermia and Lysander love each other, but Hermia’s father Egeus wants her to marry Demetrius, who is also in love with Hermia. His interference in Love’s natural path causes Hermia and Lysander to run away. Helena who is in love with Demetrius, tells Demetrius of their flight, and he goes after them to bring them back, and Helena wanting to be loved by Demetrius follows him. This shows that the father, while trying to influence who his daughter love, ended up making the path of love more convoluted, and difficult than it already was. Egeus and family’s influence on Love is just one example Shakespeare uses in his comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to show that love’s course never runs smooth, and is always made more intricate by various occurances.


Alexander Solzhenitsyn uses setting to show how the work camps dehumanize the people in them. The setting of the book takes place somewhere in Siberia, Russia. The weather is consistently thirty degrees below zero in the winter in which the book takes place. This bitter cold destroys people. The guards are terrible to the prisoners, they make them strip down and take off any extra layers they weren’t given to them by the camp. The prisoners are forced to wear not much clothing, boots with holes in them, thin gloves and small hats. Also the sheets are taken away from the prisoner’s beds, forcing them to sleep in the freezing cold air. They have very long workdays out in this cold weather, one small break where they have nowhere to go but to stay in the snow and acrimonious wind for 14 hours a day. Not to mention about two to every four weeks of the month, they have to work Sunday, their only free day taken away from them. If two Sundays were taken away in a row, they’d be working in the cold for 20 straight days, from Monday of one week to the Saturday of the third week. This treatment, done by other human being, can change someone, it will destroy them. They aren’t known as people at this camp, they are just numbers to the guards. The prisoners are treated as property. The guards still treat them so poorly even when they are in out in the cold, watching the prisoner’s fight the brutal setting as well as the rest of people. The setting destroys people and what makes them themselves.


Julia Avarez uses symbolism to show how dictatorship can destroy a country. One of the common symbols in the book In the Time of the Butterflies is butterflies. The four sisters, who are the main characters, are referred to as the Butterflies because they are pretty girls, yet they fight for the freedom of their country. They stand up for the things they know are right despite the consequences and the hurdle of their gender. Even when they are sent to jail for their political beliefs, they continue to stand by their morals once they are released. Their tragic death becomes a legend in their country because they turned the government around and left a free country in its place. One of the sisters survives and lives to tell the tale of her three brave sisters and their families, never forgetting the difference they made, the sacrifices they took, or the consequences they endured. Despite the loss they suffered as a family, it was worth it in the end to know they reached their goal of making their country a better place for their children and their children’s children. Their sons and daughters could grow up living their succession and living on through their courageous mothers.


Oscar Wilde uses the character Sibyl to show how change is necessary. Sibyl is an actress, and she has a contract with a theatre where she acts on a daily basis. This has been the same thing, week after week, year after year. She goes to the theatre one hour before curtain, gets into costume, and acts out the same four plays every week. It is a stable job; she gets paid just enough to pay the bills and to have enough food each week, and sometimes there is a little extra money to buy a new dress. While this seems like a good life, it gets boring quickly. Sibyl has all the lines memorized for all the characters, and the thrill of being on stage in front of a live audience quickly diminishes. Sibyl has nothing to live for; no excitement or thrill in her young life. She is destined to be an actress for the rest of her life, marriage seems unlikely, until something new happens in her young life: she meets Dorian Gray, who sweeps her off her feet and shows her what real love is. Sibyl does not have to act to find love; in fact, she no longer can. Her life changes dramatically, and she moves on from acting to becoming a fiancée, and eventually, a wife. If change did not happen, everyone would lead a boring life, and no one would be married and live happily ever after.

Louisa May Alcott uses her character Jo to show how it is necessary for children to achieve independence from their parents. In the novel, Little Women, Jo befriends the neighborhood boy, Laurie (short for Laurence) and spends many afternoons playing and exploring with him. This helps her become more independent by being away from her sisters and mother. Spending time with Laurie also increases her want to be more like a boy, since she dislikes being proper and poised like the women of that day. Jo also becomes more independent when she goes to New York to become a teacher to the children of her family's friend. There she meets a professor named Federick Bhaer, who teaches her German, and the two become closely acquianted. After she leaves New York, she is very wrapped up in thinking about the professor. He ends up visiting the Marches after Jo's trip and both Jo and the professor realize their love for each other. At this time, Jo was still living at home, but the entrance of Professor Bhaer into her life had made her become more independent from her family. Before he came into her life, Jo was very much connected with her family, looking for comfort after the passing of her sister Beth, whom she was very close with. Jo has a natural gift for writing, and through writing her stories, she becomes more of an independent woman and defines herself as a person. She is earning money through her writings and is able to provide money for her impoverished family.



