Literary Devices Used In The Whirligig Of Life By O Henry

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Red Grief People use literary devices in their speech every day. However, few people know what they’re called. In his short story “The Whirligig of Life” O Henry demonstrates five common examples of literary devices. The first example of figurative language is in the very beginning of the excerpt, “The Ransom of Red Chief”. O Henry ironically uses the simile “as flat as a flannel cake” to describe the town of Summit. The irony is that the flat town of Summit doesn’t contain a single summit. The author presents many similes in his writing. More examples are, “When the kid found out we were going to leave him at home, he started up a howl like a calliope and fastened himself as tight as a leech to Bill’s leg. And, his father peeled him away …show more content…
O Henry uses metaphors to describe a young boy’s skin with its “bas-relief freckles” and compared the color of his hair to a magazine cover. Both of these descriptions compare the multidimensional qualities of the boy’s skin and hair. His example is connotative because his description is less obvious and he provides few precise details to help the readers understand exactly what he means. Another example of metaphor is when O Henry compares a young boy as a “forty-pound chunk of freckled wildcat.” The two underlined passages are denotative because the author makes his points clearly and concisely. The author presents a third literary device in excerpt three. Personification is used when the author mentions “the mouth of the cave” while explaining the setting. The cave in which they hid was given a human like characteristic by O Henry when he referred to the opening of the cave as a mouth.
In number four the author presents an example of paradox. When a man yells it is expected to contain conviction with a stern tone. Men often howl or shout. But in this excerpt, the man’s vocalizations were “simply indecent, terrifying, humiliating screams.” In this case Bill screamed unexpectedly like a frightened little girl. This example of paradox is denotative because the author makes it obvious that this man’s yelling was unmanly by explaining how most men yell or howl and refers to how Bill actually acted in a feminine
…show more content…
Graft actually means to gain money by a particular action, and so in this context it’s appropriate. However, a reader might also guess by the way graft was used in the sentence that it means vice, or an addictive habit, which seems to give a secondary meaning. The bold phrase “supernatural torture” in the sixth excerpt is an example of the literary device known as a hyperbole. The author uses this phrase to exaggerate Bill’s childhood experiences, which demonstrates his opinion in selling the boy for ransom. The author uses hyperbole again towards the end of the final excerpt. “In ten minutes I shall cross the Central, Southern and Middle Western States, and be legging it trippingly for the Canadian border.” This quote demonstrates a hyperbole because to walk from the middle of the country to Canada in ten minutes is an immense exaggeration. “The Whirligig of life” by O Henry exhibits many great figures of speech and uses all five common literary devices skillfully and complexly. For this reason, some of O Henry’s ideas may take more reading between the lines to truly

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