Rhetoric Devices in Prose

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Being an analysis of Rhetoric Devices used in the first four pages of Wise Children by Angela Carter:

We are confidants in this story of twin 75-year-old sisters, whooping it up in the house that their grandma left them all those years and memories ago. They sound like wild children more than old dears, but ever so engaging for that.

The narrator seems to be one of the sisters and we are definitely on the other side of the fence from her. She and her sister, and their cats are on one side, and we are on the other. It’s not that we are enemies or anything. It’s not that there’s a war going on. It’s just that the sisters are what they are and their readers are just not on the same train.

But all the same, we are trusted to sit and listen and enjoy the roller-coaster ride of their memories. Something is about to happen in this story, and we are privileged enough to hear it as it occurs. Tell me more!

The narrator wants us to anticipate the upcoming event, but at the same time realise that it is going to happen to two seventy-five-year-olds, who, while they seem to have plenty of life left in them, can still seem vulnerable and insecure.

I get the sense that the author is fully inhabiting the narrator and one of the sisters and so they are all one and the same. There doesn’t seem to be a conflict between the three, nor a feeling that one is deliberately undercutting the other, so all is good.

  • Simile – “sucking on the bottle for comfort like babes unweaned”.
  • Metaphor – “railway stations, changed out of recognition, turned into souks”
  • Rhythm – “What a wind! Whooping and banging all along the street, the kind of wind that blows everything topsy-turvy.”
  • Assonance – “jumped into their diesel Saabs and dispersed throughout the city”
  • Alliteration – “sentimental sod”, “cold cream” (not much alliteration in this piece)
  • Repetition – “wash, wash, wash, polish, polish, polish”
  • Qualification – “There goes the wind, again. Crash. Over goes the dustbin, all the trash spills out . . . empty cat-food cans, cornflakes packets, laddered tights, tea leaves “
  • Tone – “Good morning! Let me introduce myself. My name is Dora Chance. Welcome to the wrong side of the tracks.”
  • Amplification – “… in circumstances of urban deprivation condemned to wait for hours at windswept bus-stops while sounds of marital violence, breaking glass and drunken song echoed around and it was cold and dark and smelled of fish and chips. “
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5 thoughts on “Rhetoric Devices in Prose

  1. Didn’t quite get this week so this helps. Thanks. Massively behind. Still need to write my story but I’m so tired. I emailed my tutor that I might need an extension. But need to get it written. Mostly reading. But did do that youtube video about narrative distance. Not coming to Leeds on Saturday, think all that travelling would be too much for me.

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