What are examples of the following poetic, or literary devices found in David Hernandez's Suckerpunch: two metaphors, two similes, irony, hyperbole, two onomatopoeia, and two examples of...

What are examples of the following poetic, or literary devices found in David Hernandez's Suckerpunch: two metaphors, two similes, irony, hyperbole, two onomatopoeia, and two examples of personification?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As we are limited in space and due to limited online access to the text, below are a few ideas to help get you started, as well as some search tips to help you find what else you need.

Both similes and metaphors are two of the easiest types of devices to find. Both are analogies in which we compare two things in order to be more descriptive. The difference between the two is that similes make the comparisons using the words like or as, while metaphors draw a comparison by saying that something is/was another thing. One excellent example is, "Henry was a lion on the battlefield" (Literary Devices, "Metaphor"). Similes can be easier to find than metaphors because all you have to do is skim through the text until you find either the word like or as. If you see one of those words, stop and read the sentence; if you see a comparison being made, you know you've found a simile. Metaphors can be a bit more complicated to find but skimming through the text and stopping at the verbs is or was will definitely help. One example of a simile can actually be found on the very first page: "I'd come at him with a baseball bat, his head splitting open like rotten fruit" (p. 1). If you keep looking for either the word like or as, you'll easily find a second simile on the very first page. One example of a metaphor can also be found in the title. The term suckerpunch(it) has come to refer to hitting someone unexpectedly, but it is also a known metaphor to describe a teenager who is learning to deal with life's blows (eNotes, "Suckerpunch: Summary"). Another good example of a metaphor can be seen in a comparison made between Mr. Thompson and the size of something small that fits in a purse, like a coin. In the first chapter, Marcus regrets telling Mrs. Thompson he's sorry for her loss and begins comparing Mr. Thompson to other objects that can be lost, as we see in the clause, "As if she'd opened her purse and Mr. Thompson slipped out and fell through the bars of a grate" (p. 4).

It's also important to keep in mind that some literary devices will overlap. Hyperboles can be more difficult to find than other forms of figurative language because they can overlap with similes but will not necessarily always overlap. A hyperbole is an exaggeration, and many exaggerations are often made in the form of similes. An example of a hyperbole that is not also a simile is, "I am so tired I cannot walk another inch" (Literary Devices, "Hyperbole"). Several similes that are also obviously hyperbolic can also be found in the very first chapter. One can be seen in a description of Oliver in which Marcus narrates, "[Oliver] slowly turned toward me, his dilated pupils as large as dimes" (p. 2). This simile serves to describe the abnormal size of Oliver's pupils, but, of course, his pupils cannot also literally be the size of dimes; therefore, this simile is also an exaggeration, or hyperbole. So as you keep searching for hyperboles, keep searching for non-literal, exaggerated language.

Irony is also more difficult to find as there are three types of irony: dramatic irony, situational irony, and verbal irony. Out of all three, verbal irony is most likely to be the easiest to find in the book as it is most likely to be the most common. When using verbal irony, a speaker says something that contrasts with the literal meaning of the words. Simply put, verbal irony is sarcasm. Being a very bitter and modern character, Marcus is very likely to speak with a great deal of sarcasm. One example can be seen towards the end of chapter 1 during his conversation with his brother Enrique. When Marcus returns home from the funeral, he discovers Enrique has punched a hole through the wall. In response to Enrique's reason for punching the wall, Marcus replies, "That's smart" (p. ). Naturally, it isn't literally smart for Enrique or anybody to go around punching walls; therefore, Marcus is speaking in a non-literal way, or sarcastically, making this comment a perfect example of verbal irony. You may also be able to find examples of both dramatic and situational irony later in the novel at the point that Enrique, Marcus, Ashley, and Oliver decide to confront Enrique and Marcus's father and scare their father with a fake gun. Based on the book summary, something goes terribly wrong in that part of the story, especially because Enrique has forgotten to pack his anti-depressant medication. Review again the events that happen in this part of the book. If things happen that the characters were not anticipating but the readers were, then you've found a perfect example of dramatic irony. If things happen that the readers were not expecting at all, then you have found a perfect example of situational irony.

An onomatopoeia should also be fairly easy to find. Onomatopoeia is what we call a word chosen to imitate a real-life sound. Common examples are "cuckoo, meow, honk, or boom" and even "buzz, click, rattle, and grunt" (Random House Dictionary; Dr. Wheeler, "Literary Terms and Definitions: O"). One example of an onomatopoeia can also be found in the very first chapter when Marcus asks Oliver to honk his car horn when Oliver comes to pick Marcus up at his house, as we see in the sentence, "Honk when you get to my house" (p. 5). Though honk is a commonly used term, literally, it has no meaning. It is simply a word we've invented to express a specific sound.

Personification is also fairly easy to find. Personification is when we attribute human characteristics to inanimate objects. A few good examples are "the raging winds," "the wise owl," and "the warm and comforting fire" (Literary Devices(it), "Personification"). So, as you skim through the text, look for words about inanimate objects, then see if any human characteristics are being used to describe those inanimate objects. One example of personification can also be found in the very first chapter. After the funeral, Mrs. Thompson is described as walking toward the black car that would be driven to take her to the cemetery, except the car is specifically described as waiting for her, which cars cannot actually literally do because waiting is a human characteristic, as we see in the sentence, "Then she squeezed Oliver's arm lightly and then headed toward the inky black car that waited to take her to the cemetery" (p. 4).

As you continue to look for more devices, use the art of skimming. No advanced reader needs to read every word to be able to know what one is reading. Just keep skimming over the text, looking for certain words that serve as clues to the devices.

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