Literary Devices that Start with N

The authors have utilized the literary devices that start with N. These nifty techniques are used to bring their stories to life. In this very article, we’ll be explore the myriad of creative choices that begin with the letter N.

1- Narrative Poem

A narrative poem tells a story through verse. Unlike traditional epic poems, the narrative poems often focus on smaller tales and do not necessarily follow heroic figures. It is a form of poetry that tells a story often with a clear and sequential plot, characters and a narrative structure. This type of poetry may focus more on emotion, imagery or musicality. The narrative poem places a strong emphasis on the development of a story.

Examples in literature

“The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer

“Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour.”

In the stanza, Chaucer employs the narrative poem form to introduce the framework of the Canterbury Tales. This work of Chaucer is collection of stories told by a group of pilgrims traveling to Canterbury. Chaucer sets the scene for the entire collection establishing the time of year, the characters and the overall tone of the work.

“The Rape of the Lock” by Alexander Pope

“From busy courts, from sloops that ride
The tw varags stream, and halls where bold
Night-thaws the lively tread of mirth.”

Pope utilizes the narrative poem form to describe a social gathering filled with life and merriment. He uses vivid imagery and figurative language to create a lively atmosphere, which immerse the reader in the world of the poem.

2- Narrator

The narrator is the person telling the story. The narrator may be a character in the story who refers to themselves as “I”, or it may be an unnamed external voice. The narrator is a vital aspect of literary works influencing the perspective, tone and interpretation of the story. The choice of narrator affects the understanding of the reader of the story and the characters contributing to the overall narrative style and tone. Authors carefully select the narrator to achieve specific effects and engage readers in different ways

Examples in literature

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Austen utilizes the omniscient narrator to introduce the main theme of the novel. The writer uses a sarcastic and ironic tone to comment on the absurdity and hypocrisy of the society in which her characters live. The narrator’s insight into the thoughts and motivations of the characters allows the reader to gain a deeper understanding of the novel’s themes and message.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Lee uses the third person narrator to provide insight into the moral principle underlying the novel. He put forth the idea of standing up for what is right even in the face of opposition. The writer has used the voice of an all-knowing narrator. He emphasizes the importance of empathy, compassion and justice in a small Alabama town in the 1930s. The narrator’s use of dialect and colloquial language creates a strong sense of place and culture immersing the reader in the world of the novel.

3- Naturalism

Naturalism was a late 19th century literary movement aiming to portray realistic, natural views of the world. Naturalist authors aimed to represent human lives and desires objectively. It is not a literary device in itself but rather a broader approach to depict the reality in literature. This literary technique emphasizes the deterministic forces and influences that shape human lives often portraying characters as being subject to larger and uncontrollable natural or societal forces.

Examples in literature

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Gatsby was bound to love her, and lost as he was, he had struggled with this final belief, too. It was glowing like a green light on his door at the end of Daisy’s dock.”

The writer employs naturalism to portray the corrupting influence of wealth and societal expectations on the characters. He while using the convincing and detailed descriptions of the settings and characters, create a sense of realism emphasizing the idea that human beings are shaped by their environment and social circumstances. The green light on Gatsby’s dock symbolizes the elusive nature of the American Dream and the futility of pursuing it.

“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain

“He had an tolerable sitkie, and he give it to me, and I judged it was a ghost, and I was a-fраid, and I run.”

In the above context, Twain has used naturalism to portray the harsh realities of life on the Mississippi River during the antebellum era. He uses the detailed descriptions of the setting and characters, which creates a sense of realism. It creates emphasize regarding the idea that human beings are shaped by their environment and societal expectations. The use of dialect and colloquial language creates a strong sense of place and culture immersing the reader in the world of the novel.

4- Nemesis

A nemesis is an enemy or someone seeking retribution. The nemesis is often an agent of the protagonist’s downfall. It is not a literary device in itself but rather a broader approach to depict the reality in literature.

Example in literature

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde

“The cruelest of all arts is that of portrait painting, for there is no especial quality which can be seized upon as a correction. The mirror lies to mankind, but the portrait speaks the truth.”

