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2.4 Identifying techniques in poetry to analyze literary works

3 min readmarch 15, 2023

Ariella Ramjohn

Ariella Ramjohn


AP English Literature 📚

145 resources
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Introduction

Literature works, including poetry, develop different arguments through the support of textual evidence. Authors will intentionally order the way their argument is written by using various techniques. Through this idea, readers are able to establish their interpretations and, thus, grow on their analysis of a poem or any literature work in general.
Literary analysis involves reading a text closely and carefully. Through this in-depth focus, details become more clear and readers are able to make more connections between them. These connections lead to the development of defensible claims regarding a certain aspect from the text. A claim refers to a statement in which requires evidence-based support from the text as defense. A paragraph about literary analysis revolves around structuring a solid claim along with supporting textual evidence.

Literary Devices & Prosody

When identifying techniques in poetry, it is important to consider use literary analysis. Throughout this unit, we have studied many techniques in which authors utilize to develop a well-crafted poem. This lesson in particular is about how focusing on the literary devices and prosody involved in a poem can help build on a reader's literary analysis.

Literary Devices

Rhetorical or literary devices are used heavily in poetry. Writers will employ these devices in specific and intentional ways to craft the purpose or message of their literary work. By thoroughly recognizing these devices, readers are able to develop or build on a central literary analysis of the work. Therefore, it is important to consider the idea that each literary device was structured for a reason- it is up to the reader to make interpretations of what that reason is.
Although the list of literary devices is endless, writers tend to mostly use personification, metaphors, and similes. Since we already discussed metaphors and similes, we will now focus on personification.
When determining whether a phrase or sentence is a form of personification, readers may ask the following questions:
  • Does the author attribute human characteristics to non-human aspects?
  • What is the effect of this use of personification? Is the author sending a message, emphasizing something, etc.?

Prosody

In poetry, prosody refers to the rhythm and pattern consistently used throughout a literary work. Literary analysis involves understanding the prosody of a poem by recognizing meaningful patterns. As discussed throughout the unit, poetry patterns, along with prosody, can help readers understand the purpose of a text- including the impact of a character.
Prosody covers a variety of elements involved in poetry (e.g. sound effects, rhyme, meter, accented syllables, unaccented syllables, intonation, tone, pitch, frequency, etc.). Despite these components, you are not expected to be an expert in all of these areas to understand a poem. Trying to determine the effect of prosody should be the main focus.
When analyzing the effect of prosody, readers may ask the following questions:
  • How would the poem change if the author used a different rhythm strategy?
  • If there is a consistent pattern? What is the purpose? (keep in mind that writers make intentional choices)
  • Why does the poem "sound" a specific way? What is the effect? (some poems may be easier to comprehend if one were to read it aloud)
  • In what ways does the syntax of the poem connect to formulate a rhythm? (sequential order is important: why did the author choose to reveal one detail before another? Does this revelation accentuate any syllabic patterns in the poem?)
Browse Study Guides By Unit
🤔Exam Skills
🌱Unit 1 – Intro to Short Fiction
Unit 2 – Intro to Poetry
🎭Unit 3 – Intro to Longer Fiction & Drama
⚔️Unit 4 – Character, Conflict, & Storytelling in Short Fiction
🌈Unit 5 – Structure & Figurative Language in Poetry
🛠️Unit 6 – Literary Techniques in Longer Works
🏛️Unit 7 – Societal & Historical Context in Short Fiction
🤾🏾‍♀️Unit 8 – Advanced Techniques in Poetry
🚣🏾Unit 9 – Nuanced Analysis in Longer Works

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