Rhetorical Devices in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

“He’s nothing but a ******-lover.” (83) ad hominem argument (Attacks the opposing speaker or another person rather than addressing the issues at hand.)
“An’ they chased him ‘n’ never could catch him ’cause they didn’t know what he looked like, an’ Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things… Atticus he was real nice…” (281) allegory(Fictional work in which the characters represent ideas or concepts.)
“…Jem got his arm badly broken…” (3)”…grass grew on the sidewalk, the courthouse sagged in the square.” (5)”smoking string” (116) alliteration(The repetition of consonant sounds, usually at the beginning of words.)
“Lydia E. Pinkham” (131)”Mr. Robert E. Lee Ewell” (169)”If General Jackson hadn’t run the Creeks up the creek…” (3) allusion(A reference, usually oblique or faint, to another thing, idea, or person.)
“THIS is the last straw.” (?)”Who is ‘he’?” (241)”‘I mighta,’ conceded Mayella.” (184) ambiguity(Uncertain or indefinite; subject to more than one interpretation.)
“…summer was Dill by the fish pool…” (116)”Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved reading. One doesn’t love breathing.” (?) analogy(The correspondence or resemblance between two things that are essentially different.)
“…Atticus Finch was the deadest shot in Maycomb…didn’t you know his nickname was Ol’ One Shot when he was a boy. Why, down at the landing, when he was coming up, if he shot 15 times and hit 14 doves, he complained about wasting ammunition.” (98)Dill says that he escaped after being “bound in chains and left to die in the basement by his new father”. anecdote(A short story used to illustrate a point the author is making.)
“One of them stopped from the crowd. It was Zeebo, the garbage collector.” (?)”It was customary for the men in the family to remain on Simon’s homestead, Finch’s Landing…” (?) appositive(A word or phrase that follow a noun or pronoun for emphasis or clarity.)
“As fast as…” (151) assonance(A type of internal rhyming in which vowel souds are repeated.)
“…a Drinking Streak, a Gambling Streak, a Mean Streak, a Funny Streak…” (129)”…that all negroes lie, that all negroes are immoral, that all negroes are not to be trusted…” (204) asyndeton(When the conjunctions that would normally connect a string of words, phrases, or clauses are omitted from a sentence.)
“…a Lane cake so loaded with SHINNY it made me tight.” (129)”Aw, that’s a damn story.” (78) colloquialism(Slang or common language that is informal.)
“Mayella Ewell was beaten savagely by someone who led almost exclusively with his left hand. Tom Robinson sits before you having taken the oath with the only good had he possesses- his right.” (204) contrast(Oppositions.)
“He seemed to be a respectable negro and a respectable negro would never go up into somebody’s yard of his own volition.” (257) deductive argument(The process of moving from a general rule to a specific example.)
“No matter what anybody says to you, don’t let them get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change…” (76)”But remember, no matter how bitter things get, they’re till our friends…” (76) didactic(Writing which has the purpose of teaching or instructing.)
Jem said Mr. Radley bought cotton for a living because it seemed he did nothing. (15)”…carnal knowledge of a female without consent and by force.” (?)”…Auntie and Uncle Jimmy produced a son…” (90) euphemism(A mild or pleasant sounding expression that substitutes for a harsh, indelicate, or simply less pleasant idea.)
“On the day he carried the watch, Jem walked on eggs.” (67) figurative language(All uses of language that imply an imaginative comparison.)
“There’s nothing to worry about.” (Said Atticus to Heck Tate the night of the lynch mob.) “When he was nearly 13, my brother Jem got is arm badly broken at the elbow.” (3)Mr. Bob Ewell told Atticus he’d get him if it took the rest of his life. (217) foreshadowing(A purposeful hint placed in a work of literature to suggest what may occur later in the narrative.)
“…started off the wrong foot in every way…” (28)”Atticus, the world is coming to an end, please do something.””There was no hurry then, for there was nowhere to go…” (5)”I have nothing but pity in my heart for the chief witness of state…” (203) hyperbole(A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used to achieve emphasis.)
“Rain rotted, shingle dripped over the eaves of the veranda… The remains of a picket fence drunkenly guarded the front yard…” (10)”The feeling grew until the atmosphere in the courtroom was exactly the same as a cold February morning.” (210)”The Radley place jutted into a sharp curve beyond our house. Walking south, one faced its porch; the sidewalk turned and rand beside the lot.” (8) imagery(A mental picture that is conjured by specific words and associations.)
Atticus says it is wrong to believe that all negroes lie, therefore Tom is lying. inductive argument(Creating a case by providing specific examples and drawing a conclusion based on the evidence they provide.)
“It’s time you start being a girl and acting right.” (Jem said to Scout.) (115)”You tell him [your father] I’ll take over [teaching your to read] from here and try to undo the damage.” (17) irony(When a situation produces and outcome that is the opposite of what is expected.)
“His curtness stung me.” (134)”My stomach turned to water…” (96)”Maycomb was a tired old town…” (5) metaphor(A figure of speech in which two unlike things are compared directly.)
“We only reached that shore by faith’s decree.” (121) metonymy(A figure of speech in which something is referred to by using the name of something that is associated with it.)
“Shh… hush…” (202) onomatopoeia(An effect created by words that have sounds that reinforce their meaning.)
“The warm, bittersweet smell…” oxymoron(Two contradictory words in one expression.)
“Matches were dangerous, but cards were fatal.” (205) paradox(A seeming contradiction that in fact reveals some truth.)
“Scout, go home. Dill, you and Jem, go home.” (173) parallelism(A literary technique that relies on the use of the same syntactical structures.)
“Mr. Avery’s sort of shaped like a snowman, ain’t he?” (67)”Ain’t a caricature,” said Jem. “It [the snowman] looks just like Mr. Avery.” (90)”Jem naturally was Boo: he want from under the steps and shrieked and howled from time to time.” (39) parody(An effort to ridicule or make fun of a literary work or an author by writing a comic imitation of the work.)
“…we can’t ever read anymore, ever. Please don’t send me back, please sir!” (89) pathos(A sympathetic feeling of pity or compassion evoked by an artistic work.)
“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” periodic sentence(Presents the main clause at the end of the sentence, for emphasis.)
“Maycomb was a tired old town…” (5)”…your stomach’s growling…” (134) personification(A figure of speech in which ideas or objects are described as having human qualities or personalities.
“This case is as simple as black and white.” (203) pun(A play on words.)
“In the name of God, do your duty. In the name of God…” (205)”Summer was on the way… Summer was our best season.” (34)”I say guilt, gentlemen, because it was guilt that motivated her.” (203) repetition(The reiteration of a word or phrase for emphasis.)
“D you really think so?” (146)”You do?” (176) rhetorical question(A question that is asked for the sake of argument.)
“The tree is as heavy as you are, Jem.” (84)”Popped me like a cork on pavement.” (37)”Jem waved my words away as if fanning gnats.” (58)”The second grade was as bad as the first.” (57)”He was as good as his word.” (52) simile(A commonly used figure of speech that compares one thing with another using the words “like” or “as”.)
“Like a fog on a riverbank.””Jem, Maudie’s house looks like a pumpkin.” (93)”Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy.” (90)”It’s a sin to kill a MOCKINGBIRD.” (50) symbol(Something that stands for something else.)
“Don’t be foolish, Heck. This is Maycomb.” (145)Atticus was proceeding amiably, as if he were involved in a title dispute. (169) understatement(When an author assigns less significance to an event or thing than it deserves.

You Might Also Like