Tag Archives: chicken or egg

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




is for Understatement




Understatement is when something important is minimized in order to draw attention to it.

In Chicken or Egg: A Love Story, Paula is convinced she must kill Daniel before he kills her. It’s not until the two of them get together and begin to talk that they realize there is more to the story than Nigel is telling either of them. At one point, Nigel squirrels Paula away in a secluded cabin owned by his company. Because the cabin used to be Daniel’s before Nigel used time travel to essentially steal the company and all its holdings, Daniel also decides to hole up at the cabin until he can figure out a way to dodge Paula. The two of them wind up at the cabin together and go for a walk in the woods and Daniel says,

“So, I’m curious…You seem like a nice enough girl; what makes you wake up one day and decide you want to kill someone like me?”

Here, the nonchalance of Daniel’s question is the understatement. That he can so calmly ask a question like that of Paula, that he can find humour in a situation like this, underplays the danger which  serves to underscore the “which came first” element implied by the title of the work.

Do you every use understatement in your conversational day to day speech? In your dialogue when you write? Do you find it a helpful literary device or is understatement the bane of your existence? Weigh in  with your opinion in the comments section below.

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




is for Protagonist




A protagonist is the main character in a story. S/he may be cast as hero or anti-hero.

I tend to cast my protagonists in the role of narrator in my stories, often telling different chapters from different perspectives. As a result, it may be argued I have multiple protagonists, each of their stories important for the reader’s enjoyment of the piece.

In Chicken or Egg: A Love Story, there are 3 protagonists. Paula is the traditional hero type, trying to figure out what’s happening in her life in order to restore order to it. Nigel is the anti-hero. Cast as a traditional villain-type, he is the main orchestrator of the conflict. Sometimes hero, sometimes villain, sometimes love interest for Paula and foil and pawn for Nigel, the jury is out on Daniel’s main role. Whatever his function, the reader is meant to feel pathos (another P-word meaning to evoke emotion–usually pity or sadness–for a character in a literary work) for all three characters.

Where do you stand on the role of the protagonist in the stories you read? Do you prefer them to be hero, anti-hero, or a little bit of both? Weigh in with your opinions in the comments section below.