Types of Literary Devices
Literary devices according to Braiman (2007) “collectively comprise the art form’s components; they means by which authors create meaning through language, and by which readers gain understanding of and appreciation for their works” (https://mrbraiman,home.att.net/lit.htm 1). In other words like any narrative text, poetry construction has a theme, conflicted tension, a place or setting and a poet’s point of view. This lesson will help your students demonstrate this through seasonal poems.
Seasonal poems can incorporate a number of literary devices that include the following:
- Allegory - poetry aspects that are representative or symbolic of something larger such as in the seasonal poem “Home for the Holidays” - The road home loomed long and windy like a tsunami bearing down on the shore’s edges as she got closer to home.” The road becomes symbolic of what’s happening in the driver’s psyche and creates immediate conflict as she gets closer to home.
- Anthropomorphism - Remember “Alice in Wonderland” and the human characterizations of all of the animals, then remembering this literary device becomes easier. You can see this device in action when inanimate objects or animals in children’s stories walk, talk and have emotions just like human beings. Take this line from the holiday poem above: “At the stoplight, the wind whispered loudly against the closed window, “Turn back, it’s not to late,” before scurrying quickly through the intersection.”
- Foreshadowing - In the holiday poem, the poet is deliberately forecasting an event that will happen as the poem unravels. The reader knows something is going to happen when she reaches her home, “She could see the empty garage a block away as she came to a slow crawl into the driveway.”
- Imagery - descriptive language that creates visualization of place, event, feelings and am amplification of the five senses, “Purple swirls of clouds painted a majestic landscape against the hot-flash yellow-orange hues of the setting sun.”
Use the literary devices described above to produce a seasonal poem. See if you can guess the season, the conflict and which literary devices are used throughout the poem. In the next section, put a Al (Allegory), An (Anthropomorphism), Fo (Foreshadowing) or Im (Imagery) at the end of poem lines that use those particular devices.
Creating a Seasonal Poem: “Home for the Holidays”
Home for the Holidays - Title
1st Stanza: Her alarm clock called out the time startling her into wakefulness, (An)
The seconds ticked as she stuffed her overnight bag beyond its capacity to serve (Fo)
She wanted none of it, the holiday, the loudness of family engagement (Im)
2nd Stanza: As her dorm room door closed behind her, the order of a room unadorned
Provided a stark contrast to liter of Frito bags, empty Dr. Pepper cans
Lounging purposefully on the car’s floor. (An)
3rd Stanza: The road home loomed long and windy like a tsunami
Bearing down on the shore’s edges as she got closer. (Al)
Dark grey clouds at the town’s edge slapped the back of wind gusts (An)
4th Stanza: At the stoplight, the wind whispered loudly against the closed window, (An)
“Turn back, it’s not too late,” before scurrying quickly through the intersection.(An)
She floored the accelerator into the descending veil of an evening sunset
5th Stanza: Purple swirls of clouds painted a majestic landscape against the hot-flash (Im)
Yellow-orange hues of the setting sun as turned left on Arena Drive. (Im)
She could see the empty garage a block away as she came to a slow crawl into the driveway (Fo)
Home for the Holidays, alone yet again, waiting for her family to return home. (Original poem (2009) by the Author of this article).
Teachers can set the tone of the poem to be brooding, festive or fanciful and students can decide on their own tone. Additional questions can be answered in collaborative groupings or reflective journaling: “What is the conflict in this poem?” or “In what lines do you feel the tension?” or “What does the last line mean “alone yet again, waiting for her family to return home?” By allowing students to create seasonal poems for any season, this lesson can be as creative as the poetry and students can learn about literary devices and how to use them in the process.