What are some of the literary devices used by Yann Martel in The Life of Pi?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Clearly, any good work of literature is going to employ a number of literary devices, and so it is important for us as active readers to be familiar with the definition of literary devices so we are able to identify them and analyse them when we come across them in our reading.

Note Pi's description of his biology teacher in Chapter 7:

His construction was gemoetric: he looked like two triangles, a small one and a larger one, balanced on two parallel lines... His smile seemed to take up the whole base of his triangular head.

This quote features both a simile and a metaphor, as Pi compares Mr. Satish Kumar to two triangles and then, with an implied metaphor, again reinforces this comparison by talking about his teacher's "triangular head."

Also, consider the way in which the sunset is described in the following quote:

The sun was beginning to pull the curtains on the day.

Note the way that the sun is being personified through this metaphor, as it is given human qualities and actions as it is compared to a person closing the curtains at night time. Describing the sunset in these terms is also a metaphor.

Hopefully these examples will enable you to go back to the novel and try and find some literary devices yourself. Good luck!

thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hyperbole: The literary device that is used to exaggerate events in a story in order to add to the drama. For instance,

'It's a joke in the zoo business, a weary joke, that the paperwork involved in trading a shrew weighs more than an elephant, that the paperwork involved in trading an elephant weighs more than a whale, and that you must never try to trade a whale, never.'

This example is employed by the author to show the difficult task involved in selling wild animals by exaggerating the amount of paperwork required.

Simile: This literary device is used to compare items or situations that are not similar in order to draw emphasis to the object or situation being described. For instance, Richard Parker's claws are described as being "as sharp as knives."

Metaphor: The author also uses metaphors to emphasize certain events. For instance, when Pi is questioned about his practice of different religions, he states that his smile froze into a mask of horror. In this instance, the author tries to describe how uncomfortable the topic was for Pi.

Foreshadowing: Early in the story, Pi's father demonstrates to him how dangerous a tiger is in a controlled environment. Later, Pi finds himself stuck with a tiger on the lifeboat.

sydneypink2000 | Student

What chapter was the last literary term from??