What are some rhetorical devices used in The Story of My Life, by Helen Keller?
The opening sentences of any written work are among its most important. It is in those sentences that an author has a crucial opportunity to create interest, arouse curiosity, set a tone, and begin to display his or her talent as a writer. The opening sentences of Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life are important in all these ways. In these sentences, Keller uses a number of literary and rhetorical devices, including the following:
- Foreshadowing, as in the way the opening sentence creates suspense by mentioning Keller’s fear of describing her life:
It is with a kind of fear that I begin to write the history of my life.
- Metaphors, as in the reference to “lifting the veil” in the opening paragraph.
- Similes, as in the phrase “like a golden mist” in the opening paragraph.
- Alliteration, or the repetition of similar-sounding consonant sounds, as in the reference to “fact and fancy” in the opening paragraph.
- Balanced or parallel phrasing, as in the just-cited reference to “fact and fancy.”
- Attention to rhythm, as in the phrase “superstitious hesitation,” in which each word has the same number of syllables and the same pattern of accented and unaccented syllables.