The Damned Thing Literary Devices

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In Ambrose Bierce’s short story, “The Damned Thing,” specific writing choices allow the reader into believing the unimaginable. The use of literary devices is essential to illustrate what the narrator and the reader cannot see. In doing so, the terms used to articulate the indescribable are thought-provoking. How do humans view the natural world? Throughout the section on page 47, “Shadows of Carcosa,” Bierce shatters the quintessential monster archetype, by creating a beast that the human eye cannot see. Through the use of descriptive language, characters, setting, style and tone, Bierce produces a piece of work that goes against the normative horror story.
On page 47, there is extensive detail of everything but the creature. “I was
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As the narrator Williams Harker shadows Hugh Morgan, he becomes aware that Morgan is severely frightened. “‘What is it? What the devil is it?’ I asked. ‘That Damned Thing!’ he replied, without turning his head. His voice was husky and unnatural. He trembled visibly (page 47).” This quote highlights Morgan’s role in the making of the creature. Bierce needs Morgan’s character to illustrate the presence of a mysterious creature. Through Morgan’s reaction and Harker’s witness to the strange circumstances, Bierce makes the characters reliable. If the story was based solely off of Morgan’s journal, the reader would chalk it up to Morgan going mad. Likewise, if the recount was solely based off of Harker’s testimony, the reader would be inclined to believe he had gone mad. Bierce’s use of Harker’s character and the journal verifies the bizarre happenings. Additionally, Harker and Morgan are used to advance the imagery of the imperceptible being. “Before the smoke of the discharge had cleared away I heard a loud savage cry – a scream like that of a wild animal – and flinging his gun upon the ground Morgan sprang away and ran swiftly from the spot. At the same instant I was thrown violently to the ground by the impact of something unseen in the smoke – some soft, heavy substance that seemed thrown against me with great force.” Here we see that even though the characters themselves cannot see the creature, through their circumstances the
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