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Appreciating Narrative Writing
Descriptive and Figurative Language
Student Objective Identifying figurative and descriptive language will help me figure out what is meant by the text. 4 – use figurative and descriptive language to write a story or poem 3 – identify figurative and descriptive language in multiple texts 2 – identify figurative or descriptive language in a text 1 – define figurative and descriptive language
Which descriptions create images in my mind’s eye?
How do the descriptions make me feel? Descriptive Language
Imagery Imagery refers to descriptions that create mental pictures that appeal to the reader’s five senses. What words help me see, hear, smell, taste, or feel what is being described? Example: “She had burnt-red blush and bone-white eye shadow set off with black eyeliner that stretched back in a line that ran to her hair.”
Tone Tone is often conveyed by vivid words that make the reader feel a certain way. An author’s tone falls into one of three categories: positive, negative, or neutral. Do the descriptions give clues to the author’s tone or attitude? What manner of expression or style does the author use to suggest attitudes about characters, places, or events?
Mood Mood is the feeling, or atmosphere, that the author tries to convey throughout the story. Mood is often conveyed by the story’s setting. What is the feeling or atmosphere suggested by the setting of the story? What overall feeling do I get when reading the story?
Alliteration Alliteration is when authors repeat the same sound or letter in their writing to create a special effect. Is one letter of sound being repeated? What effect does that create?
Irony Irony is language that describes something that is the opposite of what the reader might expect. Am I reading about a situation that is the opposite of what I would expect? Does the author or a character say something the opposite of what he or she means?
Onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia refers to descriptive words that imitate the sounds they describe. Do words sound like the objects or actions they are describing? Can I “hear” what is being described?
Are there creative comparisons of two things that I should not take literally?
Simile A simile is a comparison that uses the words like or as.
Is the author making a comparison using the words like or as?
Metaphor A metaphor also makes a comparison. However, unlike a simile, a metaphor doesn’t say something is like another thing, it says that it is another thing. Is the author comparing two things by saying that one thing is another? Example: “The needle was king in Santa Ana.”
Symbolism A symbol is anything that represents an idea, person, event, or object. Some common symbols come from the animal kingdom: a lion symbolizes bravery, a fox, cleverness. Does one thing represent or stand for another thing? How does the symbol help the author get across the lesson of the story (its theme)?
Personification Personification is when an author gives a nonhuman animal or an object human qualities or traits. Is the author giving human traits and actions to do things that are not human? Example: “The tree was one of my oldest friends.”
Hyperbole Hyperbole is a figure of speech that uses an exaggerated statement. Are there descriptions that are extreme exaggerations?
Pun A pun is a play on words that the sound the same, or almost the same, but have different meanings.
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