And so begins the last week of the A to Z Challenge. My alphabetical dictionary of literary devices is almost complete, as is Netty's story. Keep visiting to see how it all turns out. For anyone just joining the thread, start at the April 1st post and read forward through the My Try section to catch up with Netty.
Understatement: Succinctly, it is the opposite of hyperbole (exaggeration). Understatement allows the writer to show appreciation for his readers' intellect and works most effectively where tension has been built so that there is something to understate. To say that the April A to Z Challenge was child's play is an understatement ( as well as a cliche).
An Example from Literature: C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair
My Try: After hearing Netty's piece, Lou Ellen stood and straightened her skirt. Then her back stiffened at the sound of the front door slamming. She'd forgotten all about Roy coming home for lunch.
"Well, hey girls," he waltzed into the room, oblivious to the wire about to snap. "What y'all up to on this fine afternoon. Sakes, you'd never know by today what a whirl last night was." He looked Netty up and down, appraising her slender figure handsomly set atop tan legs and noticed for the first her hollow eyes. Lord almighty, he mumbled under his breath, she is here about that Junior League mess.
Lou Ellen dropped her chin, then lifted her face, softened, to her husband. She bubbled, "Hey Roy, Netty here was just telling me the cutest story about a couple of babies mixed up at birth." Gushing, Lou Ellen continued, "But I think she forgot the punchline of her little joke. When you remembah it you call me, now, Netty, you heah," escorting Netty steadily out the door.
May as well have been whispering in a pig's ear, Netty told no one as she reentered the day, her distaste for Lou Ellen invigorated. Oh, but she had something; something her mother couldn't find in the ice at the bottom of a highball glass or in the bed of deceit. Something that, nonetheless, her mother had gifted without even intending to; an inheritance of sorts.
Why does understatement work to advance a story? Do you have any good examples of understatement? What "inheritance" did Netty's mother leave her?
April 26th - Verbal Irony