Literary Devices from A to Z – Brought to you by the letter J

J

graphic from http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

 

 

 

is for Juxtaposition

 

 

 

Juxtaposition is when two opposing and parallel characters, plot lines, images or themes are compared for the purpose of “etching out a character in detail, creating suspense or lending a rhetorical effect” (Literary Devices).

In The Revenant, Zulu fancies himself a modern-day superhero. The narrator draws this comparison using juxtaposition. Here’s an example:

Zulu used his super sense of sight to hone in on the man’s eyes, forehead, and nose bridge…Faster than a speeding bullet—and Zulu would have to be faster, given his distance from the man in the suit and the man’s distance from the advancing projectile—Zulu knocked the man from his feet…More powerful than a locomotive, he pulled the weapon from the man’s grip, bowed the shaft, and used the butt to shatter the window.

In this example, words from the opening narrative of the old “Superman” television series are used (“faster than a speeding bullet…more powerful than a locomotive”) to draw the comparison between Zulu’s powers and those of Superman. The comparison to Superman’s sense of sight, while not in the traditional narrative, are nevertheless well-known traits of the Superman archetype.

In a recent episode of “Revolution”, Sebastian Monroe was engaged in hand-to-hand combat with Tom Neville. Scenes of this were interspersed with a simultaneous hand-to-hand combat scene between their sons, Connor and Jason. This is juxtaposed against a similar scene between “Bass” and Connor when they were pitted against each other in a fight to the death the week before.

Can you think of any juxtapositions that stand out in your mind? What were they? Did you make the connection between the two events? Did they bring another level of meaning to the story? Share your thoughts on juxtaposition below.

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