What literary devices does Laura E. Richards use in "The Shed Chamber"?

Literary devices that Laura E. Richards uses in "The Shed Chamber" include apostrophe, first-person narration, imagery, simile, characterization, dialogue, and foreshadowing.

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Apostrophe is a literary device, used most often in poetry, in which a speaker addresses an absent person or object. Though it is unusual for the short story genre, Richards uses it in "The Shed Chamber": the speaker, Nora, addresses her story to unnamed "girls" and to a specific girl named Lottie. We are never sure who they are or why Nora is telling them this tale, except that it is morally uplifting.

The story is told from a first-person point of view in a conversational style. Richards uses a good deal of imagery, which is description using any of the five senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, or smell. For example, she describes having to scrape mold off the bread and the ham and specifies that she made biscuits and a ham omelet for dinner when she first arrives at the job. Imagery also helps with characterization. For example, we become suspicious of the former helper, Annie, when she arrives "showily dressed."

The story is told with dialogue interspersed, such as when Nora sends Barbara upstairs with toast and butter for the invalid Mrs. Bowles, and Barbara returns to say,

And now she's eating the toast. She said how did you know, and she cried, but now she's all right. Father 'most cried, too, I think.

This helps us feel a part of the scene, as if we are eavesdropping on the conversation.

Richards employs foreshadowing when she notes that Mr. Bowles is going away and that the windows of shed chamber don't lock. Nora then states, "If I had only known!" This statement lets us know that something dramatic is going to happen.

Richards uses simile to help aid her description. For instance, she writes that

a slender line of light lay across the blackness like a long finger

and that

the trunks looked like great animals crouching along the walls.

Ultimately, this is a sweet, sincere, and sentimental story with a happy ending that is told using simple language that the average person can easily understand.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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