Home > Our Design Lab > Skills > Analyzing Literary Elements

Analyzing Literary Elements

Description 

Unlike most textbooks, literature conveys meaning through form and literary tropes as well as through content stated directly.  Formal elements such as line breaks, punctuation, and rhythmic patterns work together with techniques such as allusion, metaphor, and irony to create and enrich meaning.   Students of literature can learn to recognize and interpret these interrelated means of expression in order to arrive at an integrated interpretation of a text.

Benefits 

Through the explicit study of literary elements, students acquire deep and accessible knowledge of the ways in which skilled writers craft interrelated layers of meaning.  They become able to appreciate and enjoy the ways in which form and function interact and enhance one other, and they learn to extract a fuller meaning from a text.  This sort of analysis is essential to a basic understanding of certain texts, and greatly enhances the understanding of other texts.

Content Area Adaptations 

Students will need to be able to analyze literary elements whenever they are reading a text whose meaning does not lie solely on the surface.  The skill is probably unnecessary for most textbooks and academic or news articles, but is critical for more literary texts such as plays, essays, poems, philosophical works, speeches, and biographies.   For example, Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species cannot be well understood without a strong ability to analyze literary elements.

Learning Strategies 

  • Connecting
  • Metacognition
  • Visualizing

Content Areas 

  • ELA

Narrative Text Structure

All readers are better able to understand texts that are familiar to them, both in form and in content. However, many students struggle to identify the various structures that text can take, and they are unable to use a familiar form to provide context for learning. Narrative structure has unique features and conventions, and students can learn...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Launching Into New Content

Expository Text Structure

All readers are better able to understand texts that are familiar to them, both in form and in content. However, many students struggle to identify the various structures that text can take, and they are unable to use a familiar form to provide context for learning. Expository structure has unique features and conventions, and students can...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Launching Into New Content