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What literary device does the author use to describe Johnny's mugging?

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liza23628 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 15, 2007 at 9:36 AM via web

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What literary device does the author use to describe Johnny's mugging?

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 15, 2007 at 12:34 PM (Answer #1)

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Hinton uses the device of flashback, which is when the narrator leaves the present time to tell about something that happened in the story's past.  During the description itself, Hinton uses imagery to describe the state the boys found Johnny in and the way the boys felt when they found him.

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wlgus95 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 9, 2008 at 1:49 PM (Answer #2)

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The author had used flashback, backstory, and foreshadow. the author had flashbacked about the story of what had happen to Johnny, used backstory which added more detailes in the story, and foreshadowed that if anything like that happened again, he would kill that person. thoses three are the literary devices the author used to describe Johnny's mugging. You dig? :)

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dadude247 | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:30 AM (Answer #3)

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I'm reading this book in my reading/writing class and it actually does use flashback for refering to Johnny's beating with the Socs. It's actually a pretty good book. :)

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gpane | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 1, 2015 at 6:22 PM (Answer #4)

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As already mentioned, the main literary device used is that of flashback,  when the narrator leaves the present moment to relate something that happened in the past. We can also say that Ponyboy, when narrating the story of Johnny's beating, uses a careful build-up technique, revealing what happened in stages. For instance, the first clue that something bad happened to Johnny is when Ponyboy finds his jacket which is described as having a stain 'the colour of rust' on it. The stain of course is blood, but Ponyboy chooses to refer to it obliquely. The badly-beaten Johnny first appears as a 'dark motionless hump' rather than as a person; this is an example of a de-humanizing image. In this way Ponyboy builds up slowly to the terrible revelation of the savage beating Johnny received at the hands of the Socs. The actual beating is never shown at all: we only see the grim results of it in the form of Johnny's battered body and bloodstained jacket.  It is obviously a very painful memory for Ponyboy, which is no doubt why he relates it in a somewhat roundabout manner to the sympathetically-listening Cherry.

As already mentioned in another answer, the story of this incident also uses the technique of foreshadowing, which is to say it hints at an event later in the book. This is when Johnny declares that 'he'd kill the next person who jumped him'. He ends up doing just that. 

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