Literary Elements

The Language of Literature

Approaches to Annotating

Annotating a text is an important step in crafting a response to literature. Especially with prose, but also with literature, you cannot be expected to remember the whole text and then use this information to coherently respond to it (terrible sentence).


  1. Use a pencil to “read”. Follow along the page with the tip so you are always ready to annotate.
  2. Underline features, interesting vocabulary, connections to other parts of the text you notice
  3. If it is not obvious why you have underlined the text, make a note in the margin. This might be a word that connects to a theme, a characters name, or a brief explanation.
  4. Develop a system of symbols and abbreviations for common elements. eg. met., sym., all., sim.

Literary Elements in Things Fall Apart

Choose 1 of the following elements

  • Fire
  • Locusts
  • Drums
  • Ikemefuna described as “an ill-fated boy”
  • Murder of the sacred python
  • Chi
  • Kola Nut
  • Mr. Brown
  1. Locate a relevant section of the text where this is discussed.
  2. Photocopy this section (or copy if it is short)
  3. Annotate the section
  4. Form an opinion regarding its significance
  5. Decide whether your element is a literary device. You might like to use this glossary of literary terms to help you.

Image: ‘drumband

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