Thursday, July 7, 2011

LITERARY BLOG HOP-7/7-7-10: Literary Devices

It's time for the Literary Blog Hop, hosted by The Blue Bookcase. I've missed the last few and have been trying to get back to it. For those interested, here are the rules:

This blog hop is open to blogs that primarily feature book reviews of literary fiction, classic literature, and general literary discussion.

How do I know if my blog qualifies as "literary"? Literature has many definitions, but for our purposes your blog qualifies as "literary" if it focuses primarily on texts with aesthetic merit. In other words, texts that show quality not only in narrative but also in the effect of their language and structure. YA literature may fit into this category, but if your blog focuses primarily on non-literary YA, fantasy, romance, paranormal romance, or chick lit, you may prefer to join the blog hop at Crazy-for-books that is open to book blogs of all kinds.

Instructions for entering the Literary Blog Hop:

1. Grab the code for the Button.

Literary Blog Hop

2. Answer the question:

What is one of your favorite literary devices? Why do you like it? Provide a definition and an awesome example.

I had an idea for what I thought I would answer, but after looking up a handy reference of "literary devices," I’m not sure my answer would count. So, I’ll go first of all with bildungsroman, or a coming-of-age story. The protagonist shows personal growth (moral, spiritual and/or psychological growth) throughout the timeline of the story.

Generally speaking, this is something we look for in most good literature, isn’t it? We want our main characters to grow? I guess in some of the heavily plot-driven stories the main point is to get the characters from point A to point B action-wise, but for me, if the character isn’t changed by what he has gone through, there isn’t much point to all the hullabaloo.

One example of bildungsroman that comes to mind simply because it’s a book I read recently (and because the writing doesn’t get much better) is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Over the course of the book, Scout loses her innocence and gains an understanding of the prejudices of her small town. But her own moral position also solidifies.

Now that I’ve answered that, I’ll just mention the literary device/gimmick that is actually nearest and dearest to my heart. I’m a sucker for epistolary novels. (Included in that can be diaries, letters written to oneself.) I think that to successfully tell a story – and make it riveting – make the characters come alive – but do it in a letter format, has got to be a difficult feat for an author. One obvious example of someone who achieved this was Anne Frank.

Another favorite of mine, read back in college was Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos, the story of two French aristocrats who challenge each other to greater and greater feats of immorality, and boast to each other in their letters. (Eventually they get their comeuppance.) I plan to reread it for the Back-to-the-Classics challenge and see if I enjoy it as much the second time around.


  1. I like bildungsroman too. I wouldn't have seen it as a literary device though (nor my own answer, metafiction, by the way), but more as a type of narrative. I'm getting confused now with all these interesting answers!!!

  2. I know. The definition of literary device seems to depend on which set of definitions you use. I like seeing other more specific answers though. Lots of food for thought.

  3. It's always the case with liteary theory, isn't it?
    Funnily enough, this topic might have helped me to resolve a problem I had with something I stated in my dissertation, so I'm glad it came up...

  4. I love both your answers. I think bildungsroman was one of the first words I learned in German, and I just loved the serious sound of it. I also think that there aren't enough contemporary epistolary novels.

  5. I love epistolary novels as well. I remember reading Les Liasons Dangereuses sometime back in high school but don't remember much specific about it... Maybe I should do a reread, too!

  6. Bildungsroman is a great word. I read a post a while back about fantasy and bildungsroman, very interesting. TKAM is probably the best example though, and Scout is a fantastic character.

    This week's hop is proving to be very informative, I love it :D

  7. Yay for the bildungsroman! It's definitely something we can all relate too.

  8. Bildungsroman? Not once here at the Literary Blog Hop, but twice. And I've only visited a half dozen blogs! I've never ever heard of this word before today. I'm feeling like I might be a little outside my comfort zone....

    Here's my attempt to pick my favorite literary device. Also, I'd like to invite you to throw your name into the hat for a $25 Amazon gift certificate in Readerbuzz's July Giveaway!It's international!

  9. Great choices!!

    Bildungsroman: my favorite is Little Women (so far.) :-)

    As for the epistolary novels: I'm going to read Austen's Lady Susan soon, as well as Samuel Richardson's Clarissa. I'm hoping to become a fan of the epistolary novel. :-)

  10. another good call, & also liking the secondary debate on literary theory.

  11. I don't know if I particularly care of Bildungroman. I know when I was younger I didn't. I wonder how I would react to reading one now.

    Epistolary novels? I read that one in another blog too. While it isn't particularly a favourite, I do enjoy a few. "Daddy Long Legs" and "Dracula" come to mind that also are among my favs.:D