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Today’s Standard. 3.6 Identify significant literary devices (e.g., metaphor, symbolism, dialect, irony) that define a writer’s style and use those elements to interpret the work. .

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Today’s Standard

3.6 Identify significant literary devices (e.g., metaphor, symbolism, dialect, irony) that define a writer’s style and use those elements to interpret the work.

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In other words, as an 8th grader you should be able to find and identifytechniques that an particular author uses that are characteristic of that author’s writing. Things other than the basic plot of a piece of fiction.

A student who has accomplished this standard, could say things like the following after reading a book, poem or other piece of literature:

“In J.K. Rowling’s books the theme of good vs. evil is always present. She also uses very creative namesfor her characters, events, and places that add to the enjoyment of the book.”

“One great thing about Mark Twain’s writing is his realistic use of dialect. It places the reader in the southern location where the characters are by letting the reader hear their unique accents and regional word choice. He also uses the river in his book as a symbol to anchor the reader to his theme of freedom.”

“In The Giver, Louis Lowry uses sparse, uncomplicated, bare language to reflect her setting which is the same. The language in the book is not wordy, layered, or complex in order to mirror back a society which is likewise bare and simple.”

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A literary device is a technique (or writing trick) used by an author that enriches the plot line of a story. It adds depth to the basic series of events that pull the reader along and keep the reader interested. Literary devices engage the brain in a unique, different way. They are like little embedded jewels that deepen the reader’s understanding.




Basic Situation


plot line

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There are many different literary devices. Here are some:

Metaphor: a comparison of two unlike things without a word of comparison such as like or as. The comparison of the first thing to the second deepens the reader’s understanding of the first thing.

Example: “Let them be flowers harnessed to a pot and cared for by others, I’d rather be an ugly weed clinging to the side of cliff.

This example has 2 metaphors.

“Them” is being compared to “flowers,” and “I” is being compared to “weed.”

These metaphors help the reader understand that “them” are beautiful and dependent on others, whereas “I” (the writer) is not concerned with beauty, and very independent.

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Symbolism is another literary device used by writers.

A symbol in literature is something that has a meaning beyond the literal or obvious one.

For example, a heart (literally) is a shape like this:

but it also represents love and/or passion.

A heart is a symbol.

In the book The Giver the color red is a symbol. It is a color that the main character Jonas begins to see, but he sees this color because it symbolizes love, pain and passion, things that are lacking in the Giver community. When an author puts symbols in his writing, he or she is using the literary device symbolism.

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dialectis also a literary device.

Dialect is a form of speech used by people in a particular region. For example people from the South have a southern dialect. A writer can spell words to reflect the dialect of his or her characters. Example:

“I ain’t goin’ to warsh no dang laundry th’ smornin’”

This enriches writing because it allows the reader to experience the actual dialect spoken, connecting them to the setting in a unique way.

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ironyis also a literary device.

It is ironic when the opposite of what is expected occurs.

Example: It would be ironic if a fire station burned down.

A writer uses irony when events, people, or situations are the opposite of what is expected.

Examples: If the doctor in a story, who is expected to be a healer, is a killer it is ironic. An interior designer who lives in a messy house with mismatched furniture is ironic. An extremely large character named Tiny is ironic.

This standard requires you to be able to recognize these kinds of literary devices as you read.

©Created by Cathy Shope 2007