Project: Literary Device Glossary

(Click to enlarge)

Part of being successful in this class and on the AP exam is being able to write and talk confidently and precisely about literature. The only way a student can do this is if they know the lingo. Students need to be able to, not only recognize when an author has made a particular decision, but also be able to communicate their findings to others.


You are to familiarize yourself with the definitions of the provided list of literary devices. As you encounter the devices in your reading, you are to research and write glossary entries. Submit weekly entries for scoring. Keep all scored glossary entries in a safe place and you will submit them all together at the end of the term.


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.


- Demonstrate an understanding of how language functions in different contexts.
- Demonstrate how a knowledge of language helps to interpret a text for meaning and style
- Demonstrate how a knowledge of language helps to comprehend more fully when reading.


>> Remember to use academic language (e.g. complete, punctuated sentences, no slang, etc.).
>> You may only submit one (1) entry per week maximum.
>> You are responsible for keeping all of your literary devices once they have been graded. 
>> You may revise every entry one time (and submit them, together with new entries, on any Wednesday)
>> Upon final submission, plagiarized entries will result in a zero (0) for the entire trimester literary device glossary assignment. 
>> All entries must be typed, edited, and in the correct format in order to be graded. (See below) If they are incomplete or in the wrong format they will be returned to you. Upon resubmission, they will be considered “revised.” 


Note: Feel free to use the template found at the following web address:
>> Font Size: 12-point font
>> Font Style: Ariel, Times New Roman, Calibri, or Cambria
>> Margins: Default (1” all sides)
>> Line Spacing: Single Space
>> Text Alignment: Everything is left aligned - not justified, not indented.
>> Paragraph Spacing: Add a space between paragraphs and between sections.
>> Header, Title Page, and Title: Do not use a header, title page, or title. 


You can only use each device one time per trimester. Your entries should come from the Device Options List. You should not feel completely restricted to the list, but the words listed should represent the bulk of the entries you record. Any device that you wish to use that is not on the list should be cleared with your instructor first. 


Literary criticism is based in part on the assumption that writing is a purposeful activity and that good writing is not merely a “happy accident”. In this assignment, you are trying to discover and explain the author’s purpose in employing these particular language resources at a given point in the work. How does this particular device enhance what the writer is conveying? 

Your glossary entries will be composed of four main section:

Identification: Assignment title, your name, and class period in the upper left. 

Device Name + Definition: Use the definitions found one website at Literary Devices: Definitions and Examples or from the handout of the same name. If you don’t understand the term look it up someplace else. The most important thing is that you truly understand the definition.

Context: This sets up the text portion you are about to discuss. In other words, you need to briefly introduce the general circumstances in your example. This does not mean you need to summarize the entire plot of a novel - just get right to it. You know you are on the right track, if you start with “In this part...”

Example Text: Author, Text Source, A quotation. Use page number after the source(s) if possible.

How The Device Works In The Text: (In this section, you are writing about the text.) Discuss in clear and specific terms exactly how the literary device contributes to the passage/poem/novel  as a whole. In other words, how does the literary device reinforce and contribute to what is occurring in the larger context? Remember that merely pointing out that the literary device exists does not mean that you understand its effect on the passage as a whole. You have to be specific about its function.

Author’s Stylistic Choice: (In this section, you are writing about the author and the reader.) Of all of the language that the author could have used to tell his or her story, why did they decide to use this specific literary device? Why didn’t they just use plainer language? What happens inside the head of a reader?    


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J Andy Kane,
Sep 5, 2014, 1:10 PM