Musical Literary Terms Homework Hotline

Certainly, Poe uses mood to great effect in the story, making word choices that convey the gloom and moroseness of the house and landscape.  Details about the "clouds [that] hung oppressively low" over the "singularly dreary tract of country" before the description of the "melancholy House of Usher" help us to feel the gloom and sadness—even the rankness of the house—as the story's rising action is just beginning.

The narrator compares the sight of the house to the soul's depression that accompanies the "after-dream of the reveller upon opium—the bitter lapse into every-day life—the hideous dropping off of the veil." Here he seems to compare—via metaphor—the feeling of seeing the House of Usher to the experience of coming close to death.  In addition to employing this comparison, these lines continue to contribute to the foreboding mood: nothing good can happen in this place.

Poe employs imagery when the narrator describes his second view of the house—from a hill above.  He has allowed his imagination to run away with him:

An atmosphere peculiar to [the mansion and grounds] and their immediate vicinity—an atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn—a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden-hued.

This visual and even somewhat olfactory description of the grayish, heavy, disease-like mist presents a vivid image that sets the scene and further contributes to the mood.

Examples of literary devices used in the novel “The Natural” by American writer Bernard Malamud are:

Alliteration

For example, early on in the novel, Roy Hobbs has a bit of a misunderstanding with a waiter and it says that, “… (this is the buck breakfast) but the blushing ballplayer,…” The alliteration here is the use of the letter “b” to give a musical and rhythmic quality to the line. It is poetic this line because...

Examples of literary devices used in the novel “The Natural” by American writer Bernard Malamud are:

Alliteration

For example, early on in the novel, Roy Hobbs has a bit of a misunderstanding with a waiter and it says that, “… (this is the buck breakfast) but the blushing ballplayer,…” The alliteration here is the use of the letter “b” to give a musical and rhythmic quality to the line. It is poetic this line because of this literary device.

Metaphor

One metaphor in ‘The Natural” is how Malamud describes Harriet when Roy tries to make an intimate move on her while they are traveling on a train, seated next to each other. He writes that, “Her high-pitched scream lifted her up and twirling like a dancer down the aisle.”

Simile

Simile involves comparing two unrelated things. In this novel, the train is compared to some kind of animal when Malamud writes, “As the train yanked its long tail out of the thundering tunnel…”

Here, the author is comparing a man-made machine to some kind of living being with a tail.

Setting

Setting is an important literary device to convey the ambiance and theme of a story. In “The Natural” the setting revolves around the baseball diamonds of a bygone era and the aura of America’s national pastime in these stadiums that bespeak a simpler time. However, the story is not a simple story. The backdrop of a different era lends a nostalgic foundation to the actual sharp drams of this novel.

Mood

We learn early on in this novel what Bernard Malamud is trying to say about baseball, as relates to Roy Hobbs, the protagonist. This sets the mood that the author intends for this story. We understand what baseball means on a deep emotional level to the protagonist from his dream whereby he sees in his mind’s eye himself, “standing at night in a strange field with a golden baseball in his palm…”

This baseball, in his dream, then becomes white, fluffy, and light, and he determines to keep it forever. This sets the mood the author desires for his readers, that baseball is an integral part of Roy Hobbs’ being.

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