Literary Devices


Literary devices are a specific type of techniques in a literary structure which is used by writers and poets to add an interesting meaning to make the story or poem more entertaining. Such techniques provide readers with a better level of meaning to the context with great understanding. The literary elements are used in narrative literature, poetry, speeches or any other form of writing.

Common examples of Literary devices are metaphor, alliteration, hyperbole and imagery. 


  1. Allegory

Allegory is a literary device like a metaphor that is in character of any place or event is involved to produce a broader message about the real world and issues related to it.

Use of allegory can be found in all types of art because Allegory has the quality of conveying messages very easily. It can make the complex text understandable because comprehensible or striking to its viewers, readers, or listeners. This the only reason to use. other than this allegory is used for symbolic figures, actions, imagery, or events, which together create the moral, spiritual, or political meaning which the author wants to tell. Allegories also use personification but not all the time.

Examples of allegory

  1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  2. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  3. The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe
  4. Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
  5. Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  1. Alliteration

Alliteration is the repetition occurring of consonant sounds in successive or closely associated syllables. Alliteration method is used for linking words to make an awesome effect of the text. Alliteration is also called an initial rhythm or head rhyme. Some literary experts claim that alliteration can also happen with vowel sounds.

Examples of Alliteration

  1. Come and clean the chaos in your closet.
  2. Betty Botter bought some butter,

"But," she said, "the butter's bitter;

If I put it in my batter,

It will make my batter bitter;

  1. Analogy

The analogy is a type of literary device in which creation of relationships is focused on parallels or connections which are in between two ideas. A know and familiar concept are established through this relationship by introducing a new idea in between the familiar comparison. This makes a new concept easy to understand. Similarities are also established between the two concepts which help in building an image to the reader's mind.

Examples of Analogy

  1. Life is Like a Race.
  2. Just as a Sword is the Weapon of a Warrior, a Pen is the Weapon of a Writer
  1. Archetype

In the context of literature, archetypes are associated with a general character, action, situation, place which is almost the same in everyone's (humans) consciousness. Archetypes represent “Universal symbol,” which can be characters, themes, symbols, setting or anything else. Archetypes are also made when they repeatedly represented in the same typical way in culture. this establishes a shape, function, behavior of the element in humans.

Examples of Archetype –

  1. Battle of Good and Evil - Good ultimately triumphs
  2. Death and Rebirth - Shows the circle of life
  3. Innate Wisdom vs. Educated Stupidity - A character will have intuition and knowledge that is better than those in charge
  1. Bibliomancy

Bibliomancy is a literary device which is originated from the bible and it suggests a practice of linking the plot of writing to the biblical origin. It is very similar to what is suggested by its name.  Basically, the event or plot of the storyline is associated with biblical factions of the Bible. There is a random selection where the basic biblical passage is used as the foundation stone for the plotline.  although bibliomancy is not just Bible based writings. But this also involves Bible inspired writings.

Examples of Bibliomancy

In the story Beowulf, a character was named as Grendel who was described as the descendant of Cain from Cain and Abel.

  1. Bildungsroman

Bildungsroman is a special kind of writing which has it's focused on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist starting from a young age to adulthood. During this time period Bildungsroman gives the protagonist a growth of a sensitive person, who is always finding answers to his questions and problems in life. Mostly the protagonist has faced an emotional disturbance at the beginning of the novel. The journey then starts when the protagonist decides to leave to fill in a vacuum. This journey helps the protagonist to gain quality of maturity which further helps him /her in fighting the problems of his /her life.  In the end, everything ends well, and the society accepts them which results in finishing the dissatisfaction. Such type of novels is also called as “coming-of-age” novel.

Examples of Bildungsroman

  1. Great Expectations
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird
  3. Jane Eyre
  4. Invisible Man


Cacophony is the literary device which is used for combining or joining words which have loud, harsh sounds in real as well as in literature. Such sounds are combined for rough and unharmonious as well as noisy, Jarry poetic effect in literature. The opposite of euphony is a cacophony. Where euphony is a beautiful melodious sound occurred through words.

