A rhyme between two monosyllabic words, for example, "gab" and "blab," or between the final stressed syllables of polysyllabic words, for example, "connive" and "survive"
(1) One thing pictured as if it were something else, suggesting a likeness or analogy between them; (2) an implicit comparison or identification of one thing with another unlike itself without the use of a verbal signal. Sometimes used as a general term for figure of speech.
A figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated (as "crown" in "lands belonging to the crown")
An awkward combination of ideas. A combination of two or more metaphors that together evoke a strange or incongruous image, for example, "This thorn in my side has finally bitten the dust"
A long, tedious, uninterrupted speech during a conversation. A long passage in a play or motion picture spoken by one actor, or an entire play for one actor only
A recurrent thematic element in an artistic or literary work, a dominant theme or central idea.
Like allegory, myth usually is symbolic and extensive, including an entire work or story. Though it no longer is necessarily specific to or pervasive in a single culture—individual authors may now be said to create myths—myth still seems communal or cultural, while the symbolic can often involve private or personal myths. Thus stories more or less universally shared within a culture to explain its history and traditions are frequently called myths.
A lyric poem characterized by a serious topic and formal tone but no prescribed formal pattern. See Keats's odes and Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind."
Omniscient point of view
Also called unlimited point of view; a perspective that can be seen from one character's view, then another's, then another's, or can be moved in or out of any character's mind at any time. Organization in which the reader has access to the perceptions and thoughts of all the characters in the story.
A word that imitates the sound it represents. Also imitative harmony. Such devices bring out the full flavor of words. Comparison and association are sometimes strengthened by syllables which imitate or reproduce the sounds they describe.
Oxymoron is a paradox reduced to two words, usually in an adjective-noun ("eloquent silence") or adverb-adjective ("inertly strong") relationship.
A brief and often simple narrative that illustrates a moral or religious lesson.
A rhetorical device making an assertion which on one level appears to be a contradiction but which on another level may be actually true.
A composition that imitates the distinctive features of a serious piece of writing for comic or satiric purposes.
A poem (also called an eclogue, a bucolic, or an idyll) that describes the simple life of country folk, usually shepherds who live a timeless, painless (and sheep-less) life in a world full of beauty, music, and love.
The use of overly long or indirect speech in order to say something; an expression that states something indirectly
The voice or figure of the author who tells and structures the story and who may or may not share the values of the actual author
A figure of speech in which an inanimate object or an abstract concept is endowed with human features: "blind justice."
Reacting against the traditional master narratives that projected an orderly and coherent universe, the postmodern writers have chosen narrative openness over closure, fiction over truth, and fragmentation over unity and coherence" (Source: Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature) (notes)
A protagonist is considered to be the main character or lead figure in a novel, play, story, or poem. It may also be referred to as the "hero" of a work.
A modification of the concept of realism, or telling it like it is, which recognizes that what is real to the individual is that which he or she perceives. It is the ground for the use of the centered consciousness, or the first-person narrator, since both of these present reality only as something perceived by the focal character.
A verse of poetry consisting of four lines, especially one with lines that rhyme alternately
The art of speaking or writing effectively.
the second of the five parts of plot structure, in which events complicate the situation that existed at the beginning of a work, intensifying the conflict or introducing new conflict.
Complex characters, often major characters, who can grow and change and "surprise convincingly"—that is, act in a way that you did not expect from what had gone before but now accept as possible, even probable, and "realistic."
A work of literature that ridicules vice or folly in ideas, institutions or individuals
A comparison between two distinctly different things, using the word "like" or "as."
Is also known as near rhyme, half rhyme, off rhyme, imperfect rhyme, oblique rhyme, or pararhyme. A distinctive system or pattern of metrical structure and verse composition in which two words have only their final consonant sounds and no preceding vowel or consonant sounds in common.
A term used in Deconstructionist and Post-Modernist criticism to describe subtle shifts in meaning between different uses of a word or phrase, or within a single use as analysis probes deeper levels of meaning.
The act of speaking while alone, especially when used as a theatrical device that allows a character's thoughts and ideas to be conveyed to the audience. A section of a play or other drama in which a soliloquy is spoken
a fixed verse form consisting of fourteen lines usually in iambic pentameter
Shakespearean (or English) sonnet
A sonnet form that divides the poem into three units of four lines each and a final unit of two lines (4+4+4+2 structure). Its classic rhyme scheme is abab cdcd efef gg, but there are variations.
A character that appears in a number of stories or plays, such as the cruel stepmother, the braggart, and so forth.
Relating to spondees or written in spondees (spondees= a unit of rhythm in poetry (foot), consisting of two long or stressed syllables)
Stream of Consciousness
A special mode of narration that undertakes to capture the full spectrum and the continuous flow of a character's mental process; sense perceptions mingle with conscious and half-conscious thoughts and memories, experiences, feelings and random associations; in a literary context used to describe the narrative method where novelists describe the unspoken thoughts and feelings of their characters without resorting to objective description or conventional dialogue.
A perceptual crossing over or interpretation from one sense to another. Synaesthesia was a popular part of Victorian aesthetics.
Synecdoche is a type of metaphor in which the part stands for the whole, the whole for a part, the genus for the species, the species for the genus, the material for the thing made, or in short, any portion, section, or main quality for the whole or the thing itself (or vice versa).
A word that means the same, or almost the same, as another word in the same language, either in all of its uses or in a particular context.
A way of writing that involves the presentation of a dream-like world where conventions are upended and rationality is dispensed with.
A common thread or repeated idea that is incorporated throughout a literary work.
A poem, or part of a poem, written in trochees (trochees= a metrical foot that consists of one stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable), for example, the word "human."
Language that avoids obvious emphasis or embellishment; litotes is one form of it.
The term wit (originally meaning intelligent) now usually refers to language that is ingeniously amusing through a surprising and imaginative turn of phrase. This meaning derives from the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century use of the word to denote literary inventiveness, particularly in figurative language
Zeugma occurs when a word (usually a verb) has the same grammatical relation to two or more other words, but a different meaning in each application.