There are several literary devices that pop up at various times in the story. One of the most prevalent ones is foreshadowing, which frequently presents clues of something that will happen later in the novel. Some examples of foreshadowing include:

1. It wasn't until later events that it occurs to Reuben to wonder why he was allowed to breathe and keep breathing. This foreshadows his role as a witness to Jeremiah's miracles

2. On the way to August's house to hunt geese, in the front seat sit his father and Davy, who never speak a word to each other for the entire trip. This foreshadows decision to defy his father and kill the two bullies.

3. At August's house, Reuben awakes from a dream he'd been having of a reptile of some kind to Davy wiping.........

..........15. In the other country, Dad is beside Reuben, and the older man laughs and sings out, You're as big as me! He is joyful like Reuben, but in his eyes, there is some small regret for he knows something Reuben does not. This foreshadows that Dad has bargained with God to die in Reuben's place.


Another important element is irony - when something happens, or is seen, or is heard that we may know, but the characters do not, or that appears opposite of what is expected. Some examples of irony include:

1. Ironically, all the squad cars arrive quickly after Davy kills the boys, the cars that weren't there for them when.......

.........7. Ironically, Peter, his schoolmate, brings Reuben an interesting gift - the Spartacus model he had wanted for Christmas. The desire for that model is so far back in his memory that now, wanting seems silly.


Another element is personification which is the application of human characteristics to something or someone that is not human. Some examples include:

1. Only once in his life had he ever known grief so hard he could actually hear it inside, scraping.......

...........3. They begin to ride, and Reuben recalls the black remorse that flaps down and perches on him . . . for this time he is sneaking out on Dad.


The complete study guide is currently available as a downloadable PDF, RTF, or MS Word DOC file from the PinkMonkey MonkeyNotes download store. The complete study guide contains summaries and notes for all of the chapters; detailed analysis of the themes, plot structure, and characters; important quotations and analysis; detailed analysis of symbolism, motifs, and imagery; a key facts summary; detailed analysis of the use of foreshadowing and irony; a multiple-choice quiz, and suggested book report ideas and essay topics.


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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Long Way Gone". TheBestNotes.com.