16 terms

Literary Devices

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Apostrophe
It is a figure of speech used in literature. It is sometimes refering to a "you" not present. A writer or a speaker, using an apostrophe, detaches himself or herself from reality and addresses an imaginary character in his or her speech. For example, Jane Taylor uses an apostrophe in her famous poem Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Assonance
The repetition of the same or similar vowel sounds in stressed syllables that end with different consonant sounds. For example, "Broken is the golden bowl--the spirit flown forever".
Imagery
The use of words to create pictures in the reader's mind.
Mood
The feeling a literary work evokes in a reader, such as sadness, peace or anger.
Personification
A literary device in which animals, objects, forces of nature or ideas are given human characteristics.
Alliteration
The repetition of initial consonant sounds in words, for example, "The furrow followed freely."
Allusion
A reference to a well known person, place or situation from history or from art, music or another literary work.
Rhyme
This a tool that uses repeating patterns that brings rhythm and musicality. This differentiates poems from prose. It is used to create a pleasing effect.
Metaphor
This device is used to ascribe meaning or identity to one subject by way of another. In a metaphor one subject is implied to be another, so that a comparison between their similarities and shared traits can be illustrated. This can be illustrated in the quote, "Henry was a lion on the battlefield."
Hyperbole
A literary device used to exagerate or to create a larger than life effect and overly stress a specific point. For example, "I am so hungry that I could eat a horse."
Consonance
The repetition of final consonant sounds in words containing different vowels, for example, "fresh cash."
Simile
A figure of speech that uses the words "like" or "as" to compare two unlike words.
Rhetorical Question
This device is used to ask a question that does not require an answer. The author already knows the answer but wants to emphasize a point or to draw the audiences attention. For example, in The Merchant of Venice, Shylock says" If you prick us do we not bleed?"
Onomatopoeis
Words whose very sound are very similar to the sound that they are used to depict, such as buzz, snap, huff or grunt.
Metonymy
This is when an author or speaker does not use the formal word for an object or subject: Instead the object is refereed to by another word that is linked to the formal word. One example of this is when the US government is refereed to as Washington or McDonalds as the Golden Arches.
Paradox
The use of concepts that are contradictory to one another, yet, when placed together hold significant value on several levels. Deeper meaning may not be apparent at first sight. An example of this is, "High walls make not the palace."

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