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Lesson Plan

Style: Defining and Exploring an Author's Stylistic Choices

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Style: Defining and Exploring an Author's Stylistic Choices

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Exploring the use of style in literature helps students understand how language conveys mood, images, and meaning. In this activity, students first find examples of specific stylistic devices in sample literary passages. They then search for additional examples and in a whole-group discussion, explore the reasons for the stylistic choices that the author has made. The examples for this lesson plan include passages from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; however, passages from any literary work can be used for the activities.

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Checklist: Elements of Literary Style: This page provides a checklist students can use to analyze an author's use of style in literary passages.

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Every piece of literature is composed of words, phrases, and clauses. Pieces of literature may even talk about the same basic themes or events. What sets these pieces apart is the particular language that they use. Kelly Byrne Bull contends that "Examining the author's style of writing enables readers to look closely at particular literary elements to consider how the writer crafted the story."  This lesson plan asks students to be conscious and analytical about the language shifts that others make by exploring the use of words, phrases, and clauses in a literary passage.

Further Reading

Bull, Kelly Byrne. "Analyzing Style and Intertextuality in Twilight." English Journal 98.3 (January 2009): 113-116.

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