Literary Devices in "The Woman at the Store"

Essay by 11838High School, 10th gradeA+, September 2007

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There are many different literary devices used in Katherine Mansfield’s The Woman at the Store, they are used effectively. Regularly Mansfield uses personification, characterization and irony. This short essay will show what the main literary devices are in this story.

Irony has a significant literary device in this story; the story’s plot is enormously ironic. The reader expects that the woman’s husband will be coming back soon, but he is dead already, which is ironic. The reader does not expect that the child knows that her mother killed her father. And that this is shown in something as pure as a drawingAnother key literary device in this story is her characterization. She characterizes the characters in this story so realistically that the reader has the idea that he has known the characters for all long time already, and he can visualize them perfectly. For example, when Mansfield writes about Jo: “Not once that day he had sung ‘I don’t care, for don’t you see, my wife’s mother was in front of me!’ It was the first that we had been without it for a month, and now there seemed something uncanny in his silence.”

With this sentence the reader knows that Jo normally is a happy man, that he likes to sing, that he does not like mother-in-laws and that he now knows that something special is going to happen.

Another important literary device is the use of personification. One good example is: “the sun pushed through the pale clouds and shed a vivid light over the scene.” This describes how the sun “found” a hole to shine through.

There are many different literary devices used in The Woman at the Store but irony, characterization and personification are some key devices and Katherine Mansfield uses them well but...