a list of literary devices to look for when analyzing a text n.
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a list of literary devices to look for when analyzing a text. Baptised chimps. Road Signs!!!. All authors carefully choose their words. Some authors use literary features or techniques to help you figure out what the theme is. Annotate for Them. What SMART readers do: S = summarize

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road signs
Road Signs!!!
  • All authors carefully choose their words.
  • Some authors use literary features or techniques to help you figure out what the theme is.
annotate for them
Annotate for Them
  • What SMART readers do:
    • S = summarize
    • M = make connections
    • A = ask questions
    • R = re-read & research
    • T = track techniques
the chimps

Baptised Chimps is a list of literary elements and techniques to always look for when you are analyzing a text.

    • They are NOT the ONLY literary elements and techniques.
    • They ARE the most basic ones and a good place to start when analyzing a text.
The Chimps!
b is for beginning

Not to be ignored!

  • It sets up the mood, tone, and style of the text.
  • Example: the opening passage of Fahrenheit 451
    • Introduced Montag
    • Introduced thematic concept of change
    • Set the mood
B is for Beginning
a is for allusion
A is for Allusion
  • an implied or indirect reference to something outside of the text. It is up to you to research it and figure out how it connects to the text and to the theme.
  • Example: “And I’m brainless/which means I’m headless/like Ichabod Crane is” – “Dumb it Down,” Lupe Fiasco;
  • Fiasco’s alluding to “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” by Washington Irving. You have to know the story to understand why he included it in his text.
p is for point of view
P is for Point of View
  • 1st person: the narrator is telling you the story and is a character in the action of the story.
  • 3rd person omniscient: the narrator is not a character in the story but can tell you everything about all of the characters including what they are doing.
  • 3rd person limited: the narrator is not a character in the story and is limited to telling you everything about one character in the story.
t is for tone
T is for Tone
  • the speaker, character, or narrator’s attitude towards another character or element of the text
  • Look carefully at the words used
  • Tone = how the speaker feels about a character, etc.
  • Character, etc = thematic concept
  • Tone = how the speaker feels about the thematic concept

You can sometimes infer that is how the text feels about the thematic concept.

i is for imagery
I is for Imagery
  • an author uses specific detailed words and language to appeal to any of your five senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight).
  • The beef of the cheeseburger glistened with gooey cheddar cheese. As I put the crispy, butter yellow bun on top, my mouth began to water with anticipation. I opened wide for one large bite, and felt the bun and cheese melt together as I worked on chewing the tender hamburger meat. Best cheeseburger ever!
s is for sound and
S is for Sound and….

Sound imagery can help create mood.

  • Alliteration: the repetition of a consonant sound at the beginning of words


“With old woes newwail my dear time's waste.” (Shakespeare, Sonnet 30)

  • Assonance: the repetition of vowel sounds in several words in a phrase
  • EX:
  •  Margaret are you grievingOver Goldengrove unleaving?
  • Consonance: the repetition of consonant sounds in several words of a phrase
  • when an author describes a concrete object in a way that causes it to represent an abstract, big idea.
  • Examples:
    • Phoenix = rebirth
    • The red hunting hat = protection/confidence
    • The ducks in central park = Holden’s situation and search for a place to belong
e is for endings
E is for Endings
  • All texts have endings which should not be ignored
  • How a text ends can dictate what you should think about the theme
  • Example:
    • The ending of “The Catcher in the Rye”
    • Holden changes his perspective on the loss of innocence while watching Phoebe ride the carousel
    • Shows the ultimate interpretation that innocence has to be lost
d is for diction
D is for Diction
  • choice of words an author uses to tell his/her story
  • helps you figure out what you should think about what’s happening in the story and about the theme.
  • Helps you identify other literary techniques
ch is for characterization
Ch is for Characterization
  • look at the imagery, diction, tone, symbolism, and other literary devices used to describe those characters.
  • Sometimes the character’s journey is connected to theme development
i is for irony
I is for Irony
  • Just because there’s irony doesn’t mean the text is a satire
  • Must pay attention to catch
  • Usually extremely important when figuring out theme.
  • 3 TYPES:
    • Verbal: a character or narrator is saying one thing but meaning something else.
    • Situational irony: when something completely opposite of what is expected happens
    • Dramatic Irony: when the reader knows more than the characters
m is for metaphor
M is for Metaphor
  • comparisons that show how two things that are not alike in most ways are similar in one important way
  • Can be a single image or carry throughout the text
  • Example:
    • Her eyes were stars.
    • Alike in no other way except for the sparkle
p is for personification
P is for Personification
  • giving human traits to inanimate, non-human objects
  • Examples: any Pixar movie character
    • Wall-E
    • The crazy robots from Wall-E
    • Nemo
    • Buzz Lightyear
s is for structure and
S is for Structure and….
  • The order in which ideas in a story are presented for you
  • Consider:
    • Is the story chronological or does time skip around?
    • Is something repeated at the beginning or the end?
  • Consider the difference between:
    • “And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light.”
    • “And so I step up, into the light; or else the darkness within.”
more structure and
…more Structure and…

There are several structural techniques.

  • Justaposition: the author seems to be indirectly comparing two elements of a text side by side in a story.
    • EX: Montag and Mildred with the books
  • Flashback: the story suddenly pauses to tell a story about something that has already happened; usually a character’s memory of something
  • Stanza division: happens in poetry; pay attention to what ideas are included in which stanzas and if there’s a reason they’re in that order
  • Boxed narrative/frame: when a certain image, idea, sentence or other element occurs at the beginning of a story and at the end
  • Techniques like imagery and symbolism will generally be used to create a particular setting.
  • Setting can also help enhance mood.
  • Sometimes can clue us into theme as well
  • Examples of key settings
    • the woods where Montag floats in the river and dreams of being technology free
    • The pond in Central Park that Holden almost falls into
    • the train station in “Hills Like White Elephants”
they all work together
They All Work Together!!!
  • All of these techniques and features can be key in helping you analyze a text for a theme.
  • You must notice them and annotate for them when you read.
  • You will not always find all of them.
do you look like him
Do you look like him?

If you do, ask your question.

my question for you

Take out an index card.

Respond to the prompts below.

Turn in before you leave.

My Question for you…

- Explain what you learned about how identifying and analyzing literary techniques and features can help you interpret the theme of a work?

- Choose one of the techniques, and explain how that technique can help you identify the theme of a text.