Stylistic Elements of Poetry and Prose

Significance of Title
Relationship between title and poem/story; can be literal, symbolic, humorous, ironic, or unrelated.

Theme
Major underlying idea of poem or story (may also be other, secondary or minor themes.)

Conflict
Occurs when two opposing forces meet, may be internal or external.

Setting
The time and place of a literary work that establishes its context.

Persona
The person created by the writer to be the speaker of the poem or story.

Tone
The implied attitude of a writer (or speaker) toward the subject and characters of a work: can often be invoked by the diction used.

Diction
Language speaker/character uses: formal/elevated (thee, thou), middle (standard grammar), or informal (black dialect/slang)

Connatation
The personal or emotional associations called up by a word that goes beyond its dictionary meaning.

Denotation
The dictionary meaning of a word.

Figurative Langauge
A form of language use in which writers and speakers mean something other than the literal meaning of their words. (E.g. hyperbole, metaphor, and simile.)

Alliteration
The repetition of consonant sounds, especially at the beginning of words.

Assonance
The repetition of similar vowel sounds in a sentence or line of poetry.

Hyberbole
A purposeful exaggeration.

Paradox
An apparent contradiction.

Oxymoron
A version of a paradox that combines contradictory words into a compact, often, two-word term.

Personification
Giving nonhuman things human characteristics or qualities.

Metaphor
An association of two completely different objects as being the same thing.

Simile
A figure of speech invoking a comparison between two unlike things using “like,” “as,” or “as though.”

Imagery
Figurative language used to create particular mental images.

Image
A concrete representation of a sense impression, a feeling, or an idea.

Symbol
An object or action in a literary work that means more than itself, that stands for something beyond itself.

Structure
The design or form of a literary work.

Form
The arrangement, manner, or method used to convey the content, such as free-verse, couplet, limerick, haiku…

Free verse
Poetry without a regular pattern of meter or rhyme.

Blank Verse
A line of poetry or prose in unrhymed iambic pentameter.

Meter
The measured pattern of rhythmic accents in poems.

Rhyme
The matching of final vowel or consonant sounds in two or more words.

Rythm
The recurrence of accent or stress in lines of verse.

Irony
Discrepancy between words, spoken or written and their actual meaning.

Sarcasm
A form of verbal irony; presents bitter disapproval under the guise of praise.

Apostrophe
A figure of speech in which a writer (or speaker) calls out to an unseen person, force, or personified idea/object.