Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

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What are two literary devices used by Jane Austen in Sense and Sensibilityand how do they contribute to the setting or plot? Literary devices such as foreshadowing, symbolism, similes, metaphors,...

What are two literary devices used by Jane Austen in Sense and Sensibility and how do they contribute to the setting or plot?

Literary devices such as foreshadowing, symbolism, similes, metaphors, personification, and allusions.

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Actually, truth be told, Jane Austen is not a good author to use for trying to find typical literary devices such as metaphor (simile is a type of metaphor), personification, etc. The reason for this is that she was one of the first Realists who wrote as directly and factually as she felt she needed to to meet her desired thematic aims. One can usually find some foreshadowing here and there though and a few allusions scattered about.

   It was several days before Willoughby's name was mentioned before Marianne by any of her family; ... but one evening, Mrs. Dashwood, accidentally taking up a volume of Shakespeare, exclaimed,
    "We have never finished Hamlet, Marianne; our dear Willoughby went away before we could get through it. We will put it by, that when he comes again...But it may be months, perhaps, before THAT happens."
    "Months!" cried Marianne, with strong surprise. "No—nor many weeks." (Chapter 16, V. I)

This artfully crafted passage contains allusion and foreshadowing. Actually, it contains three elements of foreshadowing, a particular Austen authorial device technique and talent. The allusion is a Renaissance one to Shakespeare's famous dramatic tragedy, Hamlet. The allusion comprises several ideas in it; I'll try to paraphrase the essence of the allusion. Bear in mind that the function of an allusion is to convey complex information in one neat image thus you will find that any paraphrase of an allusion will be lengthy compared to the (in this case, single word) allusion.

PARAPHRASE

  • Hamlet is a tragedy in which the hero is killed by his enemy's hand while all whom he loves dearest die in the plots that have been laid to snare his enemies and to snare him. The victor stands alone and is one of Hamlet's enemies. In the end, Hamlet receives compassion and mercy for...

    (The entire section contains 595 words.)

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