Literary Devices that Start with T

These are the 18 Literary Devices that Start with T. Below are definitions and examples of each one used in literature.

1- Tactile Imagery

Tactile imagery refers to descriptive language that appeals to the sense of touch. It allows the reader to imagine the texture, pressure, temperature, etc. of what is being described.

Example: In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald describes Daisy and Jordan’s soft voices that sound like “the high notes of a violin.” The tactile imagery appeals to the senses to describe the tone of their voices.

Example in literature

“Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

She opened the fingers in the book. There it was, like a white thumb. Mildred held the page in her fingers.

The writer employs tactile imagery to describe a character. The description of her “opening the fingers in the book” and “holding the page in her fingers” conveys a physical sensation, which allows the reader to imagine the texture and feel of the book’s pages. This tactile imagery highlights how rare and banned books are in the novel’s dystopian society where they are nearly extinct. The author makes the act of holding and reading a book tangible for the reader, which, in the context of the story, carries great significance. It adds depth and sensory richness to the narrative, which make it more immersive and engaging.

2- Tautology

A tautology is a repetitive statement that repeats an idea rather than adding anything new or expressing it in an interesting way. Example: Saying “it was visible to the eye” is a tautology because anything visible is inherently seen by the eye.

Example in literature

“A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Charles Dickens utilizes tautology while repeating the idea of duality and contrast with the phrases “the best of times” and “the worst of times.” The repetition of similar ideas in close proximity is unnecessary but serves to emphasize the extreme contrasts and duality that are central to the novel’s themes. It can be a powerful rhetorical device, which is used intentionally to underscore a point or theme in literature.

3- Tercet

A tercet is a stanza or poem of three lines that usually follow an interlocking rhyme scheme. Example: In Dante’s Divine Comedy, he wrote in tercets following the rhyme scheme ABA BCB CDC, etc.

Examples in literature

1- “Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

This line is from the inscription on the Gates of Hell. It is a harrowing warning to those entering into the inferno. It is a powerful example of a tercet with just three lines that deliver a chilling and memorable message. The use of the tercet here is deliberate. It emphasizes the severity and finality of the punishment that awaits the damned souls in Hell.

2- “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth

For oft, when on couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude.

Here, the tercet has been used to describe that how the memory of the sight of a field of daffodils comes back to the poet’s mind, especially when he is in a reflective or solitary state. The three lines provide a compact and evocative portrayal of the way these memories bring joy and comfort during moments of solitude and introspection.

4- Theme

The theme of a literary work is the underlying central idea, message, or moral perspective embodied within the story. Example: A major theme in Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the complexity of revenge and whether it is a moral response to injustice.

Examples in literature

“Animal Farm” by George Orwell

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

The novel is about the corruption of power. This aforesaid line reflects the theme of highlighting the ironic and hypocritical nature of the pigs’ leadership on the farm. The use power and its abuse is the central theme of the novel. It explores that how individuals and groups can manipulate ideals for their own gain.

5- Thesis

A thesis is the main argument or claim put forth in an essay or work of nonfiction. It serves as the controlling idea that the writing seeks to develop and support.

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.

The thesis in the novel has been introduced in the very first sentence of the novel. The statement sets the tone for the entire story. The thesis here is the societal expectation that wealthy bachelors are in search of marriage reflects the social norms and values of the time. Throughout the novel, Austen explores and challenges this thesis as the characters navigate love, social class and personal desires.

6- Thriller

A thriller is a suspenseful genre of literature that builds up tension and excitement as the plot unfolds. It often involves crime, mystery, or another contentious storyline that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Example: Gillian Flynn’s psychological thriller Gone Girl utilizes multiple twist endings to maintain suspense.

Example in literature

“Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie

A scream came from a compartment ahead. The conductor, heading toward it, looked back and shouted, ‘There is something dreadful happening here!

The text creates a thrilling and suspenseful atmosphere as the passengers on the train react to a scream. This excerpt introduces a pivotal moment in the novel where a murder has taken place on the train and the conductor’s exclamation adds to the tension and intrigue. The genre of the thriller is characterized by its ability to keep readers on the edge of their seats, which often involve elements of danger, mystery and unexpected events.

