What stylistic devices does George Orwell use in his essays "Marrakesh" and "Revenge is Sour"?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Stylistic devices are elements writers use to both create and enhance meaning. Stylistic devices can also be called rhetorical devices or figures of speech ("Stylistic Devices (Rhetorical Devices, Figures of Speech").

We definitely see quite a number of stylistic devices in even the very first paragraph of George Orwell's essay "Marrakech." One stylistic device he employs is anthropomorphism, which is a form of personification. Personification is used when writers attribute human characteristics to inanimate objects or abstract concepts; using anthropomorphism, writers specifically attribute human characteristics to animals. Orwell uses anthropomorphism in the sentence, "What really appeals to the flies is that the corpses here are never put into coffins." Since we don't normally literally refer to flies as having any preferences, we can see this is a perfect example of anthropomorphism.

A second stylistic device we see in this very first paragraph is the use of parallelism, specifically tricolon parallelism. Parallelism happens when writers "create similar patterns of grammatical structure and length" (Dr. Wheeler, "Schemes"). Tricolon parallelism contains three parallel structures. Dr. Wheeler gives us the following example of tricolon parallelism: "That government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth" ("Schemes"). Orwell creates tricolon parallelism in the following sentence fragment found in the very first paragraph: "No gravestone, no name, no identifying mark of any kind." The repetition of the word "no" creates parallelism in three different grammatical phrases, showing us this is a perfect example of tricolon parallelism. His repetition of the word "no" also underscores the differences in culture due to poverty.

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