The AP literary works exam is draft to test your capability to analyze literature. That way you"ll have to know just how to usage analytical tools, like literary elements, to uncover the definition of a text.

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Because literary aspects are existing in every piece of literature (really!), they"re a great place to start once it comes to occurring your analytical toolbox. In this article, we"ll provide you the literary element definition, define how a literary facet is various from a literary device, and look in ~ the top nine literary aspects you need to know before taking the AP literary works exam.

So let"s acquire started!


What space Literary Elements?

Take a minute and also imagine structure a house. (Stick with us, here.) What are few of the points that you would certainly absolutely have actually to include in bespeak to do a house? few of those non-negotiable aspects are a roof, walls, a kitchen, and also a bathroom. If you didn"t have these elements, girlfriend wouldn"t have actually a house. Heck, you can not also have a building!

A literature element"s an interpretation is pretty similar. Literary aspects are the things that all literature—whether it"s a news article, a book, or a poem—absolutely need to have. as with a house, the elements might be arranged slightly differently...but in ~ the finish of the day, they"re generally all present and also accounted for. Literary aspects are the an essential building blocks of writing, and also they play crucial role in helping united state write, read, and understand literature.

You could even say that literary facets are the DNA that literature.


How Is a Literary aspect Different from a literary Device?

But wait! You"ve additionally learned about literary device (sometimes referred to as literary techniques), which writers use to produce literature!

So what provides a literary element different from a literature device?

Let"s go ago to ours house metaphor for a second. If literary aspects are the must-have, cannot-do-without parts of a house, then literary devices are the optional decor. Possibly you like a classic style (a trope!), or probably you"re more of an eclectic kind of human (a conceit)! Just because you decorate your residence like a crazy human doesn"t make it any less of a house. The just means you have actually a...unique an individual style.

Literary tools are optional methods that authors pick and also choose from to form the style, genre, tone, meaning, and also theme of their works. For example, literary gadgets are what make Cormac McCarthy"s west novel, Blood Meridian, so various from Matt McCarthy"s clinical memoir, The Real physician Will watch You Shortly. Conversely, literature elements—especially the elements that qualified both functions as "books"—are what keep them shelved alongside each other at Barnes & Noble. They"re the non-negotiable points that make both works "literature."


Top 9 Literary aspects List (With Examples!)

Now let"s take it a more in-depth look at the most common elements in literature. Each term in the literary aspects list listed below gives girlfriend the literary element definition and an instance of exactly how the aspects work.


#1: Language

The most important literary element is language. Language is identified as a device of connecting ideas and also feelings through signs, sounds, gestures, and/or marks. Language is the means we share concepts with one another, even if it is it"s v speech, text, or even performance!

All literary works is created in a recognizable language, since one of literature"s main goals is share ideas, concepts, and also stories with a bigger audience. and also since there room over 6,900 unique languages in the world, that way literature exist in loads of various linguistic forms, too. (How cool is that?!)

Obviously, in bespeak to check out a book, you need to understand the language it"s created in. But language can also be vital tool in expertise the meaning of a book, too. because that instance, writers can combine languages to help readers better understand the characters, setting, or even tone. Here"s an example of how Cherrie Moraga combines English and also Spanish in her play, Heroes and Saints:

Look right into your children"s faces. Castle tell girlfriend the truth. They room our future. Pero no tendremos ningún futuro si seguimos siendo víctimas.

Moraga"s beat is around the plight of spain migrant employees in the unified States. By combine English and Spanish throughout the play, Moraga help readers know her characters and also their culture better.


#2: Plot

The plot of a work is defined as the succession of events that occurs from the first line to the last. In other words, the plot is what happens in a story.

All literature has actually a plot of some kind. many long-form literature, choose a novel or a play, complies with a pretty typical plot structure, likewise known as a plot arc. This form of plot has six elements:

Beginning/Exposition: This is the an extremely beginning the a story. Throughout the exposition, authors usually present the significant characters and also settings come the reader.Conflict: similar to in real life, the conflict of a story is the problem that the main personalities have to tackle. There space two species of dispute that you"ll watch in a plot. The significant conflict is the overarching difficulty that characters face. Minor conflicts, ~ above the various other hands, space the smaller obstacles characters have to get over to resolve the major conflict.Rising Action: Rising activity is literally every little thing that happens in a story the leads approximately the climax of the plot. Typically this requires facing and also conquering minor conflicts, which is what keeps the plot moving forward. Much more importantly, writers use rising action to construct tension that concerns a head throughout the plot"s climax.Climax: The climax of the plot is the component of the story wherein the personalities finally need to face and solve the significant conflict. This is the "peak" that the plot whereby all the tension of the rising action finally comes to a head. You can usually identify the climax by figuring the end which part of the story is the moment where the hero will either succeed or completely fail.Falling Action: Falling activity is every little thing that happens after the book"s orgasm but prior to the resolution. This is wherein writers tie up any loosened ends and start pass the book"s action to a close.

If you"ve ever read a shak spa play, climate you"ve seen the plot we outlined above at work. Yet even more modern-day novels, prefer The Hunger Games, likewise use this structure. Actually, you can think the a plot arc choose a story"s skeleton!

But what about poems, you ask? perform they have actually plots? Yes! They have tendency to be a tiny less dense, but even poems have actually things that occur in them.

Take a look at "Do not go gentle into that good night" by Dylan Thomas. There"s certainly stuff continue in this poem: specifics the narrator is telling readers not to accept death without a fight. When this is much more simple 보다 what happens in something like The lord of the Rings, it"s quiet a plot!


#3: Mood

The the atmosphere of a piece of literature is characterized as the feeling or emotion that readers acquire from analysis the native on a page.

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so if you"ve ever read something that"s make you feel tense, scared, or also"ve skilled mood firsthand!

While a story can have an overarching mood, it"s an ext likely that the mood alters from step to scene depending on what the writer is trying come convey. Because that example, the in its entirety mood of a play prefer Romeo and Juliet may be tragic, but that doesn"t average there aren"t funny, lighthearted moment in specific scenes.

Thinking around mood as soon as you read literary works is a great way to figure out exactly how an author wants readers to feeling about particular ideas, messages, and also themes. This lines from "Still ns Rise" by Maya Angelou room a good example of just how mood effects an idea: