Overstatement is an act of mentioning some thing extra profoundly than it honestly is, with a purpose to make the factor greater critical or critical or beautiful. In literature, writers use overstatement as a literary method for the sake of humor, and for laying emphasis on a positive factor. For instance, while in his poem I wandered lonely as a cloud, Wordsworth reviews daffodils as, “stretched in endless line.” In fact, he is not pronouncing this assertion literally; alternatively he is merely the use of overstatement to add emphasis on the lengthy line of daffodils.
Examples of Overstatement in Literature
Example #1: The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (By Mark Twain)
In Mark Twain’s quick story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, there are several instances of overstatement. For instance, whilst Simon Wheeler narrates his stories regarding Jim Smiley, Wheeler makes claim that Jim was a gambler and he possibly might, “… foller that straddle-computer virus to Mexico but what he could discover in which he became certain for and how lengthy he become at the road.” It similarly talks about a bull domestic dog of Jim Smiley and Andrew Jackson:
“… his underjaw’d start to stick out just like the fo’citadel of a steamboat, and his tooth would uncover, and shine savage like the furnaces.”
Example #2: The Sahara of the Bozart (By H. L. Mencken)
“It is, indeed, fantastic to contemplate so giant a vacuity. One thinks of the interstellar spaces, of the large reaches of the now mythical ether. Nearly the whole of Europe could be misplaced in that stupendous area of fats farms, shoddy towns and paralyzed cerebrums: one should throw in France, Germany and Italy, and also have room for the British Isles. And yet, for all its length and all its wealth and all the ‘progress’ it babbles of, it is nearly as sterile, artistically, intellectually, culturally, because the Sahara Desert.”
Mencken gives evidence to show his disdain towards the southern location of U.S. He berates it for its paucity of cultural, and creative and highbrow attainment, and therefore calls it the “Sahara Desert,” which is culturally dead.
Example #3: Romeo and Juliet (By William Shakespeare)
“O, she doth train the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the take a look at of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear.”
Romeo is praising Juliet’s beauty by using light exaggeration. Here, the playwright makes use of metaphor to get this job performed by way of comparing Juliet to a burning light that gives light to torches, and prefer a glowing jewel that shines against African cheeks.
Example #4: Revenge of the Pork Person (By Dave Barry)
“A man will have a stomach you may house commercial plane in and a grand general of 8 greasy strands of hair, which he grows actual lengthy and combs throughout the top of his head so that he looks, while viewed from above, like an egg within the hold close of a large spider, plus this man will have B.O. To the factor in which he interferes with radio transmissions, and he will still be satisfied that, in terms of attractiveness, he is borderline Don Johnsons.”
In this instance, the author is making an overstatement via a silly assessment among a man’s belly and various different things.
Example #5: Parker’s Back (By Flannery O’Connor)
Flannery O’Connor, in one of his brief stories, Parker’s Back, makes use of overstatement via writing:
“And the pores and skin on her face turned into skinny and drawn tight like the pores and skin on an onion and her eyes were grey and sharp like the factors of two ice picks.”
Example #6: I wandered lonely as a cloud (By William Wordsworth)
“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;
An age as a minimum to every part, …”
In this example, the poet exaggerates the splendor of his beloved, and says if he had enough time, he might maintain on complimenting all of her body parts, even for a bazillion years, that's quite impossible.
Function of Overstatement
Writers use this literary approach deliberately to create sure effect. Mostly, it allows to lay emphasis on some factor. In prose, its purpose is to create humor and emphasis. When writers need to emphasise a factor, they overstate it or exaggerate it. While in poetry, its cause is to make comparisons and create images. Poets additionally use it for emphasizing a assessment between two things, by means of stating one idea as ordinary and another with overstatement.
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