Style

Style and literary standards. All writers have a style, but not all styles are good. Whether a style is good or bad largely depends on whether it is appropriate to the work. What does the style lend to the work as a whole? Style should work with other elements to produce a final unity. Style is the author’s personal expression. It reveals his/her way of perceiving experience and organizing  perceptions. Style includes the author’s choice of words as well as arrangement of words into phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. Elements of style:  diction, imagery, and syntax.

Diction: the author’s choice of words and their effect on the total work. Denotative meaning:  the literal meaning of a word. Connotative meaning:  suggestions and associations resulting from a word or group of words. Several words may have the same denotation, while differing significantly in their connotation. Is a writer’s style basically denotative or connotative?

Imagery:  the evocation of a sensory experience through words.

  • Literal images:  Suggest no change or extension in the meaning of a word; supply specific, concrete details.
  • Figurative images, or figures of speech; similes and metaphors
  • Recurrent images:  Repetitions of the same or similar images throughout a work can reinforce an effect that the author is trying to create.
  • Symbols:  The author’s attempts to represent areas of human experience that ordinary language cannot express;  the symbol evokes a concrete, objective reality while suggesting a level of meaning beyond that reality.
  • Archetypal image:  concept of Carl Jung.  There are images and symbols that are universal, existing from one culture to another, that always have the same meaning.
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