English 11 VA SOL Literary Terms Review

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Alliteration

The repetition of identical consonant or vowel sounds at the beginnings of words htat are close together (i.e. descending dew drops).

Allegory

An extended metaphor in which objects, persons, and actions represent things outside of the narrative.

Allusion

Reference to a statement, person, place, event, or thing known from literature, history, religion, myth, politics, sports, science, or the arts

Antagonist

The character, force, or obstacle the protagonist must overcome.

Apostrophe

A technique by which a writer addresses an object, idea, or person who is dead or absent

Aside

Words a character in a play speaks to the audience or another character that are not supposed to be overheard by others on stage

Ballad

Song that tells a story

Character

Person in a story, poem or play (Types: Static, Dynamic, Flat, Round, Caricature, Stereotype.)

Static Character

A charater that does not change through the course of the story

Dynamic Character

A character that changes as a result of the story's events

Flat Character

A character with one or two defining characteristics or traits

Round Character

A character with many different traits or characteristics

Caricature

A character with exaggerated characteristics

Stereotype

A character with fixed characteristics based on group affiliation

Characterization

The direct or indirect process of revealing the personality of a character

Conflict

A struggle or clash between opposing forces (man vs. man, nature, society, self)

Internal Conflict

Struggle within the character's mind.

External Conflict

Struggle against an outside force

Dialect

A way of speaking characteristic of a particular region or group of people

Dialogue

Conversation between two or more characters

Epic

Long story told in an elevated language (usually poetry) which relates the great deeds of a larger-than-life hero who embodies the values of particular society

Flashback

Scene in a narrative that interrupts the present action and reveals what happened at an earlier time

Foil

Character who serves as a contrast to another character to highlight differences between them

Foreshadowing

The use of clues to hint at events that will occur later in a plot

Hyperbole

Figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express a strong emotion or to create a comic effect

Imagery

Writing that appeals to the senses

Irony

Contrast or discrepancy between expectation and reality (Types: Verbal, Situational, and Dramatic)

Verbal Irony

Discrepancy between what is said and what is meant

Situational Irony

Contradiction between what we expect to happen and what really happens.

Dramatic Irony

When the reader knows something a character in a narrative does not know.

Metaphor

A comparison between two things without the use of like or as

Monologue

An extended speech presented by an actor in a drama or narrative

Narrative

A type of writing that tells a story

Onomatopoeia

Use of a word whose sound imitates or suggests its meaning (i.e. buzz, clang, fizz)

Parallelism

Repetition of words, phrases, or sentences that have the same grammatical structure or that state a similar idea

Personification

A comparison in which a non-human thing or quality is given human characteristics

Point of View

The vantage point from which a writer tells a story. (i.e. First Person, Third Person Limited, Third Person Omniscient)

First Person

A point of view in which the narrator is a character who reveals a plot using the pronoun I.

Third Person Limited

A point of view in which the narrator tells the story using he or she, presenting it as it is seen and understood by a single character.

Third Person Omniscient

A point of view in which the narrator is all-knowing and capable of revealing everything about the characters and situation in a story (uses pronouns he or she).

Protagonist

The main or central figure in fiction or drama

Pun

A play on the multiple meanings of a word or words that sound alike but have different meanings

Repetition

A persuasive technique in which the writer reiterates. restates, or repeats certain structures, words or phrases to drive his message.

Rhetorical Question

A persuasive technique in which the writer asks a question with an obvious answer, used to make an indirect implication.

Setting

The time, place, mood, and/or atmosphere of a narrative

Simile

A comparison between two things using like or as

Soliloquy

An unusually long speech by a character onstage alone, expressing inner thoughts and feelings

Symbol

A person, place thing or event that stands for itself and something beyond itself as well

Theme

Central idea of a work of literature

Understatement

A statement in which something is intentionally represented as less than it actually is.

Analogy

A comparison of two things to show that they are alike in certain respects; a type of extended metaphor.

Anecdote

Very brief account of an incident.

Archetypal Characters

A character type that recurs consistently enough in life and literature to be considered universal (i.e. hero, villain, misfit).

Assonance

Repetition of similar vowel sounds followed by different consonant sounds in words close together (i.e. fleet feet sweep by sleeping Greeks).

Consonance

The repetition of final consonant sounds after different vowel sounds (i.e. pitter, patter; rif, raf)

Diction

A speaker or writer's choice of words

Fable

A brief story in prose or verse that teaches a moral or gives a practical lesson about how to get along in life.

Foil

A character who serves as a contrast to another character to highlight differences between them

Idiom

An expression peculiar to a particular language that means something different from the literal meaning of each word (i.e. A Piece of Cake, A Dime a Dozen)

Parable

Brief story that teaches a lesson about life

Tone

The attitude the writer takes toward the reader, a subject, or a character

Tragedy

A play, novel, or other narrative that depicts serious and important events in which the main character(s) comes to an unhappy end

Tragic Hero

The protagonist in a tragedy who is often high ranking and is on some level responsible for his own downfall, due to a flaw in character (tragic flaw).

Aphorism

A brief, cleverly worded statement that makes a wise observation about life. ("An apple a day keeps the doctor away.")

Elaboration

The refinement, support and development of an idea by use of details, reasons and evidence

Gothic

A kind of romantic, scary piece of literature that summons up the mysterious atmosphere suggested by old castles and cathedrals.

Juxtaposition

Placing ideas side by side to make a comparison or contrast

Oxymoron

A figure of speech that combines opposite or contradictory terms in a brief phrase (bittersweet, living death, jumbo shrimp)

Persuasive Techniques

Rhetorical devices used by authors for various effects in order to persuade an audience (i.e. Call to Action, Elevated language, Rhetorical Question, Appeals to Emotion, Appeals to Logic, Repetition, Figurative Language).

Call to Action

A persuasive technique in which the writer exhorts or encourages his or her audience to behave a certain way.

Appeals to Emotion

A persuasive technique in which the writer 'tugs on the heartstrings' of his audience, attempting to sway opinion by resorting to sentiment or passion more than logic.

Appeals to Logic

A persuasive technique in which the writer uses statistics, facts, anecdotes, and expert opinions to sway his audience.

Figurative Language

A persuasive technique in which the writer uses similes, metaphor, hyperbole and allusion to make connections and show his argument in a unique fashion.

Stream of Consciousness

A style of writing that portrays the inner (often chaotic) working of a character's mind

Voice

The distinctive way in which a writer expresses ideas which show his/her attitude, personality and
character.

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