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The literary devices that would be employed with this image would be forms of figurative language, specifically similes, metaphors, personification, and/or onomatopoeia. These are called figures of speech, which are defined as...
...the expressive use of language in which words are used in... ways [other] than their literal senses so as to suggest and produce pictures or images in a reader or hearer’s mind, bypassing logic and appealing directly to the imagination in order to give particular emphasis to an idea or sentiment.
One might note that the waves crash. "Crash" is a form of onomatopoeia, which is a word that stands for the sound it describes.
A simile is the comparison of dissimilar things as if they were the same, using "like" or "as." Using a simile one might compare the color of the sky to the color of a robin's egg, using the words "like" or "as."
A metaphor is the comparison of dissimilar things as if they were the same, without using "like" or "as." The strength of the waves might be compared to sledge hammers, pounding the surf.
Personification is giving non-human things human characteristics. If the cresting waves "chattered" onto the shore, "chattering" would be the use of personification. Waves do not chatter, while people do.
None of these comparisons or statements are to taken literally, however, the use of imagery (which is what each of these devices is) brings the writer's words to life by creating images in the reader's mind. They make one's writing more interesting by the use of imagery that appeal to the senses (sensory details) and images that make the written word engaging and realistic. While one may never have been to the ocean, for instance, he or she may know what the color of a robin's egg is, thereby drawing a comparison that the reader can understand.
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