Writer at Large…Tip for the Day.

Juxtaposition

Juxtaposition Definition – 

Juxtaposition is a literary technique in which two or more ideas, places, characters and their actions are placed side by side in a narrative or a poem for the purpose of developing comparisons and contrasts.

In literature, juxtaposition is a useful device for writers to portray their characters in great detail to create suspense and achieve a rhetorical effect. It is a human quality to comprehend one thing easily by comparing it to another. Therefore, a writer can make readers sense “goodness” in a particular character by placing him or her side by side to a character that is predominantly “evil”. Consequently, goodness in one character is highlighted by evil in the other character. Juxtaposition in this case is useful in the development of characters.

A good example of this technique would be in Pat Conroys novel South of Broad or the way he uses character in Beach House. In South of Broad, the main character, whose name derived from a famed novel of a tragic hero, is contrasted with an unseen character who becomes the nemesis to his main character in varying ways throughout the story. Faulkner is another author who uses the devise but in a clever way to show that good and evil sometimes become juxtaposed in the process of living. Johnny Christmas in Light in August is a tragic example of a flawed character representing evil and when he is killed by the good character the roles appear reversed. 

Juxtaposition is a classic way for writers to introduce change in characters that become memorable and drive home the dénouement. Write well, my friends! 

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