What literary devices are used in Chapter 1 of The Grapes of Wrath?

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Steinbeck uses a whole raft of specific sensory details in this opening chapter to create a visceral image of the effects of the drought. Outside of the use of such specific, sense-oriented language, Steinbeck also uses personification and comparison. 

In particular, Steinbeck uses comparisons to create precise images as when he writes: 

"Now the dust was evenly mixed with the air; an emulsion of dust and air." 

In this description, the term emulsion connotes a comparison between the sky and a liquid mixture and conjures ideas of saturation, suspension, and chemical infusion. The purpose here, again, is to create a specific image that dramatizes the physical setting of the novel. 

For the most part, the language hews to the literal and the sensory

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