What are some examples of figurative language found in Neal Shusterman's Everlost?

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An example of figurative language used in Neal Shusterman's Everlost is verbal irony.

An example can be found in Chapter Three. When Leif mentions that there are only "kids and monsters" in Everlost, he gets an interesting reaction from Nick:

"Monsters!" said Nick. "That's great. That's wonderful. I'm so glad I asked."

Nick's response is an example of verbal irony, where the actual spoken words contradict their real meaning. In reality, Nick isn't at all pleased to discover that there are monsters in Everlost.

In the above example, both Nick and Allie are also being sarcastic. Sarcasm is a type of verbal irony, and it is often used to mock another person.

Another form of figurative language in Everlost is symbolism, where an object represents an abstract idea. The coin is an important symbol in the story. In Chapter 4, Nick pulls a coin out of his pocket. As he flips the coin, he makes the cryptic comment that children in Everlost are like "coins standing on their edge." Allie questions his meaning, but Nick will only say that the coin refers to a matter of "life and death."

In Chapter 7, the children discover that as Greensouls (children who are new to Everlost), they must toss a coin into Mary's well and make a wish. Mary is the caretaker of all Afterlights (dead children who have yet to cross into the afterlife) and the de facto spiritual leader of the Twin Towers community. As the children take an elevator up to the observation level of one of the towers, they notice that the coin-operated binocular machines have been preserved intact in Everlost.

In Chapter 29, Nick's earlier assertion that coins in Everlost represent a matter of "life and death" is proven to be true. As Mary sleeps, Nick keeps watch over her bucket of coins. As he converses with Lief, Nick talks about how the ancient Greeks paid the ferryman to take them across the river of death. 

Eventually, an idea begins to form in Nick's mind, and he tells Lief to enclose one of the coins in the palm of his hand. As Nick suspects, the coin has magical powers. His suspicions are proven to be true when Lief soon becomes engulfed in bright light and disappears. Nick concludes that Lief has crossed over into the afterlife and that Mary has been lying to all the Afterlights. The reality is that each child's coin is a ticket into the afterworld.

So, the coin is an important symbol in the story: it symbolizes hope and the reality of an afterlife.

Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Figurative language occurs anytime an author uses a "figure of speech" to make words more "effective, persuasive and impactful" (Literary Devices, "Figurative Language"). The phrase "figure of speech" refers to any expression that goes beyond the literal meaning of words. To go beyond the literal meanings of words, we draw comparisons with the words to other known concepts in order to create a deeper understanding in the reader's mind by stimulating the reader's senses. There are many different examples of figurative language, and some include alliteration, allusion, hyperbole, metaphors, personification, and similes. We also see a few examples of figurative language in the very first pages of Neal Shusterman's novel Everlost.

The book opens by describing a white Toyota and a black Mercedes crashing "on a hairpin turn." The phrase hairpin turn, or hairpin bend, has developed into an idiom to describe a very tight turn in a road, a turn so tight that it is u-shaped just like a hairpin.

A second example of figurative language can also be found in this very first paragraph, particularly in the phrases "a black Mercedes, for a moment blending into a blur of gray." Alliteration occurs when an author uses words in close proximity that begin with the same consonant sound. In the phrases above, the words "black," "blending," and "blur" all start with the consonant B, so these phrase contain an example of alliteration.

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