Example of Cacophony

Out, damned spot! Out, I say! —One, two. Why, then, ’its time to do? Hell is murky! —Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need do we fear who knows it when none can call our power to account? —Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?

(Macbeth by William Shakespeare)

  1. Connotation

A connotation is a commonly used literary device for the cultural or emotional connection with the same word or phrase which is also carrying explicit or literal meaning. this is also called as denotation. Connotations are frequently used for describing both positive and negative things with the motive of both pleasing and displeasing with emotional connection.

Example of Connotation

  1. He’s such a dog.
  2. That woman is a dove at heart.
  3. There’s no place like home.
  1. Denotation

Denotation is typically defined as a word which is used in generally used as an opposite for connotation or the opposite of associated words (meanings). For example, the literal meaning of dove is a bird which is white but in literature, the dove is associated as a symbol of peace.

Example of Denotation

  1. The blueberry is very blue. (the literal meaning of blue will be addressed)
  2. When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

- (Wordsworth) Words like “golden daffodils “and “beside the lake “are the donated literary devices in the poem.

  1. Epilogue

Epilogues are an integral component of any writing whether it is a story or a poem. Epilogues are built to provide a structure to the writing. The epilogues are the last words or the conclusion after every chapter or after the ending. Epilogue helps us understand writing better by giving insightsinto the interesting progress of the plot. Epilogues many times also build up like a taser or trailer to the next sequel of writing which will be created in later timer.

Other than this epilogue is used to add a future to the life of characters in writings after the story has been completed. Epilogues have many different types of ways of writing like the narrative style which is commonly adopted in the story. Although there is one more way which acts as a narrative to the writing.

Example of Epilogue

  1. ’’ A glooming peace this morning with it brings;

The sun for sorrow will not show his head.

Go hence to have more talk of these sad things,

Some shall be pardoned, and some punished,

For never was a story of more woe

Than this of Juliet and her Romeo."

  1. "It is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue, but it is no more unhandsome than to see the lord the prologue. If it is true, that good wine needs no bush, 'is true that a good play needs no epilogue. Yet to good wine they do use good bushes, and good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues….”
  1. Epithet

The use of Epithet, the literary device is made for the descriptive device. This is generally used for adding to some person or place's regular name which has the qualities of some special quality in the same. Epithets are extraordinary as they become a component of common parlance during the time. These words and phrases which are descriptive are used to improve the persona of real and fictitious places, objects, persons and divinities.

Example of Epithet

  1. “Thou mad mustachio purple-hued maltworms! (Henry IV)
  2. “Death lies on her like an untimely frost. Upon the sweetest flower of all the field…” (Romeo and Juliet).
  1. Faulty Parallelism

The term ‘parallelism literature is utilized to connect to the method of putting together similarities in a structure which is related to phrases, words or clauses. The parallelism here incorporates the right placing of the sentence in a format which is parallel in means of the grammar. this is a type of format where nouns are listed collectively and there are some verb forms which are listed together and the like. If one fails to follow this structure (parallel Structure) then this further results in faulty parallelism. This means that faulty parallelism refers to the failure to maintain a balance in grammatical forms.

Example of Faulty Parallelism

  1. Both of them got together, conversed, and dispersed, but to no avail.
  2. She came, she saw, and She conquered.
  3. They wanted to buy a new house to live in, and a new car to drive.
  4. The candidate was contacted through telephone, email, and snail-mail.
  5. The new Professor was neither a Catholic nor an Anglican.
  1. Flashback

A flashback is a literary device where the author describes and a happening of specific events in the writing. This happening has taken place before present narration, or the flashbacks are occurrences which have happened before the vents which are currently unwrapping in the writing.

This literary device is also used for past narratives by the characters in the writing. These narrations involve depictions, references of dreams and memories. A sub device called authorial sovereignty is employed by the writer/author which helps them directly choose past events and their narrations in a very simple and straightforward manner. Flashbacks are basically background for the current scenario, place or character.

