Literature Vocab 2

62 terms by possums4lyfe 

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Free Verse

Poem without structure or rhyme or reason.

Hubris

When a character believes himself to be greater than his betters

Hyperbole

exaggerating something to a ridiculous degree

Iambic

a type of pattern of syllables, or a meter, in which a lightly stressed syllable is followed by strongly syllable

Icon

an important and timeless image or symbol that has meaning beyond its basic appearance

Idiom

An expression or phrase that cannot be translated literally, but means something figuratively in the original language.

Idyll

A work, usually in prose, that depicts a scene of carefree joy.

Imagery

The way in which an author describes something. It may involve all the senses or literary devices like metaphor and simile.

In Medias Res

When a work starts with an account that, chronologically, takes place in the middle of the story. This is supposed to increase suspense or mystery.

Interlude

A type of short play that achieved popularity in the 16th-century. The term traditionally has been used to describe a play brief enough to be performed between the courses of a banquet, but now it appears that "interlude" was widely used to refer to any kind of theatrical entertainment.

Internal Rhyme

A verse, the rhyming of two or more words in a single line.

Intonation

The pattern of variation in pitch during a spoken utterance. Intonation has important expressive functions, indicating the speaker's attitudes (of astonishment, sarcasm, etc.)

Inversion

Changing the order of words to call attention to a higher meaning within. Usually, this means switching the noun and the adjective.

Invocation

A call to the gods (almost always a muse) at the beginning of a piece for their help in telling it.

Irony

A statement that speaks of a person, situation, statement, or circumstance is not as it would actually seem intentionally or seeks to show how something is by saying it's opposite. The three main types are verbal, dramatic, and situation irony.

Kenning

A device employed in Anglo-Saxon poetry in which the name of a thing is replaced by one of its functions or qualities, as in "ring-giver" for king and "whale-road" for ocean.

Litote

for of understatement in which the negative of the contrary is used to achieve emphasis and intensity. for example, "She is not a bad cook." (Negate the negative)

Local Color

focus on characters, customs, history, language, and topography of a region

Lyric

a brief, personal poem that is especially musical and filled with emotion; sonnets, odes, and elegies are types of lyrics

Malapropism

When a word is misused for comedic effect.

Mise en Abyme

story within a story... infinitely. Similar to frame narrative.

Meiosis

using understatement or saying less than one means to prove a point or provide an example. Can also be used to heighten dramatic effect.

Metaphor

a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity

Meter

In poetry, the regular recurrence of a rhythmic sound pattern. The pattern is created by the repetition of a certain number of accented or stressed syllables together with a number of unaccented or unstressed syllables. Accented syllables are marked with a slash and unaccented syllables are make with a breve.

Metonymy

substituting the name of an attribute or feature for the name of the thing itself (as in 'they counted heads')

Mood

The general atmosphere created by an author's words.

Motif

A theme that is expressed throughout a piece of literature or a theme that is carried by a character in a piece of literature.

Noble Savage

The notion, often associated with Rousseau, that non-Western or "primitive" people are actually happier and more virtuous than Westerners. Based on the idea that humans are free and equal in "a state of nature" but that social institutions deprive them of that freedom and equality.

Ode

Long poems that treat their subjects reverently.They are often longer than songs, but usually not as long as an epic. Odes are split into two types; Pindaric and Horatian. The former being more heroic and grand, the latter being more detached and critical.

Onomatopoeia

using or making up words that sound similar to the noises that one is trying to describe. A more complex version is using words in a sequence that together imitate the sound that is being describe in a poem.

Oxymoron

similar to paradox, it is a contradiction that makes sense beyond its inherent meaning. Usually oxymora are shorter and involve two words that make the contradiction while paradoxes involve two phrases put together to achieve the same result.

Paradox

When something contradicts itself in a way that reveals a deeper meaning.

Parody

A work that imitates another work- such as a play or novel- and exaggerates certain
features in order to mock or comment on it.

Pathos

Designed to evoke an emotional response- usually sorrow or pity- in the reader.

Persona

A term for a character in drama or fiction. In criticism of lyric poetry, the term is used to distinguish the speaker in the poem from the author. By using persona, the critic implies that the "I" speaking the poem is a character not necessarily the author.

Picaresque

A term for a form of narrative that recounts the adventures of a rogue. Usually exhibiting an episodic structure, in which the rogue moves from one situation to another, the form generally satirizes the characters or societies it depicts.

Prelude

An introductory performance, event, or action preceding a more important one; a preliminary or preface.

Prologue

An introduction before the main material in a piece of literature. In Greek tragedies, it was a set of introductory speeches before the first chorus.

Quatrain

A stanza with four lines, usually with an ABAB rhyming scheme.

Repartee

A witty reply, or a conversation full of clever rhetorts.

Rhetoric

persuasive argument through writing or speech, using eloquent and charismatic language, and pathos, logos and ethos

Rising Action

part of story between the exposition and the complication/climax, period of building uncertainty and tension

Sarcasm

a form of verbal irony, when the meaning differs from what the words usually mean, used often for humor as a sharp or biting remark

Satire

Work using sarcasm or irony to mock something else, usually something in society.Work using sarcasm or irony to mock something else, usually something in society.

Scansion

The process of breaking down a poem in feet to determine its meter.

Soliloquy

In a play, a monologue by a character which reveals something about the character.

Sonnet

A 14-line lyric poem usually written, for sonnets in English, in iambic pentameter.

Spondee

Two stressed and no unstressed syllables.

Spoonerism

Spoonerism refers to the practice of interchanging the first letters of some words in order to create new words or even to create nonsensical words in order to create a humorous setting. While they are often unintentional and known as a "slip of the tongue", in literature they are welcomed as witty word-play.

Stichomythia

This literary term refers to a pattern of half line volley of lines between two characters in literature. This term has come to be spread further even than poetry to mean a long, heated, exchange of one-liners in any kind of literature.

Stream of consciousness

writing is writing like the character that you are writing about. Or at the very least, writing like they think.

Synaesthesia

the disorder of hearing colors, smelling sounds and other suchlike confusions of the senses.

Synecdoche

using a part to represent the whole, it's an example of rhetorical trope (ex. "The face that launched a thousand ships"- the face refers to the whole body)

Syntax

arrangement of words into sentences or clauses to form ideas, in standard English syntax usually follows subject-verb-object word order

Terza Rima

Italian for third rhyme, consists of three line stanzas that have interlocking rhymes, often follows pattern ABA BCB CDC and so on throughout the poem

Tragic Flaw

another word for the tragic hero's hamartia, it's a lack of insight or blindness that comes from the hero's strengths, usually the flaw is ironic because what makes a hero so admirable usually is also his or her downfall. Also, the catastrophe occurs because the hero does not discover the flaw until too late and disaster could have been averted if he or she discovered the flaw earlier.

Trochee

A foot of poetry (or a word) consisting of one stressed and one unstressed syllable.

Trope

When a word's meaning changes as part of a figure of speech or rhetorical device.

Unreliable Narrator

When the fictional narrator of a story tells the events as they happen, but misinterpret them because of bias or a limited understanding.

Villanelle

A short poem om a pastoral subject, introduced to France from Italy in the 16th century, The original form of the villanelle was open and unrestrained, but as it developed it assumed a fixed form: a 19 -line poem consisting of five three line stanzas and one quatrain.

Voice

Distinct from the terms persona, narrator and tone, voice is associated with the basic vision of a writer, her general attitude toward the world.

Zeugma

A figure of speech in which one word governs a series of succeeding words or phrases.

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