In the above passage, the concept of nemesis has been portrayed to convey that every action and decision has consequences even if they are not immediately apparent. He has used the vivid imagery and metaphorical language. The writer creates a sense of foreboding and danger emphasizing the idea that the portrait of Dorian Gray serves as a symbol of his inner turmoil and moral decay.

“The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

“I’m glad I’m not crazy like my brother. he tried to kill himself last year. They say he’s in a special hospital now, but I don’t know if that’s true.”

Salinger uses the concept of nemesis to portray the idea that the protagonist i.e. Holden Caulfield is struggling with his own inner demons. The use of first person narration and colloquial language creates a strong sense of intimacy and immediacy, which stresses the idea that Holden’s experiences and emotions are deeply personal and relatable.

5- Neologism

A neologism is a newly coined word or phrase. Authors often create neologisms to describe new concepts, objects, or views of the world.

Examples in literature

“Bright Battle Lights” by Wallace Stevens

“The stars are bright in the bright bat
Of the bright night,
And the lights of the town
Are bright and gay.”

Here, the neologism ‘Bright Battle Lights’ describes the stars and town lights that shine brightly in the night sky. He uses the vivid imagery and clever wordplay. Stevens creates a sense of wonder and marvel emphasizing the idea that the natural world is full of unexpected beauty and magic.

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams

“Amindoffnuff is an infinitely large and instantly accessible interdimensional access point, technically classified as a nexus of nuspecific containers, but informally known as a bottomless pit of blinkering bloody confusion.”

Adams employs the neologism ‘amindoffnuff’ to describe a complex and unpredictable interdimensional access point. He uses absurd and fantastical language to create a sense of humor and wonder. He stresses on the idea that the universe is full of strange and wonderful things that are beyond human understanding.

6- Non Sequitur

A non sequitur is a conclusion or reply that does not logically follow from what preceded it. Non sequiturs are often used in absurdist literature for humorous effect.

Examples in literature

“The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.'”

The writer has used non sequitur to abruptly shift the conversation away from the protagonist’s childhood and towards the reader’s curiosity. He has used an ellipsis and a change in tone. Salinger creates a sense of disorientation and confusion emphasizing the idea that the protagonist is not always forthcoming with his thoughts and feelings.

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I am thedensity of onebank that creates the pace of others.’ He was a man who, knew little about his own death and even less about mine.”

Here, the use of non sequitur is to connect two seemingly unrelated ideas, i.e. the density of a bank and the death of a character. The writer uses a metaphor and a abrupt change in the subject matter. He creates a sense of confusion and unease to convey the idea that life is full of unexpected events and connections.

7- Nostalgia

Nostalgia refers to sentimental longing for the past. Literary works may use nostalgia to evoke wistful memories of bygone days. Examples include F. Scott Fitzgerald’s evocations of the Jazz Age in The Great Gatsby and the depiction of antebellum plantation life in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind (1936).

Example in literature

“Franny and Zooey” by J.D. Salinger

“I don’t want to be alone. That’s what’s wrong. I don’t want to be alone,’ he cried out loud, almost reaching some poor innocent’s ears, and he knew it was no sense crying out loud, because even if he did happen to cry out loud he would still be alone.”

In the aforesaid passage, the literary technique ‘nostalgia’ has been employed to reflect the protagonist’s feelings of loneliness and isolation. The use of vivid imagery and a surreal tone develops a sense of longing and melancholy. It lays stress on the idea that nostalgia can be a bittersweet emotion that reflects both the joys and sorrows of the past.

8- Novel

The novel is an extended, fictional prose narrative. Novels explore varied experiences through complex characters and engaging plots.

Example in literature

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

In the opening sentence of the novel, the writer employs the ‘novel form’ to introduce the main theme of the novel i.e., the societal expectations placed on single women in 19th-century England. He has used a satirical and ironic tone to create a sense of intimacy and immediacy with the reader drawing them into the world of the novel.

9- Novella

A novella is a fictional prose work longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. Novellas often focus their narratives on fewer characters or events. Examples include Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1899), Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958), and Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach (2007).

Example in literature

“The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway

“He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.”

Hemingway utilizes a concise and simple style to create a sense of clarity and directness. He uses a first person narrator to emphasize the idea that the protagonist is a real person with his own thoughts and feelings. The use of the sea as a symbol of the protagonist’s inner struggle adds depth and meaning to the text.

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