Exploring Literary Devices

Metaphor, simile, alliteration, symbolism, personification, these literary devices and techniques can be found in both poetry and prose, and in both fiction and nonfiction. The function of figurative language is to help the reader experience the emotion and see the imagery the writer intends. They help the reader understand what the writer meant to express. The words do not convey literal meanings, but make connections between concepts. Today, let’s look at a few literary devices.

  1. Imagery- language that evokes sense impressions through descriptions

  2. Symbolism- an object or element that represents another concept

  3. Personification- giving human qualities, characteristics, or actions to an object or animal

  4. Alliteration- repeating the same initial sounds in a sequence of words

  5. Metaphor- a direct comparison of two different things

  6. Simile- a comparison of two things using “like” or “as”

Now let’s look at some examples of each.

  1. Imagery- The blue sky deepened, darker around the edges of the conifers that lined the horizon with stick-straight spines. Their evergreen needles were so dark they looked black in the distance. And closer to me, in the halo of a streetlamp, the skeleton of a tree laced in white light, stretching itself into the night.

  2. Symbolism- She held her pen loftily. The ink held the perfect combination of words and letters to unleash her thoughts upon the page. She twirled the magnificence between her fingers, contemplating its powers. Here the pen represents the power of language to express ourselves.

  3. Personification- Her purse yawned its mouth open to swallow her wallet. A purse doesn’t have a mouth, nor can it yawn or swallow.

  4. Alliteration- The darkness deepened, drowning in dire despair

  5. Metaphor- The tree was a skeleton laced in white light

  6. Simile- She yawned like a cat, stretching luxuriously with lidded eyes

Now these are by all means not the only literary devices. You can add depth to your writing by employing these devices, so begin to study how you can apply these to your writing today. What is your favorite literary device? Share below and happy writing.


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