Acronyms Explained: TWIST + TP-CASTT

By Emily Swartz

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Analysis of literature and poetry can sometimes be difficult for students to grasp. With the help of acronyms, however, key themes and ideas can be more easily discovered and understood! Two acronyms to start incorporating with your ELA students are TWIST and TP-CASTT. Both highlight important concepts from the work and will help increase overall literary comprehension!


TWIST: Tone, Word Choice, Imagery, Style, Theme

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TWIST is a key method in literary analysis. As shown in the graphic above, TWIST stands for Tone, Word Choice, Imagery, Style, and Theme. All of these topics are important for students to understand while reading and using a storyboard to visualize TWIST can definitely increase their comprehension.

Below is an example of a TWIST analysis for “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. To learn more about the TWIST method and examples of tone words, find our free article here!

The Birthmark - TWIST
Create your own at Storyboard That Disgusted: Aylmer has a grotesque fascination with Georgiana’s birthmark. Instead of seeing it as a mark of uniqueness he see’s it as an imperfection. Degregating, ineludible, sin, sorrow, death, decay, sombre, frightening, trouble, horror. “The crimson hand expressed the ineludible gripe in which mortality clutches the highest and purest of 6 earthly mould...” The sight of the birthmark reminds Aylmer of Georgiana’s near perfection. The narrator uses particular imagery and word choice in his description to illustrate Aylmer’s disdain and disappointment in Georgiana’s lack of perfection. From a Puritan perspective, a possible interpretation for this short passage is that man in flawed and sinful. The lack of perfection he sees in Georgiana is in fact the imperfection in man. T-TONE W-WORD CHOICE I-IMAGERY S-STYLE T-THEME


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TP-CASTT Diagram (Title, Paraphrase, Connotation, Attitude/Tone, Shift, Title, and Theme)
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Another acronym to start using during ELA units is TP-CASTT. This acronym is traditionally used with poetry, but can be applied to other types of literature, including short stories and chapters in novels.

TP-CASTT helps students look at a work of literature at large while also diving into specific details. By analyzing the title twice and including a paraphrase step, students must revisit the idea of topic and practice summarizing as well!

Take it one step further by asking your students to create a storyboard for their TP-CASTT analysis! Storyboarding helps students visualize each topic in the acronym and increases overall understanding of the story.

Here’s a great example of using the TP-CASTT acronym to examine “Sonnet 73” by William Shakespeare. Create one today using our TP-CASTT Poetry Analysis article!

Sonnet 73 TPCASTT
Create your own at Storyboard That T- TITLE P- PARAPHRASE C- CONNOTATION A- ATTITUDE/TONE S- SHIFT T- TITLE T- THEME The narrator might be talking about a special time of year, or a holiday. The narrator is comparing his increasing age to things like fall/winter, twilight/night, and dying embers from a fire. At the end, he says that love and appreciation can increase when time is running out. The narrator’s use of metaphor for the seasons, twilight, and a dying fire seem like he is concerned with the passing of time, and with how time has aged him. The lessening of time creates a sense of urgency to love more strongly and cherish things more closely. Shakespeare uses words like bare, ruined, fadeth, death, ashes, deathbed, expire, and consumed to invoke images of death and time running out. The words are depressing and somewhat desperate. A shift occurs in the final couplet when the narrator points out that the effect of getting older is that one must love the time he has more strongly, and cherish the little things. After reading the poem, my prediction about the title was incorrect, since Shakespeare did not focus on a time of year, but discussed the passage of time that leads to death. Love strongly and spend your time wisely because you never know how much time is left.