The role of word order stylistic devices
Syntactical stylistic devices are perceived as elaborate designs aimed at having a definite impact on the reader. It will be borne in mind that any stylistic device is meant to be understood a device and is calculated to produce a desired stylistic effect.
Aristotle stipulated that there should be a mixture of ordinary and unfamiliar words in the language of literature. Ordinary words made for clarity. Unfamiliar words (which included various stylistic devices) made the language shine, and avoided the appearance of meanness and the prosaic. Nevertheless language should be appropriate to context.
So arose the understanding that words were not good or bad in themselves, but only by virtue of their placing in a line. Languages like English allow considerable variety. Into He said shortly that she was not to go. The word however can be inserted correctly, if a little awkwardly, into all positions, giving not only rhythmic flexibility but nuances of meaning. But English writers have generally wanted more. If the standard word order in English is subject, verb object, that order is not followed in these percentages of lines overall: Pope 32%, Milton 19%, Shelley 15%, Shakespeare and Tennyson 12%. Perhaps the commonest variation was hyperbaton, inversion of noun and adjective, chiasmus, hysteron-proteron, etc. For instance Milton could write:
I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude,
And with forced fingers rude (…) (Lycidas).
What dire offence from amorous causes springs (…) (The Rape of the Lock).
Contemporary writings dislikes such inversions, but is not above pointing line endings in its own way — and perhaps less effectively, because line breaks are less apparent in spoken language :
so much depends upon a red wheel barrow...
(The Red Wheelbarrow: William Carlos Williams)
In short, the arrangement or juxtaposition of words creates its own poetic diction, and reflects society as much as anything else in the arts.
Below are presented in details the most widely applied stylistic devices that deal with the word order alternatives in different styles. The following stylistic devices are considered to be ‘The Winds Throwing Word Order’. This seems to be true indeed.