Example of Flashback

13 reasons why are a series of flashbacks. As Clay listens to the tape, the novel goes into a flashback about the

  1. Hyperbole

Hyperboles are used by the author for a specific set of words and phrases which help in exaggerating and overemphasizing the basic crux of a record so that grander can be developed without any noticeable change or effect. The aim of Hyperbole is to develop a larger - than life effect and make a point which produces unbearable stress. The sentences which are marked with hyperbole convey an action or emotion which is typically not real and not practical. But this helps in exaggerating emotions and feelings.

Example of Hyperbole

  • Maybe I’ve told you a million times that marriage is the escape for you.
  • It was hot; even Camels had taken out their clothes.
  1. Imagery

In the genre of literature, Imagery is considered the strongest device among all. This is used where the author uses words in his writing to paint a picture in the reader's mind. Imagery creates mental images ' it simply helps the reader to visualize the writing in real. This is mainly done by using allusions, metaphors, descriptive words, similes. all the literary devices help in pricking the reader to be aware of the sensory elements involved in texts. Imagery is although not just limited to visuals it also refers to the igniting kinesthetic, olfactory, tactile, gustatory, thermal and auditory sensations too.

Example of Imagery

“We're goin' down and you can see it too

We're goin' down and you know that we're doomed

My dear, we're slow dancing in a burnin' room”

(John Mayer)

16.Internal Rhyme

Internal Rhyme is the part of literature where the method of forming a rhyme is done by only one lone line of verse. Internal Rhyme is a literary device and is identified as middle rhyme. The reason for this identification is that Internal Rhymes are composed in the middle of a line to rhyme with the part at the end of the similar metrical line.

Example of Internal Rhyme

“Double, double toil and trouble,

Fire burn and cauldron bubble…”

(Macbeth, Shakespeare)

  1. Irony

The irony is a famous literary device in literature and is known for playing with words. the practice of Irony is done when the meaning implied in a sentence or word becomes different from the actual meaning. The irony is made to refer to the big difference in the real situation and what is being forth compared. Thus, the situation of the context helps better in understanding the real, deep meaning of words placed in the text.

Example of Irony

We can find the perfect Irony in Shakespeare’s Othello as the readers are complicit with Iago’s misdeeds and they are the only witness but still they can do nothing about it.

  1. Malapropism

The literary device, Malapropism is a part of literature which leads to the usage of substituting words which have similar pronunciation but different meanings.  This can be also referred to as the misusage of words There are many times wrong meanings reflected in the text which further creates a situation of confusion, misunderstanding as well as amusement.

The writer uses Malapropism in order to communicate that the narrator is flustered, bothered, unaware or confused which makes him use the wrong words. The literary device is always used with similar sounding words which can be perfect substitutes of each other. Similar sounds are significant in order to make the reader catch the intended switch and fell humorous about the situation as a result.

Example of Malapropism

  • You could have knocked me over with a fender. (feather)
  • You lead the way and we'll proceed. (proceed)
  • Unfortunately, my affluence over my niece is very small. (influence)
  1. Motif

The motif is can be any element, idea subject, or even concept which is used regularly to present an outcome throughout the entire body of literature. Usage of a motif is basically a repetition of a specific theme which works in dominating the literary work. Motifs can be noticed very easily as they very vital role in connecting the nature of the story, the course of issues within it with the very fabric of the literary piece.

Example of Motif

Death can be used as “funeral,” “grave,” “dead,” etc. as motif words of “death “

  1. Metaphor

Metaphors are the literary device which is used the most to denote a meaning or identity prescribed to one course in a different way. A course of the subject is mentioned as another subject to draw similarities, comparisons and discuss shared traits between the two.

For example, we can assume that there is one subject which is most of the times compared to another subject to describe the degree of reference which is used to characterize the first. The goal of using a metaphor is to identify the concept with better relevance. The link between to subjects is established with using "like " or "as" words.

Example of Metaphor

  • "He really flared up my temper."
  • "He reeks of infidelity."
  1. Onomatopoeia

The literary device ‘onomatopoeia’ attributes to words whose sound is very similar to the sound which is used to represent what they are meant. In simple words, it suggests the sound words who are having pronunciation like the actual sound they describe.

