From A Christmas Carol, what literary devices are in this quote?This is the quote: "External heat and cold had little effect on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind...

From A Christmas Carol, what literary devices are in this quote?

This is the quote: "External heat and cold had little effect on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty"

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This passage is from the exposition of A Christmas Carol as direct characterization is utilized by author Charles Dickens.  In the paragraph that precedes the quoted one, Dickens narrates that Scrooge is

...a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!

Then, to underscore how avaricious and insensitive to others Scrooge is, Dickens writes the passage that is quoted. Emphasis is placed on these lines by using parallelism; that is, the repetition of the structure of the first clause as in

No warmth could warm...

No wind that blew was bitterer

Then, there is personification in the next line as "Foul weather" is credited with the human capability of cognition:  "Foul weather didn't know ...."  Additionally, other elements are personified as they "could boast of the advantage over him...."  After this sentence there is metaphoric language: 

They often 'came down' handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

"Came down" is a metaphor for raining and sleeting, snowing, etc., while for Scrooge it figuratively means relenting.

Sources:
andrewnightingale's profile pic

andrewnightingale | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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External heat and cold had little effect on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty.

In the first line, Dickens uses contrast, in which he juxtaposes the two extreme elements -- heat and cold -- to emphasize the depth of Scrooge's lack of empathy. It suggests that Scrooge had become so hardened that no external force could move him. The description is quite harsh and verges on hyperbole (exaggeration) to stress how little Scrooge cared.

This exaggeration is extended into the next sentence and is further enhanced by the use of anaphora and repetition. The repeated use of the negative at the beginning of each sentence accentuates the depth of Scrooge's uncaring attitude. The parallelism -- repetition of similarly structured phrases -- also adds to the emphasis.

In addition, personification adds to the effect. Dickens ascribes human qualities to the wind, snow and rain to indicate how resolute Scrooge was. None of these natural occurrences, even at their harshest, could change him. He would not yield to any sentiment and would be steadfast in his refusal to give in to any appeal for generosity or kindness.

Furthermore, attributing human qualities to the elements creates an effective contrast to Scrooge's determination since the elements, at their worst, were unable to affect him and, if this were so, the implication is that no human would stand a chance of swaying him. In fact, Scrooge would only eventually relent to the incessant requests of a supernatural being in the form of an erstwhile friend and partner.

The paragraph indicates clearly how far gone Scrooge was, and it is this which inspires the wandering and tormented spirit of his erstwhile friend, Jacob Marley, to visit him and encourage him to change so the same terrible fate might not befall his soul. In the end, Scrooge changes and ensures his redemption.

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