Guide to Literary Terms

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What are the similarities and differences between a poem and a short story?

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One way to examine the similarities and differences between poetry and short stories is to draw a Venn Diagram for yourself an list as many of those ideas in the circles. (Remember that a Venn Diagram has two circles converging at the middle, you list differences on the outsides and similarities where the two meet.) First, poetry is made up of lines of patterned language. The patterns constructed usually have to do with rhyme, rhythm, and meter. That means poetry is measured and analyzed in his construction as well as its meaning. Next, poetry can focus on one suspended moment in time and can be as short as one line or as long as it needs to be.  Short stories, on the other hand, are usually written in prose, apply the elements of a plot and need at least a few paragraphs in order to move characters through the plot. The similarities between poetry and short stories may be, but are not limited to the following elements: Both are shorter than a novel; both can contain characters and dialogue; both focus on one or two themes at a time; and both can apply to different genres like mystery, satire, drama, allegory, etc.

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