Example of Onomatopoeia

  • The sheep made a sound of “Baa “
  • The best part about guns is bang sound you hear, that is the ultimate nirvana.
  1. Oxymoron

Oxymoron is an important literary device which helps the writer in working out contrasting concepts together in a way which make sense at the end. Although it becomes a little strange and is also a little difficult to be done. Oxymorons are enjoyable while reading as it assists in gaining a deep meaning of truth written but through different streets. Writers also explore different layers of semantics while writing oxymorons.

Example of Oxymoron

  • You have got us into a fine mess again, Jack
  • The two of them share a weird love-hate relationship.
  1. Paradox

A literary device, paradox uses concepts or ideas which are different and conflicting with each other. But whenever they are placed together, they develop significant values on different levels. The purpose of the paradox lies in the deeper level of meaning. One cannot reveal the importance of paradox at one go, but when crystallization is done it gives an extraordinary insight to the readers.

Example of Paradox

  • “What a pity that youth must be wasted on the young.” – George Bernard Shaw
  • “I can resist anything but temptation.” – Oscar Wilde.
  1. Personification

Personification is widely known for the practice of attaching human qualities to non-living objects or inanimate objects, phenomena and animals.

Example of Personification

“I chatter over stony ways, In little sharps and trebles, I bubble into eddying bays, I babble on the pebbles."- Brook, Alfred Lord Tennyson

  1. Puns

Puns are literally devices which are used in a manner to develop two or more meanings with a single word.  Puns are used to create humor, irony, wryness and imply meanings with similar sound words. The main purpose of a pin is to make the reader have a relief moment while he is discovering two meanings.

Example of Puns

All these Vitamins and you still want the D

All these coins and you still couldn’t change

  1. Rhyme Scheme

The rhyme scheme is the usage of rhyming sounds located at the end of the lines in the poetry. Although in some of the prose we can find this literary device. The rhyme scheme is the system in which specific words rhyme. If the alternate words are rhyming then, it is an “a-b-a-b” rhyme scheme, which means “a” is the rhyme for the lines 1 and 3 and “b” is the rhyme hit in the lines 2 and 4.

Example of Rhyme Scheme

Roses are red (a)

Violets are blue (b)

Monkeys like you (b)

Should be kept in a zoo (b)

  1. Satire

The literary device satire is used in literature to practice the method of making fun of human insecurities, weakness or character flaw in the writing. Satires are used out of inclusive decisions or needs of correcting and making the character better while receiving a dialogue of satire. In simple words, writers make use of satire to establish humor to entertain readers to entertain them by amusing them to derive a reaction to contempt from the reader.

Example of Satire

“What’s the use you learning to do right, when it’s troublesome to do right and isn’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?” (Ch. 16, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain Mark)

  1. Simile

Similes are one of the most generally used literary devices for referring to the tradition of painting parallels and comparisons between two not so related things, people, beings, places and concepts dissimilar unrelated and dissimilar things. Using similes, a vast level of comparison is attached to a regular sentence. The writer makes the reader to better understand the concept of text on a high degree. Similes are often used which words like" as” or "like".

Example of Simile

“As cold as ice “

“As cool as a cucumber “

  1. Symbol

Symbols are the literary device which has a set of different meaning hidden in a word or phrase.  These meanings are reflected in the literal translation and the reader must understand by reading between the lines. Symbols are mostly denoted with an object or action to reflect the hidden literal meaning.

Example of Symbol

In-text when there is a symbolic word used as “black” is used for death and bad feelings.

  1. Syntax

Syntax in the book of literary device denotes the process in which terms and sentences are placed together. Habitually, in the English vocabulary, the syntax should follow a pattern of the subject-verb-object agreement, but many times writers dodge around in order to obtain a lyrical, rhythmic, rhetoric or questioning effect. This is not related to the action of choosing particular words or the meanings of every word or even the total meaning carried out by every sentence.

Example of Syntax

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