What language devices does Harper Lee use in this quote from To Kill a Mockingbird? 'Every town the size of Maycomb had families like the Ewells. No economic fluctuations changed their status,...

What language devices does Harper Lee use in this quote from To Kill a Mockingbird

'Every town the size of Maycomb had families like the Ewells. No economic fluctuations changed their status, people like the Ewells lived as guests of the county in prosperity'

From the book 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. 

Asked on by carajean1

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There are several things going on in this quote. First of all we have a generalization, then a metaphor. 

Generalization:

Every town the size of Maycomb had families like the Ewells. (ch 17)

The fact that every town the size of Maycomb has a family like the Ewells is a generalization.  Lee is establishing the Ewells as belonging to a group, or a subset of the population.  They are different, but not necessarily unique.

As your quote continues, we also see an example of a metaphor, which is an indirect comparison saying something is something else.

Metaphor:

 people like the Ewells lived as guests of the county in prosperity. (ch 17)

This is a metaphor because the Ewells are not really guests.  You can also consider this a euphemism, where nicer sounding words are used.  The words “guests of the county” sounds better than “welfare recipients,” which is the literal meaning.

Sources:
jcooper20's profile pic

jcooper20 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Foreshadowing - there are hints of things to come in relation to the Ewells. Hyperbole - a figure of speech involving exaggeration - the Ewells lived as guests of the county in prosperity - they were dirt poor.

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