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Here you will find all literary terms and vocabulary definitions. It is listed in order presented on the study guide, memorize and enjoy.

Allegory

A story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

Anachronism

An act of attributing a custom, event, or object to a period to which it does not belong

Antagonist

A person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary

Anti-hero

a protagonist who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure, as nobility of mind and spirit, a life or attitude marked by action or purpose, and the like

Bildungsroman

a type of novel concerned with the education, development, and maturing of a young protagonist

Characterization

the act of describing distinctive characteristics or essential features

Climax

the decisive moment in a novel or play

Collectivism

The principles or system of ownership and control of the means of production and distribution by the people collectively, usually under the supervision of a government.

Comic relief

A humorous scene or speech intended to lighten the mood

Dialect

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

Digression

an interruption of the main action, accomplished by telling stories unrelated to the main plot. This serves to provide background information, explain character motivation, establish interest, build suspense, and inform the reader of the action to come

Dynamic character

A character who grows, learns, or changes as a result of the story's action

Exposition

an account that sets forth the meaning or intent of a writing or discourse

Falling action

That segment of the plot that comes between the climax and the conclusion.

Fantasy

a story that concerns an unreal world or contains unreal characters; a fantasy may be merely whimsical, or it may present a serious point

Figurative language

Writing or speech that is used to create vivid impressions by setting up comparisons between dissimilar things, [examples are metaphor, simile, and personification.

Flashback

a scene that interrupts the ongoing action in a story to show an event that happened earlier

Hyperbole

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

Imagery

description that appeals to the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste)

Irony

witty language used to convey insults or scorn

Legend

a narrative handed down from the past, containing historical elements and usually supernatural elements

Macrocosm

the whole universe; a large-scale reflection of a part of the greater world

Metonymy

the use of a related item to stand for the thing being discussed

Microcosm

a miniature world or universe; a group or system viewed as the model of a larger group or system

New realism

any of various movements in literature, art, etc., that are considered as a return to a more realistic style with content such as social issues, morality, etc

Parable

a simple story that illustrates a moral or religious lesson

Point of view

the perspective from which a story is told

Protagonist

the principal character in a work of fiction

Psychological novel

work of fiction in which the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of the characters are of equal or greater interest than is the external action of the narrative

Pun

a humorous play on words
(Ex. Santa's elves are subordinate clauses, "I was going to make a musical on puns but it turned out to be a play on words", "I'm reading about anti-gravity, it's impossible to put down") I know my puns are just punishment

Resolution

the final unraveling or solution of the plot

Rising action

the series of conflicts or struggles that build a story toward a climax.

Static character

a character who does not change during the course of a story

Stream of consciousness

of, pertaining to, or characterized by a manner of writing in which a character's thoughts or perceptions are presented as occurring in random form, without regard for logical sequences, syntactic structure, distinctions between various levels of reality, or the like

Style

a way of expressing something (in language or art or music etc.) that is characteristic of a particular person or group of people or period

Symbol

an object that is used to represent something else (usually a larger, philosophical and more important idea)

Synecdoche

using a part of something to stand for the entire thing

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

Utopia

an imaginary place considered to be perfect or ideal

consecrated

solemnly dedicated to or set apart for a high purpose

insouciant

not concerned; free from care

petulant

easily irritated or annoyed

poignancy

a quality that arouses emotions (especially pity or sorrow)

forbearance

a delay in enforcing rights or claims or privileges

sanguinary

marked by eagerness to resort to violence and bloodshed

piety

devotion and reverence to God

discernment

ability to make good judgments

acquiesce

to agree or express agreement

banal

obvious and dull

garner

acquire or deserve by one's efforts or actions

heresy

an opinion different from accepted belief; the denial of an idea that is generally held sacred

calamity

an event resulting in great loss and misfortune

languid

lacking spirit or liveliness

cumbrous

difficult to handle or use especially because of size or weight

derelict

deserted or abandoned as by an owner

disconsolate

causing dejection

vehement

marked by extreme intensity of emotions or convictions

quell

suppress or crush completely

capitulate

surrender under agreed conditions

blasé

indifferent to or bored with life

putrid

rotten

bourgeois

a member of the middle class

aristocratic

noble, fancy

sagacious

acutely insightful and wise

parsimonious

excessively unwilling to spend

recalcitrant

marked by stubborn resistance to authority

trenchant

clearly or sharply defined to the mind

umbrage

a sense of injury or insult

waft

to move gently by wind or waves

extol

to praise highly

capricious

tending to change abruptly and without apparent reason

facetious

playfully joking; humorous

jejune

uninteresting; dull

lugubrious

mournful

magnaminous

forgiving; honorable

scintillate

to sparkle or glow, literally or figuratively

ubiquitous

being everywhere at the same time

beguile

to charm; to delight

churlish

having a bad disposition

Note to test taker

Good luck, study hard and have a nice Winter break ☺

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