Style in literature: definition, types & examples

I. What is Style?

While you may not think about it all the time, there’s a lot more lớn literature than storylines & nội dung. In literature, style is the way in which an author writes and/or tells a story. It’s what sets one author apart from another & creates the “voice” that audiences hear when they read. There are many important pieces that together ảo diệu a writer’s style; lượt thích tone, word choice, grammar, language, descriptive sầu technique, và so on. Style is also what determines the mood of a piece of literature, so its importance is huge across all genres. Different types of literature need different styles, and different styles need different authors!

Truthfully, style can be hard to define because it varies so much from each piece of literature to the next. Two authors can write about the exact same thing, & yet the styles of the pieces could be nothing lượt thích each other because they would reflect the way each author writes. An author’s style might even change with each piece he writes. When it comes lớn style, what comes easy for one author might not work for another; what fits one genre may not fit for others at all; what thrills one group of readers may bore another. A reader might love sầu a certain genre or subject, but dislượt thích an author’s style, và vice versa. In fact, it’s not unusual khổng lồ hear people say about a novel or a movie, “it was a good story, but I didn’t like the style.”

While there are specific types of styles of writing, this article will focus on style’s overall role in literature.

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II. Examples of Style

Rather than merely sharing information, style lets an author cốt truyện his nội dung in the way that he wants. For example, say an author needs khổng lồ describe a situation where he witnessed a girl picking a flower:

She picked a red rose from the ground.Scarlet was the rose that she plucked from the earth.From the ground she delicately plucked the ruby rose, cradling it in her hands as if it were a priceless jewel.

As you can see, there are many ways to lớn nội dung the same basic information. An author can give a short and simple sentence, like #1. Or, he could use more descriptive sầu words và a poetic sentence structure, lượt thích in #2, with phrases like “scarlet was the rose” instead of “the rose was red.” Finally, an author could use imagery to paint a picture for the audience & add feeling lớn the sentence, like in #3.

In another example, let’s say the writer is now assigned the job of describing that same rose in a short poem. Read these two:


These poems use two different styles to lớn describe the same thing: a rose. The poem on the left rhymes and has a simpler, more direct style with easy vocabulary. The poem on the right, however is more descriptive sầu và expressive—more “poetic”—and that’s because of tone & word choice. The first poem describes the rose in a basic way, while the second seems khổng lồ express the author’s understanding of a rose. For instance, the author chooses more specific colors, lượt thích “emerald” & “scarlet” instead of “green” & “red,” và describes the rose by relating it lớn other things, like “smooth velvet.” The style of the first poem would be great from young readers, while the second is definitely targeting an adult audience. That’s because, as you can see, some of the language of the second poem would be too difficult for young readers lớn understand.


III. Parts of Style

Here are some key parts that work together to make up a piece of literature’s style:

Diction: the style of the author’s word choiceSentence structure: the way words are arranged in a sentenceTone: the mood of the story; the feeling or attitude a work createsGrammar and the use of punctuationCreative devices like symbolism, allegory, metaphor, rhyme, & so on

Some authors combine these factors khổng lồ create a distinct style that is found in all of their works, like Dr. Seuss (see Examples in Literature). Other authors, however, may choose to write each of their works in a different style.

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IV. Importance of Style

Style is what distinguishes one author from the next. If everyone used the same style, it would impossible for any writer or piece of literature lớn truly stand out. While style has a role in all types of literature, its role in works of fiction is what’s discussed most often. That’s because style is an essential, defining thing for fiction authors—so stories have been & will be retold over & over, but it’s an author’s style that can make a work truly stand out và change the way a reader thinks about what literature. In fact, it’s really impossible to imagine what literature would be like without any style.

V. Examples of Style in Literature

Example 1

As shown above, fairy tales are great examples of how the same story can be told in very different ways. Since they have sầu been retold over và over for centuries, the style of their telling changes from one speaker or author to the next. Let’s take the classic fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood.” Here is a selection from the original written version of tale by Charles Perrault:

Little Red Riding Hood set out immediately to lớn go to her grandmother, who lived in another village. As she was going through the wood, she met with a wolf, who had a very great mind khổng lồ eat her up, but he dared not, because of some woodcutters working nearby in the forest. He asked her where she was going. The poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous lớn stay & talk to lớn a wolf, said to lớn him, “I am going lớn see my grandmother and carry her a cake and a little pot of butter from my mother.”

Now, here is a selection from the version found in Grimm’s Fairy Tales:

The grandmother lived out in the wood, half a league from the village, & just as Little Red Riding Hood entered the wood, a wolf met her. Red Riding Hood did not know what a wicked creature he was, & was not at all afraid of hyên.

‘Good day, Little Red Riding Hood,’ said he.‘Thank you kindly, wolf.’‘Whither away so early, Little Red Riding Hood?’‘To my grandmother’s.’‘What have you got in your apron?’‘Cake and wine; yesterday was baking-day, so poor sick grandmother is khổng lồ have sầu something good, to make her stronger.’

These two versions of the same part of the story are very different from each other. They both give sầu the same overall information, but the Perrault’s version is shorter và less detailed, with very little dialogue. Actually, Perrault’s story ends after Red Riding Hood is eaten, while the Brothers Grimm’s story continues—it’s several times as long & includes more imagery, more dialogue, & even more characters. The point of Perrault’s story was to teach a lesson, while the point of the story found in Grimm’s Fairy Tales was more for entertainment—so; each author developed his own style based on his purpose.

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Example 2

Some authors và works remain famous in literature because of their completely quality or even unusual styles. For instance, everybody toàn thân knows the works of Dr. Seuss. From How the Grinch Stole Christmas to lớn The Cat in the Hat khổng lồ One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Dr. Seuss’s quirky, one-of-a-kind stories & poems are household names, & that’s because of his style. Here’s a classic example of Dr. Seuss’s work:

“I know some good games we could play,”Said the cát.“I know some new tricks,”Said the Cat in the Hat.“A lot of good tricks.I will show them to you.Your motherWill not mind at all if I do.”

Like in this passage from The Cat và the Hat, Dr. Seuss uses unusual sentence structures & fun-sounding rhyme schemes khổng lồ make his stories silly & memorable, và it works. He also includes all kinds of strange vocabulary in his stories, sometimes even making up words và creatures khổng lồ fit his rhymes, whereas other authors would simply change their vocabulary khổng lồ follow sounds.

VI. Examples of Style in Pop Culture

Example 1

Sometimes, two artists with very different styles can tell the same story. For instance, in 2012 two movies came out that each told a version of a well-known story, but the two were basically opposites of each other. Snow White and the Huntsman & Mirror Mirror are both adaptations of the classic fairy tale Snow White. But, while Mirror Mirror is a light-hearted comedy adventure for families, Snow White và the Huntsman is a dark fantasy adventure that would terrify a young viewer. Their trailers capture how vastly different two versions of one story can be:

Chuyên mục: literature