Talk:Literary technique

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List of devices misses the point[edit]

The article starts saying that a literary device is used to produce a specific effect on the reader. Then it gives a list of such devices but does not mention what is the specific effect aimed at by said device. This is rather incoherent. The devices should be better described, by giving some idea of their intent. If this cannot be done, then it means the opening paragraph is wrong. PhS 10:57, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Reference to Necronomicon removed from "false document"[edit]

a false document literary device means to pass off the work at hand, as say, a memoir, rather than allude to an imaginary book like the Necronomicon. writers of fiction make mention of nonexistent people. places and books all the time (obviously), but the false document technique has a specific meaning. Lovecraft, however, did employ the false document technique in his writing, i.e. "The Haunter of the Dark" and other writers have tried to make up their own version of Necronimicon. however, I wouldn't want to confuse the issue by stating as the entry did before I changed it, that Lovecraft made up the Necronomicon as a "false document" in his original stories.—Preceding unsigned comment added by ***Ria777 (talkcontribs) 21:07, 7 August 2006

there cooollll

should I add?[edit]

I am going to group several parts which are recognized as figures of speech. I might add another section to accomplish this. Should I???

--Heero Kirashami 01:58, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

I am not sure that figures of speech are exactly relevant to this article. Unfortunately, the article never actually defines what it means by a literary technique, or device (it does not begin by "A literary device is so and so", but by how they may be used...). My impression is that here we are dealing with something of smaller scope than a genre, which embraces the whole of a literary or dramatic work (as pointed out in the article), but greater than single figures of speech or rhetorical devices, which affect more the language of the work than, say, its construction or general tone (and which have at least an article of their own). Goochelaar 08:40, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
I would suggest removing "figures of speech" altogether from the body of this article. Matt Genné 15:40, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

No don't add because you will get it wrong, hope this help's!!!jagex server12

literary devices[edit]

Some examples of literary devices are: link title Dialogue: The words spoken by characters in a book, a film, or a play, or a section of a work that contains spoken words

Pun: A humorous use of words that involves a word or phrases that has more than one possible meaning

Hyperbole: Deliberate and obvious exaggeration used for effect, for example, “I could eat a million of these”

Heterophony: Deliberate and obvious exaggeration used for effect, for example, “I could eat a million of these”

That heading at the top has some good points. The unreliable narrator or flashbacks and such gave birth to the whole mindfuck genre. Anyhow, how specific or comprehensive is this list, eh? I'm sure aphaeresis or catalexis can be used for a purpose, but they don't strike me as the kind of thing anyone would want on the list. You know, it would just balloon in size with all those finnicky little linguistics descriptions being added to it. But they can be used for a purpose. I guess they go under wordplay...

--Wselfwulf 01:21, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Man, what about Allegory, Tragic Flaw, Context, Motif, Allusion, Parallelism, Onomatopoeia, Dramatic foil, Structure (such as climax), or even Anthropomorphism. Those are all great techniques. Are you just waiting for someone to put them in? What about postmodernism, or postmodern usage of any technique? You know like, maybe making a technique obvious then turning it on it's head. I know direct addressal can be seen as postmodernism depending on how it's used. "If on a winter's night a traveller" has characters aware of their own fictional nature don't they, or am I thinking of something else. Quite possibly. And the definition of Irony could be brushed up a little. --Wselfwulf 01:36, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

I do not - the definition of irony defines irony as used in the USA - in other English-speaking countries, irony means something a little different. It does mean that something other than that which was expected has occurred, but what actually occurred is somehow linked to what was expected to occur, often in a humorously sadistic way. For example, it would be ironic if the very comments intended to improve the definition of irony actually resulted in the definition of irony being worsened. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:15, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Pathetic Fallacy[edit]

The description of this term is incorrect, which is proven when you follow the link to Wikipedia's own definition, which is correct. See also M.H. Abrams' A Glossary of Literary Terms for confirmation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:19, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

personification! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:40, 18 August 2009 (UTC)


Hi all. I've made the list of techniques into a table. I realise the "type" column doesn't have any consistent scheme; if someone wants to make it consistent, or split it into multiple columns with different names, go ahead.

It seems that there are a number of things here, including plot devices and literary genres. So I added a section that talks about what a literary technique is not.

The people on the discussion page for Plot device agree that our articles do not make a clear distinction between a plot device and a literary technique. If all the plot devices were moved to that page, it would make things clearer.

-- TimNelson (talk) 04:12, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Tim, the table in the "What literary technique is not" section is completely broken. (talk) 17:55, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

I was about to remove "Plot device" from the table in "What literary technique is not", because it is wrong. However that leaves the table with only one valid entry. So I've taken the step of removing the entire section. It really didn't make sense - it was trying to explain how literary technique was an attribute of style (which I don't think it necessarily is) and say what were other attributes, but it didn't give any. DJ Clayworth (talk) 01:34, 22 January 2010 (UTC)


I was skimming through this table in hopes of finding this word, which I can never remember. Isn't this a literary technique, and shouldn't it be included? The Wiki definition is here. – Kerαunoςcopiagalaxies 00:00, 14 July 2010 (UTC)


Would it not be better to break the list down into sections? One for say poetics, another for plotting, setting, rhetoric, etc. Within each section, list named techniques, give a brief explanation, and link to a specific article for whichever technique which should have room for examples, comparisons and contrasts, along with notable examples of usage. If I'm not badly mistaken, many of the entries in this listing have main articles already so this would save doubling information while making the page more user friendly. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:21, 17 July 2011 (UTC)


Is implication not a Literary technique? --Ne0Freedom 10:09, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Suggested merger to "Tropes"[edit]

I have removed most non-listed content on this page because it is virtually only fluff, Judging by the search of "Literary technique" and it's supposed equivalents on Google Books, suggests that non of these in fact are established terms. Nevertheless, "Trope" seems to be a much more common known synonym. That is in my opinion reason enough for a merger. --Spannerjam (talk) 15:22, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

  • Oppose merger. Many, nay, most identifiable literary techniques are not tropes in any widely used sense of the word. Rather, one might say that the employment of tropes is but one of many classes of literary techniques. ~ Ningauble (talk) 17:15, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
    • Could you please elaborate, perhaps with an example? --Spannerjam (talk) 19:21, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
    • I'm not sure merging with "Tropes" would be helpful. The terms have very different audiences. Tropes includes more expansive and heuristically defined authorial movements, impossible to catalogue to anywhere near exhaustion. Literary techniques and devices--which denote differently as it is--cover a portion of the territory as we commonly use those terms. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:07, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

This definition sucks[edit]

Indiana Jones chasing after some mystical object is a good example. The mere knowledge that a mystical device exists is what makes the plot progress. This is in contrast to the Ring in the LOTR plot. Whether The One Ring to Rule Them All can be considered a mere plot device is debatable because more than the Ring itself is Sauron's initiative to conquer Middle Earth that the character must do the things to progress the plot. In addition to driving the plot along, the Ring ends up representing a sinister symbol of the human greed for power.

This definition sucks,e specialyl the LOTR bit, sounds like some fanboy arguing — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:20, 20 September 2013 (UTC)


Should not MacGuffin be included? Surely it should? (talk) 23:56, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Added under Plot. If anyone can think of a good, concise example to go in the example box please add same. (talk) 00:11, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Frame story[edit]

Another modern example is All Our Yesterdays (Star Trek: The Original Series), although I am not certain whether another example is needed, so I am not adding this myself. — Anita5192 (talk) 03:11, 13 May 2014 (UTC)