Features to Consider


This is a list of literary features that you might consider writing about in your essays. The list is broken into structural, linguistic and paralinguistic features, although not every feature is relevant to every kind of text. Paralinguistic features, for example tend to be more relevant to drama texts.


Linguistic Features:

·       Sound effects (Alliteration, Onomatopoeia, Sibilance, Fricatives, etc)

·       Symbols and Images (Metaphors, Similes, Personification)

·       Foregrounding – e.g. what’s at the start of lines

·       Monosyllabic vs. Polysyllabic words

·       Complexity of vocabulary (diction)

·       Use of jargon / technical words

·       Connotations of words

·       Sentence complexity

·       Tone of voice

·       Punctuation

·       Pronouns

·       Silences


Paralinguistic Features

·       Position of characters relative to each other – e.g. above, below, sitting, standing, kneeling

·       Movements – away from / towards certain characters / objects / places

·       Body language – arms crossed suggesting anger, etc

·       Looks – at / away from other characters

·       Turn-taking in speech / interruptions

·       Props, setting, lighting and costume

·       Exits and entrances

·       Facial expression

·       Amount of speech

·       Actions

·       Asides


Structural Features:

·       Flow of time – chronological, circular, flashbacks, foreshadowing

·       Use of Narrator (first or third person) / Persona

·       Use of Authorial Intervention

·       Rhyme Scheme, Rhythm and Repetition

·       Order of scenes / events

·       Stanza length / line length

·       Soliloquy, Dialogue

·       Enjambment