7- Tmesis

Tmesis involves separating the parts of a compound word for rhetorical effect. Example: In his speech, the politician spoke about the ever-increasing gap between the rich and poor.

Examples in literature

“Henry IV, Part 1” by William Shakespeare

Unmanner’d dog! Stand thou when I command: Advance thy halberd higher than my breast, Or, by Saint Paul, I’ll strike thee to my foot, And spurn upon thee, beggar, for thy boldness.

In the aforesaid context, the character Hotspur uses tmesis when he says, “Or, by Saint Paul, I’ll strike thee to my foot.” The insertion of “to my” within the word “strike” is an example of tmesis. It serves to emphasize his threat and adds a dramatic and forceful tone to his words.

8- Tone

Tone refers to the attitude, perspective, or mood that the author adopts in relation to the subject matter and readers. Example: Orwell maintains an ominous, foreboding tone in 1984 to immerse readers in the dystopian setting.

Example in Literature

“1984” by George Orwell

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

The tone is one of supernatural and unsettling atmosphere. The phrase “bright cold day” seems to contrast and clash, which creates an initial sense of discomfort. The unusual detail that “the clocks were striking thirteen” adds a disorienting and foreboding tone. This line sets the stage for the dystopian and oppressive world of the novel.

9- Tragedy

A tragedy is a drama depicting serious and disastrous events leading to the downfall of the protagonist. Tragedies usually involve human suffering and end in catastrophe. Example: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a classic tragedy following the ill-fated lovers whose forbidden romance leads to their tragic suicides.

Example in literature

“Macbeth” by William Shakespeare

Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.

The tragedy in ‘Macbeth’ is characterized by the downfall of the protagonist i.e. Macbeth, from a respected and honorable figure to a morally corrupted and ultimately doomed character. The play explores themes of ambition, power and the consequences of unchecked desire. Tragedy as a genre often serves to evoke strong emotions in the reader or audience and provoke contemplation about the human condition and the consequences of our choices.

10- Tragic Flaw

A tragic flaw refers to a personality defect in the protagonist of a tragedy that contributes to their inevitable downfall. This literary device adds complexity and interest. Example: In Shakespeare’s Othello, the tragic hero’s jealousy and gullibility are tragic flaws that Iago manipulates to destroy Othello.

Example in literature

“Othello” by William Shakespeare

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on.

The tragic flaw of the protagonist i.e. Othello is jealousy. Lago, a manipulative character warns Othello about the destructive nature of jealousy, but inability of Othello to control his jealousy ultimately leads to his downfall. His flaw is exploited by Iago, which causes him to doubt his wife Desdemona’s fidelity and ultimately to commit acts of violence and tragedy.

11- Tragic Hero

A tragic hero is a central character destined to face ruin or destruction due to some personality flaw and inability to escape the fate dictated by his or her own tragic shortcomings. Example: Macbeth is the tragic hero of Shakespeare’s play, led to his demise by his unchecked ambition and moral weakness.

Example in Literature

“Hamlet” by William Shakespeare

To be or not to be, that is the question.

The protagonist i.e. ‘Prince Hamlet’ is considered a classic tragic hero. He is a prince with noble qualities and a deep sense of morality. However, his tragic flaw is his indecisiveness and overthinking which eventually leads to his downfall. This famous soliloquy, “To be or not to be” reflects the inner conflict and contemplation of the Hamlet about life and death, which illustrates his complex and conflicted character.

12- Tragicomedy

A tragicomedy combines elements of tragedy and comedy. Serious moments and light-hearted ones alternate to create irony and contrast. Example: Shakespeare’s play Measure for Measure examines morally serious issues through comedic scenes and farcical characters.

Example in literature

“The Tempest” by William Shakespeare

In this last tempest. I perceive these lords
At this encounter do so much admire
That they devour their reason and scarce think
Their eyes do offices of truth, their words
Are natural breath; but, howsoe’er you have
Been justled from your senses, know for certain
That I am Prospero and that very duke
Which was thrust forth of Milan, who most strangely
Upon this shore where you were wrecked, was landed
To be the lord on ‘t.

