Willy Goebel Per. 5 9/28/09 Ironic Devices Hyperbole and understatement are used in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath primarily to convey respectively the cowardice and courage of the Joad family. When hyperbole is used, they are intimidated by their current situation, and thus the event becomes a much larger happening in their minds. When understatement is used, the family is confident, and can easily tolerate their conditions, making them appear unimportant. Through these two opposing ironic devices, the confidence levels of the Joad family are graphed appropriately throughout the entire novel. Hyperbole is used whenever the family loses their confidence or self-belief. On page 450, for example, the water that collects in the car is referred to as “the flood,” although it is only six inches deep. In this scenario, the water is still devastating to the family, even though it is relatively small in volume. This causes the water to become a flood in the minds of the family, instilling in them a fear which magnifies their predicament. Hyperbole
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