Amplification is a rhetorical device that authors use to embellish a sentence or statement by adding more information. The aim is to improve the readability and value of the statement or sentence. You usually use them when a simple sentence is abrupt and can't get the implications you want. Writers then use the reinforcement to make structural additions and give further meanings by describing and repeating a particular statement or idea. The purpose of this rhetorical device is to draw readers' attention to an idea they might otherwise overlook.
Examples of Reinforcement in Literature
Example 1: Our Mutual Friend (from Charles Dickens)
"Mr. and Mrs. Veneering were bran-new people in a bran-new house in a bran-new part of London. Everything about the veneers was lightning fast. All of her furniture was new, all of her friends were new, all of her servants were new, her place was new, ... her harness was new, her horses were new, her pi. The pictures were new, she themselves were new, they were as newly married as it was legally compatible with the birth of a bran newborn ... ”
In this excerpt, Dickens reinforces the expression“ bran new ”and then describes it further by giving more details on everything , like furniture, friends, servants, place, horses, pictures, etc.
Example 2: Northern Exposure (by Chris Stevens)
“Goethe's last words: 'More light'. Ever since we crawled out of this original slime, this has been our connecting cry: 'More light.' Sunlight.Torchlight.Candlelight.Neon lightbulb ... Light is a metaphor. This word is a lamp for my feet. Anger, anger against the death of the light.The night is dark, and I'm far from home - Lead me! Get up, shine, because your light has come. Light is knowledge. Light is life. Light is light. "
You may notice that the emphasis is on" light "In the excerpt given above. Moving from the literal meaning to the metaphorical meaning of light, the speaker is describing the purpose of light in human lives.
Example # 3: The Twits (by Roald Dahl)
"If a person's thoughts start to show on their face, and when that person has unpleasant thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can barely bear looking at her.
A person who has good thoughts can never be ugly. You can have a crooked nose and crooked mouth, jowls and protruding teeth, but if you have good thoughts, they will shine from your face like rays of sunlight and you will always look beautiful. "
Here, in this excerpt, Dahl explains in depth explaining how an ugly person can become uglier, and how a beautiful person remains beautiful, despite having physical imperfections.
Example # 4: All the stories are true (for John Edgar Wideman)
“A huge century-old tree stands up through thick and thin here in front of my mother's house, one of the largest trees in Pittsburgh, anchored in a green tangle of weeds and shrubs, the trunk thick as a Buick, black as night after rain soaks through its ridged skin ... If it ever ripped loose from its ties, it would crush your house like a sledgehammer ... "
In this example, John Edgar Wideman gives an expanded description and enriched from a huge old tree. He repeatedly describes how it has anchored itself together with weeds and shrubs against h is my mother's house.
Example # 5: The Scarlet Letter (by Nathaniel Hawthorne)
“It's a bit remarkable that, yet that I am not inclined to talk much about myself and my affairs by the fire and with my personal friends, it was an autobiographical impulse I should have taken possession of me twice in my life, when addressing the public. ”
This introduction by Nathaniel Hawthorne in his famous novel, Scarlett's Handwriting, uses amplification. The speaker explains that he is determined to write his autobiography. it simply uses deep language to add the main idea in it.
When using amplification, writers repeat something they have already said in order to add more information and details to the original description. In writing and speaking, amplification tends to highlight the importance of an idea, to stimulate an emotional response among the audience. In fact, it adds an exaggeration, increases the rhetorical effect, and emphasizes the further elaboration of definitions, descriptions, and arguments in a piece. Amplification also highlights the persuasive aspects of an idea by elaborating on why it should be considered. In creative writing, it draws readers' attention to the most vivid, stimulating, and compelling parts of a narrative.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw