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					                            Literary Elements
Every work of literature is made up of a combination of elements. What makes each work unique is
the creative way in which the author handles and blends these elements. Careful readers of
literary texts are able to identify these elements and to discuss how they influence the meaning of
the literary work.


  What Is It            What Does It Mean?                      What Does it Look Like?
   Called?
Characterization    Refers to the creation and       Description by the narrator, dialogue &
                    development of characters,       thoughts, and character actions are all
                    the people who carry on the      methods of characterization.
                    action in a literary work
    Setting         The time and place in which      Can include descriptions of locations, dates,
                    events occur                     times of year, etc.
      Plot          The sequence of events that      Major and minor events or conflicts that
                    take place                       involve the characters.
    Diction         The word choice of the           Words that help to convey different attitudes
                    author                           or tones. Adjectives & adverbs (describing
                                                     words) and verbs (action words) are helpful in
                                                     considering the author’s diction.
     Tone           The attitude or viewpoint        The tone may be serious, sympathetic, angry,
                    that an author shows toward      etc. You can usually determine the narrator’s
                    his or her subject               tone by studying the author’s diction (or word
                                                     choice).
     Mood           The atmosphere or feeling of     The mood may be joyful, gloomy, suspenseful,
                    a literary work                  etc.
 Point of view      The perspective from which a     In the first-person point of view, the narrator
                    story is told                    tells the story using “I” and “me” and may
                                                     participate in events. In the omniscient point
                                                     of view, the narrator is an all-knowing
                                                     impersonal observer who does not take part in
                                                     events but can describe the thoughts and
                                                     actions of all the characters.
   Structure        How the parts of a literary      The structure of a novel may be based on
                    work are organized and           chronological order with occasional flashbacks.
                    arranged                         The structure of poetry includes the number,
                                                     form, pattern of lines, and stanzas.
    Theme           The central idea of a literary   Themes often have to do with widely held
                    work                             human concerns such as love, death, justice,
                                                     dignity, happiness, etc.


                                    Great Sentence Starters
              “The author uses dialogue as a method of characterization to show…”
                   “The narrator’s use of diction helps to express a tone of…”
        “The first person point of view of the narrator helps the reader to understand…”
                              Literary Techniques
Authors and poets use many different techniques when they write. These techniques help to
convey ideas and feelings and create memorable works of literature. Skillful readers interpret
these techniques to explain how they contribute to the meaning of the text.

  What Is It               What Does It Mean?                                 What Does it Look Like?
   Called?
    Allegory          The representation of ideas or moral      Arthur Milller’s Crucible uses the Salem Witch Trial as an
                      principles by means of symbolic           allegory for the hunt for Communists in America during the
                      characters, events, or objects            1950s.
  Alliteration        The repetition of a consonant sound       The falling flakes fluttered to the ground.
                                                                The swift, silent serpent slithered along.
     Simile           A type of figurative language that        Her eyes gleamed like stars.
                      makes a comparison using “like” or “as”   The house was a large as a castle.


   Metaphor           A type of figurative language that        The girls were tigers on the playing field, devouring the
                      makes a comparison but does not use       competition.
                      “like” or “as”                            All the world is a stage.
 Personification      A type of figurative language that        The sun smiled down on the village.
                      applies human qualities to objects,       The leaves danced in the wind.
                      ideas, or animals
   Hyperbole          A type of figurative language that        His ears were so sharp he could hear dogs bark in the next
                      makes an overstatement for the            county.
                      purpose of emphasis                       I’m so tired I could sleep for years.
 Onomatopoeia         A type of figurative language in which    bang, buzz, crackle, sizzle, hiss, murmur, and roar
                      words sound like the things they name
   Flashback          Insertion of a scene or event that took   A novelist may include a flashback to reveal a childhood
                      place in the past, often appearing as a   incident in the life of an adult character.
                      memory
 Foreshadowing        The suggestion or hint of events to       Gray clouds at the beginning of a story may foreshadow a
                      come later in a literary work             storm or conflict that occurs later.
    Imagery           The use of descriptive words or           The tree roots clutched the ground like gnarled fingers.
                      phrases to create vivid mental pictures   The frightened screech of an unseen animal tore through
                      in the minds of the reader, often         the night.
                      appealing to sight, sound, taste, or
                      smell
Situational Irony     A situation or event that is the          It would be ironic if a lifeguard had to be saved from
                      opposite of what is or might be           drowning.
                      expected
  Verbal Irony        The expression of an attitude or          When a late-comer is told sarcastically, “Thanks for joining
                      intention that is the opposite of what    us.”
                      is actually meant
   Repetition         Repeating a word or group of words        There in the sudden blackness, the black pall of nothing,
                      for emphasis or effect                    nothing, nothing – nothing at all.

   Rhetorical         A question asked only for effect or to    How much longer will we put up with this injustice? Isn’t it
                      make a statement, but not to get an       time that we took action?
    question
                      answer
     Satire           A type of writing that uses humor,        At this rate we might as well dump garbage straight into
                      irony, or wit to make a point             the ocean if we’re not going to increase the penalty for
                                                                polluting the environment.
   Symbolism          A symbol is something that stands for     A rose symbolizes beauty.
                      something larger than itself              The flag symbolizes the country.
                                                                Darkness symbolizes evil.


                                           Great Sentence Starters
                          “The author uses flashback in this scene to show…”
                           “The writer’s use of imagery conveys a sense of…”
                    “The examples of repetition and alliteration help to emphasize…”