Juxtaposition is a big word – thirteen letters. But it is a very important literary device that can give clarity to your writing. Some of the “greats” have used this effective technique such as Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare . But before you can use it, you have to understand what it is, its meaning.
Juxtaposition is used to show comparison and contrast in writing. I know you are saying, “Don’t we have metaphors and similes for that?” We do! But, juxtaposition works differently. It shows the comparison and contrast SIDE BY SIDE. For example, check out Dickens work below :
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”
You should recognize this paragraph from A TALE OF TWO CITIES. Dickens clearly uses JUXTAPOSITION here. Side by side, he shows the contrast – best of times/worst of times, age of wisdom/age of foolishness, epoch of belief/epoch of incredulity, season of light/season of darkness, spring of hope/winter of despair, everything before us/nothing before us, and direct to heaven/direct the other way.
I, too, tried using this literary device in my writing. But writing picture books, I need to contain my words. Plus this device will not work well for 4-8 year olds. Perhaps, I will wait for them to get a little older and see how well it can apply to the middle grade minds
In conclusion, try something different with your writing. Add this valuable technique and let me know if it added anything to your writing.