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Examples of Diction

This page contains the definition and examples of diction in poetry.


Definition of Diction: Diction is the selection of words in a work of literature.

Diction is important in poetry because the choice of words in a work can convey feeling, action, or attitude. Diction can be analyzed from both a character and writer's perspective.

Examples of Diction in Poetry


Finding Examples of Diction in Poetry is both hard and easy. Each word in a work of poetry is often calculated and meant to convey feelings and ideas to the reader.



"A frosty winter night - my love,
Chill wind whispers sweet adoration.
Binds my body with the finest wool,
The darkest of sweet sensations."
John Anderson, Night, My Lover

In the above excerpt from Night, My Lover by John Anderson, Anderson chooses to use a great deal of words with 'w' and 's' sounds to convey a soothing peaceful feeling. John could have said "Cold gales talk sugary love", but it would not have conveyed the meaning or feeling of the poem correctly. The choice of one word as opposed to another is Diction.


"This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou wouldst wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again.
And thou be conscience-calmed — see here it is —
I hold it towards you."
John Keats, The Living Hand

When The Living Hand was written by John Keats in 1818, he knew that he was dying. When writing this poem, he did not turn away from his own mortality. By describing silence as "icy" instead of using a word like "piercing" or "utter", he is both showing the severity of the silence as well as conveying the feeling of death. In fact, throughout the poem he chooses to use words such as cold, icy, chill, tomb, and nights which all convey a feeling of death. This choice of diction was critical in the delivery of the message of this work.




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