Literary elements

Created by bigstar326 

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Metaphor

comparison of two things without using like or as

Simile

comparison of two things using like or as

Personification

human characteristics are given to non-human things

Allegory

story or poem with two meanings: a literal meaning and a figurative (metaphorical/symbolic) meaning

Verbal irony

characters mean the exact opposite of what they say; sarcasm

Dramatic irony

readers know something that the characters do not

Situational irony

the opposite of what is expected occurs

Plot

sequence of a story that has five parts: setting, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement

Setting

time and place of action in a story

Rising action

conflicts are introduced

Climax

turning point of a story (no more conflicts arise after this)

Falling action

conflicts begin to be resolved

Denouement

story is resolved and comes to a close

Characterization

description of a character, either direct or indirect

Oxymoron

pair of opposite words (bright night)

Onomatopoeia

sound effects (crash, bang, boom)

Theme

underlying lesson or moral in writing

Tone

the attitude a writer takes within a work (satiric, ironic, hyperbolic, etc)

Paradox

apparent contradictions which are true

Alliteration

repeated consonant sounds

Assonance

repeated vowel sounds

Elegy

poem that mourns the death of a person or laments something lost

Lyric poem

songlike poem that expresses emotion or thoughts rather than a story

Pun

a play on words with multiple meanings or with words that sound alike but have different meanings

Epiphany

a moment of sudden insight or revelation

Visual imagery

descriptive language that appeals to the sense of sight

Aural imagery

descriptive language that appeals to the sense of hearing

Tactile imagery

descriptive language that appeals to the sense of touch

Olfactory imagery

descriptive language that appeals to the sense of smell

Gustatory imagery

descriptive language that appeals to the sense of taste

Symbol

creature, concept, object, idea with both literal and figurative meanings

Stream of consciousness

writing style that mimics the random flow of thoughts, emotions and memories running through a characters mind

Carpe diem

"seize the day" is a literary theme that urges us to live in the present moment

Foreshadowing

hints or clues an author gives about what is to come later on

Flashback

author remembers the past, but acts like it is happening now

Iambic pentameter

line of poetry made of five iambs (10 syllables) and is the most common verse rhythm of poetry. An iamb is a unit of measure made of one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable

existentialism

a philosophy that suggests we must struggle to create our won meaning and morality in the absence of absolute values; many believe that the universe is indifferent to human suffering

enjambment

continuation of meaning from one line of poetry to the next

caesura

pause of break within a line of poetry, usually indicated by a natural rhythm

sonnet

14-line poem about love, death, and/or time

pastoral poetry

works set in an idealized countryside

exaggeration

extreme overstatement

understatement

extreme sarcasm, saying much less than what you mean

hyperbole

extreme extreme exaggeration

blank verse

unrhymed iambic pentameter

free verse

poetry with no regular meter or rhyme scheme

couplet

pair of rhyming lines in poetry

tercet

triplet or three rhyming lines in poetry

quatrain

a four line stanza or poem usually unified by a rhyme scheme

sestet

a six line stanza or poem, or the last six lines of a Petrarchan (Italian) sonnet

octave

an eight line stanza or poem, or the first eight lines of a Petrarchan (Italian) sonnet where the rhyme scheme is abbaabba

satire

writing that ridicules human weakness, vice, or folly in order to cause social reform

ode

complex, long lyric poem on a serious subject

journal

record of events, kept regularly by an eyewitness or participant

chronicle

historical account of specific events told in chronological order

metaphysical conceits

especially complex and ingenious figures of speech that make surprising connections between two seemingly extremely dissimilar things

tragedy

depicts serious events where the protagonist (usually high-ranking and dignified) comes to an unhappy end

tragic hero

a character of high status who possesses a tragic flaw

tragic flaw

a great weakness that causes the tragic hero's downfall

catastrophe

the ruin, devastation, calamity caused by the tragic hero's tragic flaw

catharsis

figurative cleansing of emotions caused by the resolution of catastrophe

aside

private words a character speaks to the audience or to another character which are not heard by others onstage

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