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What is a good example of a literary device in Cormac McCarthy's book All the Pretty...

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nataliaeg | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 12, 2009 at 11:00 AM via web

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What is a good example of a literary device in Cormac McCarthy's book All the Pretty Horses?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 2, 2010 at 6:09 PM (Answer #1)

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Of course, every novel is full of examples of literary devices, and so what you need to do is go back over the novel and carefully re-read it, paying attention to aspects that could be considered literary devices. Here is a paragraph that contains many from the first couple of pages:

As he turned to go he heard the train. He stopped and waited for it. He could feel it under his feet. It came boring out of the east like some ribald satellite of the coming sun howling and bellowing in the distance and the long light of the headlamp running through the tangled mesquite brakes and creating out of the night the endless fenceline down the dead straight right of way and sucking it back again wire and post mile on mile into the darkness after where the boilersmoke disbanded slowly along the faint new horizon and the sound came laggins and he stood still holding his hat in his hands  the passing groundshudder watching it till it was gone. Then he turned and went back to the house.

Obviously a number of literary devices you can identify in this one paragraph. Consider the simile that is used to describe the train: "like some ribald satellite of the coming sun". Also note the onomoatopoeia in "howling and bellowing". Also note the hyperbole in "endless fenceline". What others can you spot in this paragraph? And also, think about what effect these literary devices are creating. How do they make the train appear? Hope this helps - good luck as you try to spot others and comment on their significance!

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