Choose 1 story and discuss 3 literary devices used in the story, giving clear examples of each and explaining how the devices help the author create the theme of the text.

For Essay 1 

  • Choose 1 story and discuss 3 literary devices used in the story, giving clear examples of each and explaining how the devices help the author create the theme of the text.


  • Choose 1 literary device and show how three separate texts used that device, explaining why you think the author used the device for each text.
  • To successfully complete this assignment, you must have the following elements:
    • An explanation of the theme (overall meaning) of each text you include (short story, play, or poem–and you can choose from anything we have read so far for class.)
    • A clear thesis statement as the last sentence of your introduction paragraph.
    • Clear, appropriate examples of literary devices in the story(ies), etc., that you discuss.
    • At least 600 words overall.
    • Use of MLA format. (I will post examples and a site that will help you do this.
    • An essay clear of major grammar issues. 
    • A fully developed response to the prompt you choose.
  • ENG_102_05 – English Composition IICourse and Unit MaterialsENG-102-05.11202.202110 (ENG_102_05 – English Composition II)Begin Course HereSyllabusAnnouncementsCourse and Unit MaterialsDiscussion BoardMy GradesEMAIL MS. BOZEMANCalendarGadsden State LibraryPage 5 of 7

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Literary Devices

How Writers Make It Happen



Theme is the overall idea or topic a piece of literature is “about”. Most often, the theme of a story or poem is a lesson or thought the writer wants to leave with the reader regarding human nature, society, religion, death, love, or another major concept. Many other literary devices are used to create the theme.


Symbolism is when one thing–usually something concrete–represents something else–usually abstract. For example, a rose might represent love, or a candle blowing out might represent death.

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Conflict in literature takes several forms:

  • Human vs. Human–When two characters are in conflict, either physically, as in a fist fight, or figuratively as in their personalities or morals clash.
  • Human vs. Nature–When a character is fighting nature, as in weather, genetics, or a pandemic.
  • Human vs. Self–When a character has an internal struggle as they try to decide what decision to make, or are having to deal with a situation that clashes with their inner moral compass.


Setting is the WHEN and WHERE a story takes place. For example, a story might take place in a kitchen, in 1982, in Germany, during the winter. ALL of those details are considered part of the setting, and each detail might contribute in a different way to the theme, plot and/or character development.



There are 3 types of irony:

  1. Verbal–this irony is when what someone SAYS and what they MEAN do not add up. For example, a character who really hates another character might say “Oh, yeah, right, I’d LOVE to hang out with her.”
  2. Situational–this type of irony is when situations don’t add up. An example for this irony could be when a character walks in on 2 other characters talking about him behind his back, but then the character they are bashing gets promoted over them.
  3. Dramatic–this irony is similar to situational, but there is one difference: in dramatic irony, there is some aspect of the plot that the character doesn’t know but the reader or viewer does. For example, when a scary movie is on and the girl is running down the middle of the road, and everyone KNOWS she is about to be caught because DUH–why doesn’t she run into the woods???
Point of View

Point of View

The point of view of a story is very important. This is the perspective of the person telling the story. There are several possibilities for POV:

  • First Person: First person is when the speaker or narrator is “I”. For example, “It was a lovely day when I stepped out of my door and into the yard.”
  • Third Person Limited: In this POV, there is a narrator who knows most or all of what a character is thinking, but not all of the characters’ thoughts. For example: “He thought she might enjoy a night out, leaving work until tomorrow. He tried to decide if she’d rather be surprised or decide herself what their adventure would be, but although he could tell she needed a break, he wasn’t really sure what exactly was bothering her. He sent a brief text, but her reply was short, and no emojis hinted at her mood. Frustrated, he decided just to call.”
  • Third Person Omniscient: This narrative POV knows pretty much everything about every character’s inner thoughts and desires. A point of view like this allows a writer to shift between the perspectives of various characters.


An allusion is when one work of art, literature, music, references another well-known work. For example, a song might use a chord progression from another famous song. Or, a painting might add one little detail that looks like another famous painting. In literature, there are often symbols or phrases that are nods to other famous works of literature. For example, if one story said “since woman first tasted that fruit, the world has been changed”, most readers would recognize a biblical allusion. Or, if a story mentioned a “beautiful woman, more beautiful, even, that the ash-covered princess of childhood stories”, most would recognize an allusion to Cinderella.



Anecdotes are brief, illustrative stories that support a point being made. For example, if one character is trying to convince another character to help, she might share an anecdote to guilt trip the other character: “Remember when I was so scared, but I crawled into that cave full of snakes and pulled you out, anyway? If I can do that, you should be able to do this.”

Diction, Rhythm, & Rhyme

Diction, Rhythm, & Rhyme

The sound of words creates the rhythm of a poem or story. As a result, diction is very important. Diction is word choice–writers choose their words very carefully, and the words they choose create the sounds and meanings of the story or poem.

Rhythm is the way sounds work together to create a pattern of stressed or unstressed syllables. The way a writer uses language can create a musical, lyrical sounding pattern of words, or a choppy, staccato rhythm. Depending on the theme the writer is trying to create, the rhythm may be different in different parts of the story. For example, if a writer is creating a fight scene, the words might all be short and harsh sounding. If, instead, the writer is creating a romantic dance scene, the words might be longer words that are musical sounding.

Rhyme is when there are similar sounds created by words, at the ends of the words. There are various types of rhyme, though:

  • End rhyme: typical Mother Goose sounding rhymes: think “Roses are Red…”
  • Internal rhyme: when words might rhyme but they are in the middle of lines on a page, particularly lines of poetry: “She said she’d love me forever/ but my head knew it was a lie.” “said” and “head” rhyme, but not at the ends of the lines.
  • Approximate rhyme: This type of rhyming ALMOST sounds the same, and might sound the same depending of where you live. For example, in the south “You get what you get, and you don’t pitch a fit” would be end rhyme (with “git” and “fit” rhyming), but in the north, it would be approximate (“get” with a short “e” like “egg”, and “fit” are exact matches.).

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 Page 5 of 7Course Calendar for Unit 3″Marks””Ode to Pork””French Fries”French Fries Monologue“Why I Live at the PO”Prompt for ESSAY 1–DUE 9/16

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