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To Kill A Mockingbird is rich in expressive language, which adds depth and meaning to Harper Lee's novel. Literary devices such as metaphor, simile, personification, symbolism, onomatopoeia, alliteration, allusion and common idioms, for example, are intended to add a dimension to the words so that readers can get a visual picture, recognize the tone, share or at least understand the writer's viewpoint and recall significant characters or events due to the distinctive images created through literary devices.
In chapter 15 of the novel, the sheriff Heck Tate and "a crowd of men" comes to discuss Tom Robinson with Atticus. Although Tate says that "I don't look for any trouble," in Maycomb nothing is ever simple as the people are bigoted and self-serving. Foreshadowing is used here to give clues as to exactly the kind of trouble a person can expect to find in Maycomb. The reader is already aware of the potential for trouble and this use of foreshadowing indicates that the reader can expect far more. As Atticus says, "Don't be foolish...This is Maycomb." The foreshadowing continues throughout chapter 15 and Jem reveals his "feeling." Referring to looking for trouble personifies trouble suggesting that it is a person who can be looked for and found. Later Scout will say "his face killed my joy,' a distinct use of personification.
As the narrator, Scout uses onomatopoeia and one example is when she describes how the children are watching their father and Heck Tate through the window and the men "murmured and buzzed." A murmur is a very subdued sound and the reader can imagine the lowered voices and the fact that they buzzed reveals the apparent excited or anxious tone that is inferred.
There is a clever play on words when Scout refers to Mr Tate at church and the fact that he is not usually seen there. She uses a well-known idiom and ponders if "he had seen the light" which could be relating to finding God but in Maycomb County, many folk are hypocritical and do not recognize their own contribution to the contradiction between being good God-fearing people but with racially prejudiced beliefs and so Scout's words can be interpreted as indicative of their lack of awareness. Suspense continues to build in chapter 15 and the myriad of literary devices all contribute to its effect.
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird contains many different literary (or poetic/rhetorical) devices.
Dialect- Dialect refers to the choice of language an author decides to use. Since the novel takes place in the south, the dialogue of the characters depicts a truly southern tongue. For example, when Mr. Tate tells Atticus that he "don't look for any trouble," the dialogue illustrates a southern way of speaking. He (Tate) goes on to remind Atticus about how the town folk get when they are "shinnied up."
Simile- A simile is a comparison between two typically unlike things. The comparison uses either "like" or "as" to make the comparison. The first paragraph of chapter fifteen contains a simile. It appears where Scout, as the narrator, compares Boo to an ant ("he’d follow it, like an ant)."
Direct Characterization- Direct characterization is where the author provides a direct reference to how (or who) a character is. IN chapter fifteen, Scout offers readers a little more on Atticus. Atticus never ate dessert, and he walked everywhere in Maycomb (which contradicted the thought that a man walking with no purpose meant his mind was "incapable of purpose").
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