Understatement in literature is used for effect, usually sarcastic or derogatory of an element in context with the statement. The understatement itself is a form of denigration, used to change the perspective of the subject. In some cases the intention is to mock the person receiving the understated comment. The understatement infers that the recipient is ignorant or deluded, or fails to appreciate the issues.
Examples of Understatement in Literature:
| 'Anything happening on the news?' asked John. 'Just a war,' replied Fred. |
'The Pacific Ocean is considered by some to be rather damp,' explained Jill.
'I think he's slightly dead,' commented the doctor.