Figurative devices add an extra level of meaning to the literal or denotative text.
Figurative is the opposite of literal.
Denotative: dictionary definition’s meaning
Connotative: implied or associated meaning
Simile: an explicit comparison using “like” or “as.”
Metaphor: a figurative device whereby one thing stands in for another; there is an implicit comparison involved (as opposed to the explicit comparison of a simile).
Personification: the attribution of human qualities to an inanimate object.
Symbol: an object which represents or stands for something else, usually a concrete object for an abstract concept. Normally it is widely recognised within a culture (though symbols can also be personal), unlike the metaphor, which is often more original. For example:
- scales for justice
- dove for peace
- lily for purity
- cross for Christianity
Allegory: a story with a double meaning or two levels, both a primary, surface, or literal meaning and a secondary, non-literal meaning. It usually involves the personification of abstract concepts. It is like a metaphor that is extended into a narrative.