In the novel, Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy uses irony to demonstrate the hypocrisy between education and social class. In the novel, Jude Fawley is a country boy from Marygreen, England, who loves books but is not privileged enough to get a formal education. Jude's mother killed herself and Jude's father abandoned him leaving Jude to live with his poor aunt, a baker. Jude's troubles first started when the local school teacher left town to go to a city with a large university. Jude then decides to devote himself to get an education so that he can go to the university someday. So for the better part of twelve years he works hard at learning the classics, Greek and Latin, in order to get accepted to the university. While he is studying, he is also learning to be a stone-mason although he doesn't care much for the work. Finally after all his hard work, Jude travels to Christminster to get his formal education. Jude then writes to a university, telling of his devotion but also of his financial issues. A month later he receives a letter from the university saying that he is not fit to be a scholar and should instead focus on his working occupation, which was what everyone else was telling him to do. Jude's situation is ironic because Jude worked all his life for his one goal of getting an education but in the end he was not privileged enough to because of his social class, something he was born into. This infuriates Jude and causes him to go to a bar and get in an argument with a group of college students. He bets them that, even at a drunken state, can recite the creeds in Latin. Jude recites them perfectly and with a beautiful accent. The pompous student s were astounded, mostly because they could never do such a thing. The boys had Jude kicked out of the bar and eventually his job, crushing Jude's hopes and dreams of ever going to a university.

E.M. Forster uses the symbol of a piano to show how that being yourself will bring happiness. Lucy is an avid piano player, especially with the music of Beethoven. When Lucy plays, people say that she gets a look about her; a look of happiness and freedom. Her mother often discourages such wild notions. Mr. Beebe, the clergy man, sees her change when she plays and often exclaims while shaking his head: "Too much Beethoven." Mr. Beebe believes Lucy is engaged to Cecil, she no longer plays Beethoven. Instead, she plays Shumann and the music no longer can speak and flow. Lucy loses her spirit when she does not play or writes piano off as "childish". But once she is free from Cecil and finds the way to her heart again, Lucy is free. Beethoven represents the childish happiness and freedom we all have within us. While, Shumann represents the suppression of all emotion and feeling of one's true sould. The piano was a source of happiness and escape from their everyday suppressions of society. And as society did not allow emotion and freedom to be run away with, Lucy could not accept her destined path at first. She would have to learn to stop trying to make everyone happy, to stop trying to be "adult-like" and "sophistacated" as her new style of life venerously dictated. Piano is Lucy's best defense against suffocating society. Mr. Beebe would never say "Too much Shumann!" The people around her did recognize that with her escape from stuffy society life, she opened up andpoured out her carefree soul. A soul that was bound to get into adventures of any type often letting itself free to express. Only when Lucy lets herself free, do exciting things happen to her. If she kept down her true self, Lucy could never be anything but a stony middle-aged woman.

Claire Stemen

In Bram Stoker's Dracula, Lucy Westerna is changed greatly by the evil power that the Count possesses. Lucy, at the beginning of the story, is a sweet girl who loves her family and friends dearly. Arthur- a friend of Lucy's- asks her to marry him at the beginning and she happily acquieces. Lucy has a great future ahead of her, and that is ruined all in one night. Lucy sleepwalks and one night, wanders outside. A tall, dark figure- Count Dracula- takes advantage of poor Lucy's state, and bites her on the throat- which will eventually turn Lucy into a wretched vampire like the Count. Lucy turns ill and many of her friends do all they can to save her from death. But only, Lucy was not dying. Her bright future turned dark as she slowly became a monster. Dracula's act has killed Lucy's sweet nature, promising future, and has turned her into a being that is nothing like the real Lucy. Arthur, along with many others, is shocked and hurt to find Lucy is no longer her loving, caring self. Here is the Count's first victum in the story and how his diabolical deeds have hurt the lives of many.
Sarah Yannie


Thomas Hardy uses the character of Alec D’Urbervilles to show how appearance can lead to one’s downfall. When Tess meets Alec D’Urbervilles he appears to be a nice man, calling her sweet names, smiling at her, giving her red roses, and getting her a job taking care of his mother’s birds. In reality he is a wretched man who represents man’s power over women and leads her down the path of destruction and ruins the rest of her life. On her way to his house to take care of the birds, as they are flying down a hill and Tess is scared for her life, he promises to slow down only if she kisses him, and she obeys this demand. One night when Tess is walking home while it’s late and dark, two women attack her and Alec comes to her “rescue” but later that night he seduces and rapes her. She escapes him but later on in the novel while she is in another town, she meets him again after his conversion to religion and he follows her around. He asks for her hand in marriage and offers to help out her poor family. Due to the fact that it looks like her husband Angel Clare is never coming back, she cannot marry him, but falls under his pressure and lives with him. Angel Clare comes back only to find the two living together which is when Tess overcomes Alec’s role over her and kills him.