What literary device is used in this sentence from 'To Kill a Mockingbird'? "If Mr. Finch don't wear you out, I will - get in that house, sir!"

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malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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I believe this to contain a colloquialism, or an informal phrase from a certain geographic region.  In this case, "wear you out" means a spanking, and was (possibly still is) used commonly in the southern United States.

Check the link below for more information on this literary term, as well as other important terms that will help your study of other literary works.  Good luck!

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sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Great sentence with two literary devices!  This first is regional dialect.  Calpurnia's phrase "wear you out" is a Southern phrase referring to spanking.  Using regional dialect is one way in which Lee brings authenticity to her tale and develops the character of the town.  Notice also the use of the incorrect verb form "don't" in place of "doesn't".  Also a regional form.

The other device is a euphemism.  The term 'wear you out' is a ever slightly more gentle way of saying "If Mr. Finch don't spank you".

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lilpunch23's profile pic

lilpunch23 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Tone

 

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