Prospero is the central character and a prime example of a tragicomedy hero. He has been wronged in the past and faces serious challenges including shipwrecking his enemies on an island. The tone of the play is not overwhelmingly tragic. Prospero is a complex character who combines elements of both tragic and comedic heroes. He seeks justice and reconciliation. His use of magic and manipulation creates humorous and lighthearted situations.

13- Tricolon

A tricolon contains three parallel elements in a series, usually consisting of three clauses or phrases of similar length and rhythm. Example: In the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln stated “…we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.”

Example in Literature

“Gettysburg Address” by Abraham Lincoln

that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The writer uses the tricolon to emphasize the idea of a government i.e. “of the people, by the people, for the people.” The repetition of the words “the people” three times in quick succession adds rhetorical symmetry to the speech and underscores the importance of a government, which is fundamentally rooted in and accountable to the people. This tricolon is a memorable and impactful element of Lincoln’s address.

14- Trimeter

Trimeter is a poetic line consisting of three metrical feet. Each foot contains a stressed syllable followed by one or two unstressed syllables, depending on whether it is dactylic trimeter or anapestic trimeter. Example: In Robert Frost’s Acquainted with the Night, the opening lines are in trimeter: “I have been ONE/ by ONE/acQUAINTed with the NIGHT.”

Example In literature

“Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

The use of trimeter in this poem contributes to its musical and contemplative quality. It helps to maintain a consistent rhythm and emphasizes the poem’s theme of death and the passage of time. Trimeter is a metrical patterns that poets use to create specific rhythms and effects in their poetry.

15- Trochaic Meter

Trochaic meter is composed of trochees – metrical feet with one stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable. The rhythm sounds DA-da, DA-da. Example: The opening lines of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven follow a trochaic octameter: “ONCE upON a MIDnight DREARy, while I PONdered WEAK and WEARy.”

Example in literature

“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary.

The poem opens with a trochaic meter in the first line i.e. “Once upon a midnight dreary.” The pattern of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable continues throughout the poem. This trochaic meter creates a distinctive, which haunts rhythm that adds to the overall spectral and suspenseful atmosphere of the poem.

16- Trope

A trope is a figurative device that uses symbolic, meaningful expression rather than literal, straightforward meaning. Metaphors, irony, hyperbole, and other literary devices can be considered tropes. Example: Sheila’s father told her the world was her oyster – this metaphorical expression encourages her to pursue endless opportunities.

Example in literature

“Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

The trope involves comparing someone’s beauty. It is often a beloved, to the sun, which emphasizes their radiance and importance. This metaphor is a recurring motif in love poetry and literature and Shakespeare uses it here to convey the depth of Romeo’s love and admiration for Juliet.

17- Truism

A truism is a widely accepted truth or obvious statement that borders on cliché due to its excessive use. Example: The common saying “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” is a truism conveying the idea that rumors often have some truth behind them.

Example in literature

“Animal Farm” by George Orwell

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

In the above line, the writer uses the term truism ironically to emphasize the hypocrisy and corruption of the ruling pigs on the farm. The statement, “but some animals are more equal than others” highlights the absurdity and contradiction in the actions of pigs and exemplifies the theme of the abuse of power.

18- Turning Point

The turning point of a story is the key moment where an essential change takes place, leading to the resolution. It marks a decisive change in the protagonist’s circumstances. Example: In Hamlet, the turning point occurs when Hamlet stabs Polonius, setting in motion the tragic events that follow.

Example in literature

“Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

The officer, surrounded by these noises, was moved and a little embarrassed. He turned away to give them time to pull themselves together; and waited, allowing his eyes to rest on the trim cruiser in the distance.

The arrival of the naval officer on the island serves as a turning point. The boys have been living in a state of anarchy and violence, which descends into savagery. The presence of the officer symbolizes the return of civilization, which marks a significant shift in the narrative.

Literary Devices that Start with T
Literary Devices that Start with T

More to read

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *