I have to write a "Literary Critical Essay" that illustrates my ability to recognize at least 4 elements of style in Carlo's Collodi's "The Adventures of Pinocchio". I'm supposed to include...

I have to write a "Literary Critical Essay" that illustrates my ability to recognize at least 4 elements of style in Carlo's Collodi's "The Adventures of Pinocchio". I'm supposed to include citations about this and a Works Cited page. 

I have selected simile, metaphor, personification and hyperbole and possibly irony as the elements of style. 

I am not sure what sources, other than the book, I should use that would be appropriate to this assignment. 

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What you have suggested are all literary techniques, which certainly contribute to style; however, if permitted here, other suggestions of "elements of style" are those of what is considered writing style. Among them are the following:

  1. Tone
  2. Diction and Sentence Structure
  3. Overall Structure
  4. Perspective, point of view
  5. Imagery
  6. Storytelling
  7. Character Development
  8. Word Color, Word Sound
  9. Pace

Therefore, since this literary analysis is a college assignment, it may be well to focus upon an idea that has a wider range than that of the literary elements since literary elements are usually employed to a larger end and not so much merely for the beauty of themselves. That is, these elements are usually tools used to enliven and describe more fully another, larger and more important element of the narrative. In Collidi's storytelling, for instance, the personification and irony certainly develop the underlying political satire of the Italian justice system or any justice system, really. [In reference to the use of the Pinocchio Test of the Washington Post, one can conceive of this work as political satire, as well as the fact that Collidi himself founded two journals of political satire.]

Another analysis can examine the moral issues contained in allegory. As one critic writes,

Nature does not know what mischief is. But society does, and much of childhood is taken up with the work of cutting nature to fit society.

The board that talks is fashioned into a puppet, but this puppet attains life and must, then, deal with society. Little Pinocchio encounters such elements as selfishness and moral corruption, even falling victim to it. In Chapter 27, for instance, his schoolmates encourage Pinocchio not to study and do his work because, by doing so, he causes them to be punished. 

"Don't you see? If you study and we don't, we pay for it. After all, it's only fair to look out for ourselves."

"Hate school and books and teachers, as we all do. They are your worst enemies, you know, and they like to make you as unhappy as they can."

This episode of Chapter 27 is also relative to the satire of justice as Pinocchio gets into a fight with his schoolmates, who throw their books at him. When they have exhausted their own supply, one of them picks up Pinocchio's massive mathematics textbook and hurls it at him; however, it strikes one of the other boys. Seeing this, the boys run off, leaving Pinocchio to tend to the injured boy, Eugene. When Cabineers approach, they ask what has happened and Pinocchio tells them Eugene has been hit on the head. "Who has done this?" they ask; the marionette replies, "Not I," but since there are no others around and since the book belongs to Pinocchio, they assume that he is the culprit and begin to take him off.

Of course, the allegory and satire are what lend Pinocchio its classic appeal. For, it reaches both children and adult in its storytelling. [See the links below for some criticisms on this work, and consult also from literary criticisms as already suggested above. Good luck!]

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The answer to the question of what sources you might want to cite is going to depend on what resources and academic journals you can access. Many scholarly journals offer access only to subscribers, but many universities pay for blanket subscriptions to cover their students. 

If you do have access to some scholarly journals, you might look up "Children's Literature," a journal published by Johns Hopkins University that has published a number of articles on Carlo Collodi and his Pinocchio

In any event, what you are looking for on an assignment like this is scholarship that relates directly to "simile, metaphor, personification and hyperbole and possibly irony as the elements of style" used in Collodi's writing. Looking at articles with an eye to any discussions of these stylistic elements is the first step - your research step.

The second step is to re-consider your own claims/thesis in light of the scholarship you have read and the third step would have you write the assignment, quoting from your research and providing some context (which could be something like: "Carol Conrad identifies Collodi's use of hypoerbole as the defining element of his style in her article, 'Blank Blank,' suggesting that "INSERT QUOTE HERE"). I'm sure you are already familiar with these ideas in academic writing.

The basic ideas is that you are seeking out scholarship that addresses the same issues you are addressing in your paper and citing that scholarship as support for your own interpretations/assessments.

If you do not have access to scholarly journals through your school, you might consider looking at the eNotes articles on Collodi (there are actually quite a few here), all of which can be cited and included in your works cited page. 

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