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What is difference Between Essay, Story, Poem And Drama



One might ask what is difference between a short story and an essay or difference between play and poetry. Well in today’s world where everything can be found on internet but not relied upon, people come up with different answers. Most of them are not close to what really makes these literary works different.

Literary devices of story

Short story

The first thing which is different about a short story and an essay is that they are two different genre’s. A essay is entirely based on fact. Everything you write in a essay should be a fact or else it would not be qualified as an essay. While essays are based on fact, short stories are based on fiction. Any time an individual uses fiction in his work of literature it starts qualifying into a more or less a story.

The elements that go into making a short story are:-

1) Narrator- Narrator is the one who tells the story. There are two types of narrator, a) Character in the story narrator, this type of narrator holds a biased point of view. He/ She only knows limited amount of story. b) Omniscient narrator- Is a narrator who knows everything, since he is not involved in the story he holds an unbiased point of view.

2) Characterization- The act of describing or creating traits of a character. This description may include appearance, behavior, mind set, interest, way of speaking and other manners.

3) Plot- Plot is step by step of event that make of the story. Every story does not need to or has to have a climax

4) Setting – Setting is the time and place of the story. It gives you an idea what time of the year, what year, probably, season, time of the day, etc. While place gives you an idea where the story is taking place. Country, state, terrain, in a house, what room, etc are al include in setting.

5) Perspective- Point of view. Point of view is how the story is seen as. Point of view can be of 1 character or many other character or various other entities.

While these are the literary elements that go into making a story and give story its distinguished traits.

Use these guidelines and you should get A+



Unlike the short story, essay has its own set of literary devices as well. There are total of eight literary devices used to create an essay. They are as follows:-

1) Narration:- A message that tells the occurrence of events step by step in the essay.

2) Description

3) Example

4) Compare/ Contrast

5) Cause and Effect

6) Definition

7) Classification

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8) Division

Since now you know the elements that go into creation of an essay which are pretty much self explanatory, I am sure you find the above devices used in literary essay to be quite familiar.

The most repeated mistake when people compare these two genres’ is narration and narrator to be one and the same thing. Please do not get them mixed up.

A story has a narrator because it’s a fiction and therefore a narrator is required to tell the story step by step.

But, in a essay which is based on facts the author is one who relays you the essay , so narration is used instead of narrator.


Since we have covered essay and short story it’s time to move to the next genre, Poetry.

Poetry has one of the most unique structures in all the genres. Poetry’s are written in stanzas rather than paragraph. Poem for some reason also held a more power emotional response because of the literary devices used in them. Like other genres poetry has its own set of literary elements as well.

The literary devices for poem are as follows:-

1) Tropes: Also known as figure of speech

2) Metrics: Metrics are the reason poem has rhymes and rhythms. Metrics are also made of iambic meter.

3) Sonics: Are related to sound of the poem.

4) Forms: Forms are the reason poetry are written in stanzas.

The most interesting part of the poetry is, it can be based on fact or fiction


Unlike poetry and essay the Play/ Drama genre are similar to the short story. In the sense that dramas are work of fiction, regardless how much it is based on facts. Drama is similar to short story because drama/ play has the same literary devices.

1) Characterization

2) Setting

3) Plot

4) Perspective.

See something missing? yes,the narrator is missing. But why would you need a narrator in a play? Everything in a play / drama is meant to be heard and seen.

Plus, the perspective in a drama is not particularly viewpoint of characters or narrators it’s of the director of the play.

The setting is developed by using lights, fans, stage decoration etc. Which are very essential part of the setting in a drama


Having known now what are difference between the genre's one should be able to distinguish between these genre's. If you are in school or college this article should certainly help you out.

If you have any question, arguments or think any stuff is worth editing i am open to all suggestion.

Thank You!


Ruqia on August 22, 2019:

Thankyou you helped alot

madhu on March 22, 2015:

Thank you sooo much.i was really tierd with searching about these things. Finally you gave the answer

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