What literary devices or style did Nick Hornby use in High Fidelity to exaggerate selfishness in Rob's behavior?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that one of the strongest literary devices that Hornby uses is the fluid nature of Rob's character.  Rob is not shown to be static.  In fact, he is quite the opposite.  Hornby wants to bring out the emotional frailty that resides underneath an exterior of musical elitism and the idea that great art and great artists must suffer.  He shows Rob to be a character who recognizes his faults in the darkest recesses of his being, yet one who would never admit them for fear of being hurt.  It is this idea of needing to take risks and needing to embrace the fear and insecurity that is the basis of not only all great art but living and being in the world that makes Rob such an interesting character. However, the process to reach this point is a volatile one and an element that brings out Rob's selfishness in his attempt to make peace with his own sense of identity.  Hornby is able to bring this out through his fluid characterization of Rob.  At one moment, Rob's sensitive nature is what makes his admirable to the reader.  Yet, at the very next moment, when confused and frustrated, Rob's venom is what repulses.  This emotional selfishness and indulgences is what Hornby brings out in Rob.  In showing Rob in this manner, with both elements valid expressions of his state of being in the world, Rob is shown to be someone struggling to find himself.  Like all pursuits in this manner, it is a self indulgent and narcissistic one, but one that Hornby argues is an essential one to find happiness and some sense of peace in a world that lacks both elements.