A literary element is a component part found in the whole works of literature.
Literary elements are not "used" by all authors; instead, they exist inherently in forms of literature and are derived by the readers of a work in question. This distinguishes them from literary techniques, which are less universal and are used intentionally rather than being emergent characteristics of a literary work. For example, plot, theme, and tone would be considered literary elements, whereas figurative language, irony, or foreshadowing are considered literary techniques.
Literary elements are most frequently used to help discussion on a work or better understand a work of literature. For instance, the New York State Comprehensive English Regents Exam requires that students utilize and discuss literary elements relating to specific works in each of the two essays, much like many other state-level high school exams nationwide.
- narrative mode (point of view)
- narrative structure
- rising action
- "Literary Devices - English". LearnHub Marketing. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "Regents High School Comprehensive Examination in English". Office of State Assessment. New York State Education Department. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
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