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Elements of Style and Technique
Transcript of Elements of Style and Technique
which? The author's word choice, sentence structure, figurative language, and sentence arrangement all work together to establish MOOD, IMAGES, and MEANING in the text. Style describes HOW the author portrays events, objects, and ideas. An author's literary style is like that
of a person's fashion style... Most writers don't self-consciously try to come
up with a style. But style comes naturally from
the choices writers make when they put words
on a page.
A long word or a short one? A simple sentence
or one that's long and complex? A sarcastic and biting tone or one that is passionately sincere? **This is one of the most important ways an author creates mood.
Does the author use everyday language and slang or academic language?
Are the words technical or flowery? Are the sentences long or short?
Why do they change?
Do they contain fragments?
Are the sentences simple or complex?
What kind of rhythms do the sentence create?
Is the word-order straightforward or unconventionally crafted? I would not like them
here or there.
I would not like them
I do not like
green eggs and ham.
I do not like them,
Sam-I-am.... Poem 1 who are you, little i
(five or six years old)
peering from some high
window; at the gold
of november sunset
(and feeling: that if day
has to become night
this is a beautiful way) Poem 2 the way a writer uses language
an author's "fingerprint" on the work
the literary element that describes the ways that the author uses words
the writer's unique way of communicating ideas Clothes can be formal and dressy, informal and casual, preppy, athletic, and so forth.
Specific words, structures, and arrangements create the same effect in a piece of writing. During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing along on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.
-from "The Fall of the House of Usher" The adjectives and adverbs in this passage help set the mood. They color the objective facts of the setting with emotion. The clouds are not just low (a fact); they are OPPRESSIVELY low (an opinion or emotional response).
What other fact has an opinion that tags along with it? Poe's writing style is to "lay it on thick" with dark, heavy adjectives and adverbs. Answer the following: What best characterizes Poe's word choice in the passage?
a. simple words
b. difficult words
c. technical words
d. nonsensical words
Which word best describes the mood of the selection?
d. peaceful Which word best characterizes the sentences in this passage?
c. digressive (unrelated)
d. fragmented Heads, heads--take care of your heads!" cried the loquacious stranger, as they came out under the low archway, which in those days formed the entrance to the coach-yard. "Terrible place--dangerous work--other day--five children--mother--tall lady, eating sandwiches--forgot the arch--crash--knock--children look round--mother's head off--sandwich in her hand--no mouth to put it in--head of a family off--shocking, shocking!
-from The Pickwick Papers 3. Figurative Language and Sound Devices Figures of Speech--Expressions that are not literally true but that suggest similarities between usually unrelated things.
**simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification, irony, idiom, oxymoron
Sound devices--Techniques that create a rhythm or beat while reading aloud.
**repetition, rhyme, onomatopoeia, alliteration What type of figurative language does the author use in the second sentence?
In the morning the sun was up and the tent was starting to get hot. Nick crawled out under the mosquito netting stretched across the mouth of the tent to look at the morning.
-from "Big Two-Hearted River" 4. Dialogue *Speech between characters *How often does dialogue
tell the story?
*Do we see whole conversations or just fragments?
*Does the conversation use slang or is it formal? What does the dialogue tell the reader about the setting and characters? 5. Flashback *Scenes that go back in time to "catch up" on history. 6. Point of View *the perspective of the narrator: first, third-limited, third-omniscient 7. Allusion *a subtle reference to something: text, myth, symbol, famous figure, historical event, quotation. 8. Imagery and Symbolism *Imagery--Appealing to the five senses
*Symbolism--Representation of something else This is a symbol