Literary Terminology for Sophomore Honors English

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64 terms · For Montgomery's Honors English

Alliteration

use of the same consonant at the beginning of each stressed syllable in a line of verse

Allusion

an indirect reference to another work of literature, person, or event

Analogy

drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect

Antagonist

the character who works against the protagonist in the story

Aside

a line spoken by an actor to the audience but not intended for others on the stage

Assonance

the repetition of similar vowels in the stressed syllables of successive words

Bias

a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation

Blank Verse

unrhymed verse (usually in iambic pentameter)

Characterization

achieved through description, thoughts, words, actions, and reactions of characters

Climax

high point of interest or suspense

Colloquialism

spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech

Conflict

opposition in a work of drama or fiction between characters or forces (especially an opposition that motivates the development of the plot)

Consonance

repetition of consonant sounds in succsesive words

Dialect

a variety of speech characterized by its own particular grammar or pronunciation, often associated with a particular geographical region

Diction

style of speaking or writing as dependent upon choice of words

Elizabethan Sonnet

a sonnet consisting three quatrains and a concluding couplet in iambic pentameter with the rhyme pattern abab cdcd efef gg

Epic Simile

A simile developed over several lines of verse, esp. one used in an epic poem.

Epithet

any word or phrase applied to a person or thing to describe an actual or attributed quality

Exposition

introduces the characters, setting, and basic situation (the beginning of a story)

Falling Action

events after the climax, leading to the resolution

Figurative Language

Writing or speech that is not intended to carry literal meaning and is usually meant to be imaginative and vivid.

Flashback

a scene or event from the past that appears in a narrative out of chronological order, to fill in information or explain something in the present

Flat Character

a character who is not very well developed; has few identifiable characteristics

Foil

a character whose personality and attitude contrast sharply with those of another

Foreshadowing

the use of hints and clues to suggest what will happen later in a plot

Free Verse

Poetry that does not have a regular meter or rhyme scheme

Genre

particular variety of art or literature

Heroic Couplet

a couplet consisting of two rhymed lines of iambic pentamenter and written in an elevated style

Hyperbole

a figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or evoke humor

Iambic Pentameter

a common meter in poetry consisting of an unrhymed line with five feet or accents, each foot containing an unaccented syllable and an accented syllable

Imagery

description that appeals to the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste) and creates a specific image in the mind.

Irony

The use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning

Dramatic Irony

(theater) irony that occurs when the meaning of the situation is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play

Situational Irony

an outcome that turns out to be very different from what was expected

Verbal Irony

A figure of speech in which what is said is the opposite of what is meant

Jargon

vocabulary distinctive to a particular group of people

Literal Language

A form of language in which writers and speakers mean exactly what their words denote.

Magic Realism

genre of meticulously realistic painting of imaginary scenes and fantastic images

Metaphor

a comparison without using like or as

Metonymy

substituting the name of an attribute or feature for the name of the thing itself (as in 'head-count' instead of 'people-count)

Mood

the overall emotion created by a work of literature

Motif

a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in a literary or artistic work

Onomatopoeia

using words that imitate the sound they denote

Oxymoron

conjoining contradictory terms (as in 'deafening silence')

Paradox

apparently contradictory statement

Personification

A figure of speech in which an object or animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes

Plot

the story that is told in a novel or play or movie etc.

Poetic Devices

terms used to describe features of a poem

Point of View

a mental position from which things are viewed

Protagonist

the principal character in a work of fiction. the main character.

Pun

a humorous play on words

Resolution

End of the story where loose ends are tied up

Rising Action

events leading up to the climax

Round Character

a character who is well developed by the author and who many characteristics. complex, many sided.

Setting

arrangement of scenery and properties to represent the place where a play or movie is enacted

Simile

comparison using like or as

Soliloquy

speech you make to yourself

Style

the arrangement of words in a way that best expresses the author's individuality, idea, intent

Symbol

anything that stands for or represents something else

Synechdoche

A figure of speech in which a part of something stands for the whole (or less frequently the whole stands for one of its parts.)

Syntax

the grammatical arrangement of words in sentences. sentence structure.

Theme

a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in a literary or artistic work

Tone

the quality of something (an act or a piece of writing) that reveals the attitudes and presuppositions of the author

Understatement

a statement that is restrained in ironic contrast to what might have been said

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