We all exaggerate. Sometimes by way of spicing up stories to make them greater fun, or sincerely to spotlight our factors. Exaggeration is a declaration that makes something worse, or better, than it virtually is. In literature and oral communication, writers and speakers use exaggeration as a literary technique, to give extra strain and drama in a work or speech.
Everyday Examples of Exaggeration
This bicycle is one thousand years old.
He snores louder than a cargo train.
My dog only has cat friends.
He is drowning in his tears.
His brain is the dimensions of a pea.
Types of Exaggeration
It is a statement that slightly exaggerates something to deliver the meaning. Cole Porter’s poem You’re the Top provides an awesome example:
“You’re the Nile,
You’re the Tower of Pisa,
You’re the smile
Of the Mona Lisa…”
Here, the poet overstates the actual reality and calls his loved the river Nile, and the tower of Pisa. He additionally says that her smile like that of the Mona Lisa.
Hyperbole is an severe, extravagant, and impossible exaggeration, such as while Flannery O’Connor writes in his essay, Parker’s Back:
“And the skin on her face changed into skinny and drawn tight just like the pores and skin on an onion and her eyes have been gray and sharp just like the points of ice picks.”
Examples of Exaggeration in Literature
Example #1: A Modest Proposal (By Jonathan Swift)
Jonathan Swift has been infamous for employing exaggeration in his writings, to provide social and political commentary. Through his abnormal story, A Modest Proposal, Swift elevates the politics of society to an quantity of barefaced absurdity. In this essay, Swift exaggerates by using suggesting that the handiest manner to keep Ireland from poverty and overpopulation is to kill the children of the terrible families. He further shows that their meat could serve as a delicacy for the nobles of Ireland. He continues to exaggerate, considering ways and recipes to make their skin into handbags and gloves with the aid of saying:
“Those who are greater thrifty may flay the carcass, the pores and skin of which, artificially dressed, will make admirable gloves for girls and summer time boots for satisfactory gentleman.”
In fact, Swift exaggerates tenaciously this concept due to the fact the human beings of Ireland have failed to discover a logical solution to lessen poverty and overpopulation.
Example #2: Candida (By Voltaire)
“I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, however one way or the other I am nevertheless in love with life. This ridiculous weak spot is possibly one in all our greater stupid depression propensities, for is there anything more silly than to be eager to move on carrying a burden which one would gladly throw away, to loathe one’s very being and yet to keep it fast, to fondle the snake that devours us until it has eaten our hearts away?”
In this example, an old girl tells her story – how she faced difficult times, exaggerating that she wanted to kill herself one hundred times, calling herself a burden.
Example #3: Song (By John Donne)
“Go and seize a falling star,
Get with toddler a mandrake root,
Tell me where all beyond years are,
Or who cleft the devil’s foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to maintain off envy’s stinging,
Serves to boost an sincere mind.
If thou be’st born to peculiar sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, while thou return’st, wilt tell me,
All abnormal wonders that took place thee,
Lives a female true, and fair…”
John Donne uses exaggerated expressions in this poem. The first line of this poem, “Go and catch a falling star,” employs an impossible undertaking. In the ultimate stanzas, the poet urges readers to undertake more unachievable tasks, by the use of extreme exaggeration. These include locating a mandrake root – a legendary root in medieval lore, and listening to mermaids’ songs.
In the second stanza, Donne suggests taking a journey of “ten thousand days and nights,” to find a faithful girl. In fact, the entire poem is rich with exaggeratedly doubtful tasks.
Example #4: To His Coy Mistress (By Andrew Marvell)
“An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore every breast;
But thirty thousand to the rest.”
Andrew Marvell has employed awesome exaggeration in this excerpt to praise his loved. His purpose of the use of this literary device is to lay emphasis on his point, rather than deception.
Function of Exaggeration
The characteristic of any form of exaggeration, whether it is overstatement or hyperbole, is to lay emphasis and stress at the given concept, motion, characteristic, or feeling by means of overstating it. Through exaggeration, writers describe an movement or a feature in a first-rate and heightened manner. Sometimes, they also use it ironically and sarcastically to bring humor to their works. In poetry, on the alternative hand, poets use it by using adding images, similes and metaphors.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw