The Things They Carried

Topics: Irony, Rhetorical techniques, Rhetorical question Pages: 4 (1092 words) Published: June 20, 2013
Hyperbole
I’m as hungry as a starving lion.
Hyperbole is a synonym for exaggeration. Clearly, the speaker is not really as hungry as a starving lion. A hyperbole is just a figure of speech we use to emphasize a point. The opposite device is understatement: I’m a little tired is a purposeful understatement if the speaker has been up for 48 hours. Repetition

Duty does not trump honesty. Duty does not trump common sense. And duty, my friends, does not trump morality. Repetition is the conscious and purposeful replication of words or phrases in order to make a point. In this example, it’s clear that the limits of duty are being sketched out. The speaker is trying to show that duty is not the only or even the most important virtue. Imagery and Figurative Language

Simile
Her eyes were like stars.
Her eyes are literally human eyes. Figuratively, they are being compared to stars, meaning, most likely, that they are bright and shiny and cause wonderment. This is an example of a simile. Similes use like and as to make explicit comparisons between unlike things, such as eyes and stars. Metaphor

Her eyes were pools of liquid light.
Again, her eyes are literally human eyes. Figuratively, they are being compared to pools of liquid light. However, the comparison is implied, not stated. This is an example of a metaphor. Unlike similes, metaphors compare unlike things without explicitly stating the comparison with “like” or “as.” Personification

Her eyes followed me up the stairs.
Can eyes follow someone up the stairs? Not literally, but in this case an eye—which is not a person—is given a person’s abilities, namely, following someone else up the stairs. This is an example of personification. Symbolism

Her eyes looked but did not see. All was dark.
Literally speaking, eyes either see (healthy eyes) or they don’t see (blind eyes). An eye that looks but does not see is blind in a figurative sense. Very often, vision and light are symbols for understanding and...
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