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Let's look at some literary devices in Chapter One, which is where literary tone and style are set up. First, literary devices can be elements pertaining to things that are present in all novels, like chronology, diction, tone, characters and setting, or literary devices can be techniques pertaining to things that may be different from one novel to the next, like symbolism, imagery, personification and metaphor (e.g., not all novels share the same metaphors, some may not even contain metaphor at all).
Tone is an interesting literary device of the element category that strikes a reader's attention in the first chapter. Tone is the feeling the narrator has about the subject or characters being written about. This first-person narrator has a tone of repressed desperation and ironical wit (bordering on sarcasm from time to time). The tone of repressed desperation is revealed when the narrator lets his true feelings show through the courageous and determined facade he has put on (the happy face he puts on to endure things). You can see examples of this tone of repressed desperation in these quotes:
- I really needed to sleep some more.
- ... after all, she hardly ever slept in there anyway.
- This place needed to be torn down and a new one started.
- We had an agreement--we'd both lie to each other ... that we weren't worried about
The ironic tone shows up well in the sections of pronounced colloquial diction. Diction is the level of speech and the vocabulary the narrator or a character chooses; this can include grammar and syntax as well since each level will have different grammar and syntax specifications. The four levels are (1) formal and academic, (2) educated informal and conversational, (3) colloquial and casual, and (4) slang, including vulgarities.
This first-person narrator's diction is mostly informal, showing education and grammatical care, but it changes to a casual colloquial diction here and there. It is during these colloquial parts that the ironic tone most emerges as in this colloquial, ironical example:
I thought about going and sleeping in [Megan's] room ... no, no way ... too many unicorns and stuffed animals and rainbow posters. I'd take the rain over the rainbows any time.
One technique that is repeated a couple of times is personification. Personification is a literary device of the technique category that gives human-like qualities to nonhuman objects. For instance, the clock is personified with "angry red numbers." Last time checked, numbers are not given to being angry; humans are given to being angry. Thus the clock's numbers have been personified with a human-like quality. Another instance occurs in relation to the walls with peeling unnatural green paint in which the walls are personified by being given the human-like quality of rejection:
The walls were painted a strange shade of green not found in nature. The way the paint was peeling away, it looked as if the wall were trying to reject it.