J is Just Juxtaposition | #AtoZChallenge

GIF from giphy.com


Juxtaposition is a literary device wherein the author places a person, concept, place, idea or theme parallel to another. The purpose of juxtaposing two directly or indirectly related entities close together in literature is to highlight the contrast between the two and compare them. This literary device is usually used for etching out a character in detail, creating suspense or lending a rhetorical effect”(Juxtaposition, literary-devices.com).

The importance of using juxtaposition

“Juxtaposition is an important literary term in that it highlights contrasts between two things but also invites comparisons. This device can be used to fully illustrate a character in a novel, complicate a poem’s subjects, or convince an audience to feel a certain way about the subjects” (Juxtaposition, literaryterms.net).

Related term: Foil.

Examples at Juxtaposition, literaryterms.net

  • Heaven and Hell are juxtaposed (paradise vs. suffering) in Milton’s Paradise Lost, where the foils (opposite in character) are God and Satan (see VI)
  • The butler (II. Examples of Juxtaposition, Example 1)

“A butler spends his days in a beautiful mansion dressed in a tuxedo, but returns home to a closet-sized apartment in a rundown part of town.”

“Example 1 juxtaposes two settings: a wealthy person’s mansion and a poor butler’s apartment. Such juxtaposition serves to highlight just how different the butler’s quality of living is from his employer’s.”

  • Waitress example (II. Examples of Juxtaposition, Example 2, with the explanation in the second paragraph under III: The Importance of Using Juxtaposition)
  • Hogwarts and the muggle world (ours) are juxtaposed, where the foils are Harry Potter and Voldemort (note that Harry and Draco Malfoy are also foils: opposite characters/choices in similar circumstances)

GIF from giphy.com

  • Love and war (“All’s fair in love and war.”)

In my novel BEYOND THE PRECIPICE, I juxtaposed conditional and unconditional love (discussed in L is for Love, Actually) to bring out and contrast the features of each while creating man vs. himself and man vs. man conflict. The message I hope to get across is how critical unconditional love is to families and partners, and conversely how damaging conditional love is. (Conditional love is not love; it’s control.)

Note: I used the crutch word “just” deliberately in the title. Normally, this is a word I would remove from my writing as much as possible. (I use it sometimes in dialogue because the characters talk that way–less formal, less correct, more lifelike.) To read about crutch words, visit Allison Maruska’s Letter J entry for today: Story Stuff: J Is For Just (And Other Crutch Words).

All the posts: Components of Literature A to Z

K is for Killing

About Eva Blaskovic

I am a multi-genre author of literary fiction, fantasy, and paranormal, and writer of non-fiction articles on parenting, writing, education, health, and travel. My background encompasses both the sciences and the arts. I teach at a specialized clinic for learning disorders and mentor young authors. In addition to writing and teaching, my passions are weather, Indian food, gardening, and music. I have played eight musical instruments and spent many years immersed in taekwondo and karate. In my youth, I was an avid canoeist. I was born in Prague, Czech Republic, grew up in the Great Lakes region of Ontario, Canada, and moved to Alberta in 1988, where I raised four children.
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18 Responses to J is Just Juxtaposition | #AtoZChallenge

  1. Lily says:

    We’re learning such great things from you… Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOL. Thanks for the link! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Theme Reveal: Blogging from A to Z Challenge (April 2017) | Beyond the Precipice

  4. Iain Kelly says:

    Like this one – looking forward to K tomorrow, killing fits right in with my story so far! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Incidentally, I is for Inciting Force | #AtoZChallenge | Beyond the Precipice

  6. Great examples of this very useful technique. Especially spot-on about Rowling–she definitely juxtaposes the magical and muggle worlds to get the reader thinking about how the politics and choices of the magical folk have parallels in our own culture.

    Happy A to Zing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for visiting, Laurel. I apologize for the late reply. This comment was in my spam folder and I just fished it out.

      Rowling does do a good job with the politics and personal choices. It’s especially effective that Harry, in spite of his magical background, is just learning about the magical world when he starts going to Hogwarts.


  7. Pingback: K is for Killing | #AtoZChallenge | Beyond the Precipice

  8. This will sure make the plot interesting! 🙂

    Love those potter gif’s.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Arlee Bird says:

    I like the good use of juxtaposition in a story. Helps develop perspective. I tend to use “just” a lot in my writing. Bad habit I guess, but in some ways I just happen to like using it.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for your thoughts on juxtaposition. Sometimes I don’t think about the technique used in a story as it often comes so naturally, but it’s good to define it and make it clear.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. JJAzar says:

    Juxtaposition falls right in with the concept and purpose behind foils, I think. Both are key! Great post, Eva. Love the Potter references.

    Liked by 1 person

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