1.08.2003

Some of my thoughts on hyperbole:

I think it's a lot like puns - one of the easiest literary devices to use, and therefore the easiest to abuse. The worst English teachers I ever had were favorably disposed to using hyperbole. Beyond exaggeration, they made statements that went beyond the pale. Teenagers and ineffectual parents resort to hyperbole, and get the rolled eyes they deserve.

My main problem with it is that when used poorly, as it is now popular to do, it undercuts the message it's delivering. Automatically, it establishes the speaker as unreliable, out-of-touch, histrionic; speaker as drama queen.

But the device, when used correctly, can paint a vast, full universe. It can manipulate an audience into believing an author's lesser lies.

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