Literary Elements and Devices in Poetry and Literature: Terminology and Examples
A Handbook to Literature - This book has been a wonderful partner in my world of literature education.
Memorization tips - click to enlarge
Books on improving memory
Literary Elements of Poetry and Literature
A perpetual list of literary elements - will continue to evolve and grow
- Denotation - The dictionary meaning of a word. For example, Greg is thin. thin = slender
- Connotation - A secondary meaning of a word - with tone and attitude. Example, Greg is scrawny. scrawny = skinny, wimpy, weak
- Tone - The author's attitude emerges through the text
- Mood - The reader's feelings provoked by reading the text
- Imagery - Words which create visual or sensory images in the reader's mind
- Alliteration - The repetition of the SAME beginning sound in several words of a poem. For example, "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers..."
- Assonance - The repetition of vowel sounds at the beginning or middle of a poem. For example,"Go low and slow, Below the ridge..."
- Allusion - A reference to characters or situations from other well known texts. For example, "To be or not to be, said the honey bee"
- Symbolism - Something that represents something else. For example, The "emerald ghost" in Emily Dickinson's Nature XXVI - symbolizes the approaching storm
- Oxymoron - A figure of speech that joins together two seemingly contradictory elements. For example, "Here with you in the bright light - we climbed the hill, Here with you in the darkest light - we keep our movements still"The oxymoron is darkest light.
- Rhyme - The last word in the poem rhymes - sounds the same. For example, you, too, blue, stew, blew, crew...
- Limerick - A fixed stanza with FIVE lines - usually lighthearted and direct with plenty of rhyme and rhythm. For example, A Limerick by Edward Lear -
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!'
- Meter - A way of placing emphasis on words and syllables that create a repetitive rhyme and rhythm
- Hyperbole - An exaggeration. For example, "If I don't give this kiss I will die!"
- Simile - Comparison of two similar and/or unlike things - uses LIKE or AS. For example, As strong as an ox, thin as a rail, fame is like a bee
- Metaphor - Comparison of two similar and/or unlike things - does NOT use LIKE or AS. For example,He is an ox, she is a rail, fame is a bee
- Onomatopoeia - This refers to the sound a person, animal or object makes. Examples are; ZAP! Pop! Smack, sizzle, gurgle, plop, splash, buzz, whoosh
- Personification/Anthropomorphism - When an object is given human-like qualities. For example, The leaves raced across the lawn with the children. The tornado flicked pirouettes across the land. Note - Although anthropomorphism is personification it is predominantly used with forces of nature such as wind, fire and rain. The term anthropomorphism comes from Greek literature and is common in mythology - particularly gods and deities.
- Polysyndeton - The use of several conjunctions. For example, ...and swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps
- Pun - A play on words. Using the initial meaning to emphasize another. For example, Corduroy pillows are making headlines, The optometrist made a spectacle of himself.
- Idioms - An expression that is not translated literally but represents something else. For example, Bury the hatchet, the cold shoulder, kick the bucket, tie the knot, foot the bill... click here for a list of angry idioms or here for happy idioms.
Alliteration: Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers
Feel free to suggest additional terminology - examples would be great too!
MissOlive Education hubs include;
- Happy Idioms
- Angry Idioms
- Teaching Tone and Mood
- Vocabulary Development and Context Clues
- Teaching and Understanding Voice in Reading and Writing
- Bio Poems - Transitioning from Reading to Writing
- Conflict in Literature - Internal and External
- How to Make Education Videos on a MAC #1
MissOlive Hubs are authored by, marisa hammond olivares, copyright 2011
More by this Author
Randomization techniques and strategies are a great way to keep all of your students focused and engaged in the topics you are covering in class. Randomization techniques in the classroom also improve content retention...
Teaching and Understanding Tone and Mood - this hub defines tone and mood, provides modeled teaching strategies, offers a full lesson with discussion questions, provides handout images, includes an embedded and...
Natural vasodilators. The nitrates and minerals in certain foods lower blood pressure. The foods that show the most effective results are high in potassium, magnesium, nitrates and calcium. Read for a food list of foods...