The words of poetry

A composition in verse in called a poem. Its basic structural unit is the line, which can be arranged in different kind of stanzas: the couplet( 2 lines), the tercet (3 lines), the quatrain( 4 lines), the sestet (6 lines) and the octave(8 lines). There are different types of poem such as an ode, a ballad or sonnet; it can be about any topic and it always have a message, a tone and a mood. Sometimes it presents a rhythm and a meter and usually are employed language devices, used to convey images that explain the meaning of the poem , and sound devices, images created through sound.
English is stress-timed: stress is much more important to rhythm than syllables. Meter is the regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables, measured in feet. Poem written without a meter are said to be in free verse. The unstressed words are articles, conjunctions, prepositions, auxiliary verbs and pronouns, while the stressed words are main verbs, noun, adjectives and adverbs. They all can be combined in different patterns: a stress- unstressed patter is called trochee, while an unstressed- stress pattern is called iamb. For centuries, the iambic pentameter has been the most common meter in English poetry.

Sound devices

Rhyme: Poems rhyme when the last word of two or more lines ends with the same sound. Rhyme is identified by a letter of the alphabet and they create a pattern called rhyme scheme. It is often used to mark the end of the line.
Run-on line: Is the English word for enjambment, it’s a line that ends in the middle of a phrase and the meaning break comes in the next line.
Caesura: It’s a pause in the middle of a line shown by a punctuation mark.
Assonance: It’ s the repetition of the same vowel sound in two stressed syllables which are near to each other.
Alliteration: It’s the repetition of the same initial consonant sound in consecutive words.
Onomatopoeia: It’s the formation and use of words whose sound illustrates their meaning.
Refrain: It’s the repetition of lines in the course of a poem, very common in ballads.

Language Devices

Simile: It’s the comparison between two things made explicitly through the use of comparison’ words such as “like” or “as”. It’s used to introduce an element of surprise or to make the meaning easier to understand.
Metaphor: It’s the comparison between two elements basically dissimilar without the use of specific connective words.
Personification: It’s the attribution of characteristics of human beings to objects.
Symbol: They are places, actions, people and things who have a literal meaning and also stand for something else.
Allegory: It’s the union of several symbols in a totality, often a story.
Oxymoron: It’s the combination of two usually contradictory things.
Hyperbole: It’s an exaggeration of a quantity, a quality or a concept used in the everyday language.
Litotes: It’s the opposite of an hyperbole, it’s a rhetorical understatement.
Satire: It’s the use of humor or irony to criticize someone’s behavior.
Irony: It’s used to add emphasis; as a literary tool, it doesn’t represent an open attack on the subject. There are 3 types of irony: verbal irony(= the writer says something but he means something completely different) , dramatic irony(=the audience perceive something that characters don’t know), and situational irony(=a discrepancy between the expected consequences of something and what actually happens).
Humour: It just evokes laughter in the audience.

The words of drama

The main elements of drama are the playwright, the addresser, the audience, the addressee, actors, musicians and the director, the performance, and the text, the message.
A play is usually composed of acts, divided in scenes. For example, Shakespeare’s plays are made up of 5 acts: introduction, development, turning point, complication and resolution.
Tragedies are usually preceded by a prologue, that introduce the main themes and the setting, and are followed by an epilogue. The language used is usually intense and varied who can comes from poetry, prose or everyday life
The main support of drama is dialogue, that creates the action, gives us information about the past and let us know the relationships between the characters. We talk about a soliloquy when the speaker is alone on stage and about a monologue when there are others characters, ignored by the speaker. They are extremely useful in order to understand the thoughts, the plans for the future and the reactions of the protagonist.
Asides are short comments made by the speakers in or between dialogues who helps us understanding the real nature of the speaker, the main topic of the conversation and also to create humor.
Stage directions are information provided by the playwright to the director about the acting style and the setting .
In drama, we usually have a hero, a heroine and an antagonist, usually a villain, protagonist’s main opponent. To analyze a character , it’s fundamental to take in consideration how he’s described by the writer and how he develops during the play.


It became popular in the ancient Greece and the protagonists aren’t common people. There’s always a prologue, introducing the setting and the main themes, the heroes are knights or warriors and they all fall from a position of power and dies at the end of the play. The fall may be due to inner weakness or external circumstances. Tragedy always respect the Aristothelic units ( one place, one action, one time) and there’s always a catharsis, a purification reached thanks to the experience of greats feelings.


It became popular in the ancient Greece, the protagonists are common people and the story are set in everyday life. It always starts misfortunes, but they end with an happy ending since its aim is to amuse. The plot is all about love, misunderstanding and witty dialogues.

The words of fiction

Novel: It’s a narrative text and the most common form of fiction in 18th century; it’s the genre of middle class, the rising class of that period. It’s written in prose in order to be understood and appreciated by more people. It’s composed by several elements such as characters, action and plot.
Plot: It’s made of a sequence of events, not necessarily disposed in a chronological order.
Story: The real order of the events.
The plot can be divided in 4 stages: the introduction of the story, the breakdown, the development to the climax and the end, where the initial situation can be restored or changed.
The setting is the place, that can be interior or external and is accurately described, and the time, which can refer to the day, the season or the year, of the story.
The context within the story takes place is extremely important.
Narrator: It’s an essential element of the novel, the speaking voice. It may be internal or external: the internal is a character of the story while the external narrator is a voice outside of the story . The narrator may use the first-person or the third-person narration. He always employs narratives modes like narration, dialogues and description.
First-person narration: He employs the “I” mode to bring the reader closer to the ideas of the narrator and to convey an impression of reality.
Third-person narration: It tells the story from the outside and it can be obtrusive, the narrator gives his opinion about the events and he comments, or unobtrusive, he simply describes what happens.
Omniscient narrator: He knows everything about the characters, how they feel and what they think.
The point of view is the angle from which the story is told, it can be the one of a character or it can be neutral.
Characters: They are the people who appear in the novel, their presentation can be direct (= made through a description of the author) or indirect(= the reader has to discover it through dialogues, his reaction and his thoughts). Depending on their importance in the story, they can be major or minor characters; they can also be round or flat. A flat character is also known as “type”: he has just one characteristic which defines him and he doesn’t change, while a round character grows throughout the novel and his changes affects the story.
Theme: It’s the idea the author tries to convey , it can be explicit, indicated by the writer, or implicit, it must be discovered by the reader. It contains the message whose interpretation let us understand the meaning of the text. Every novel has a main theme who can be divided in sub-themes or motifs.
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