In The Birthmark, what are the figures of speech which are used to describe the laboratory?

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Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many different figures of speech in his short story The Birthmark. When Georgiana enters the laboratory, Hawthorne has used multiple examples of figurative language to heighten the language of the description. In introducing the laboratory, Hawthorne uses imagery, a simile, and alliteration. (Definitions of the figures of speech are taken from eNotes Guide to Literary Terms.)

Imagery: "the forming of mental images, figures, or likenesses of things."

Imagery can be found in the descriptions of Aylmer's studies conducted in his laboratory. When the narrator is speaking about Aylmer's studies of clouds, mines, volcanoes, and fountains, readers are whisked away on a mental journey across the world. The fact that an engaged reader can see these places through the construction of mental pictures is imagery.

Simile: "a figure of speech in which two things, essentially different but thought to be alike in one or more respects, are compared using “like,” “as,” “as if,” or “such” for the purpose of explanation, allusion, or ornament."

She permits us, indeed, to mar, but seldom to mend, and, like a jealous patentee, on no account to make.

Here, she refers to the "creative Mother." Therefore, when she (the Mother) is compared to a jealous patentee (someone who holds a patent for something), a simile occurs.

Alliteration: "the repetition of an initial sound in two or more words of a phrase, line, or sentence."

While alliteration is typically found in poetry, the use of it in other texts is just as easily recognized. Therefore, the repetition of the"f," "v," and "h" sounds.

Forthwith there issued from an inner apartment a man of low stature, but bulky frame, with shaggy hair hanging about his visage, which was grimed with the vapors of the furnace.


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