44 terms

Humanities Lit. Terms

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Allegory
a story that offers both a literal and figurative interpretation. The story is symbolic on every level: characters, plot, theme
EXAMPLE:
"Little Red Riding Hood"

"The Odyssey"
Allusion-
a reference to something in history, literature, culture, society...
EXAMPLE:
(He had Napoleonic quality about him.)
Alliteration
repetition of consonant sounds
EXAMPLE:
(Beowulf boldly brandished his battle sword)
Apostrophe-
addressing something that is dead, not human, or nor present
EXAMPLE:
(O Shy Sun, why won't you shine on me?)
Anachronism
The placing of a person, event, or thing outside of its historical era. Most often purposeful

EXAMPLE:
(Shakespeare has a clock striking in the scene prior to Julius Caesar's death-this is for effect only since Ancient Rome did not have striking clocks.)
Archetype
Narratives, designs, patterns, or character types often found in literature.
EXAMPLE:
(A hero is typically strong, virtuous, and steadfast in his efforts)
Assonance
repetition of vowel sounds

EXAMPLE:
(The May day made the fields sway in a spray of lilacs and a faint scent of hay.)
Connotation
the implied meaning of a word
EXAMPLE:
(That is "cool.")
Denotation
the literal meaning of a word

EXAMPLE:
(That is "temperate, not warm".)
Diction
word choice
EXAMPLE:
(My mind pricked with anger-(the word "pricked" reveals author's tone towards the person he/she is addressing here)
Elements of Plot
Exposition
Rising Action
Complications
Climax
Falling Action
Dénouement/resolution
Exposition
the conflict, setting, and conflict are introduced.
Rising Action
the action builds on the exposition
Complications
events that are added to build on the tension
Climax
the point of the highest tension/turning point
Dénouement/resolution
the final scene where the plot ends.
Falling Action
immediately follows climax-immediate consequences
Epithet
A descriptive phrase used to describe a person or thing-often used in place of it.

EXAMPLE:
(The Trojan warrior is an epithet for Odysseus.)
Figurative language
Language that is used in a non-literal way for added meaning and effect

EXAMPLE:
(Similes, metaphors, personification-many terms listed here are all examples)
Foreshadow
To hint at future events

EXAMPLE:
(The pounding rain that sounds like footsteps in A Tale of Two Cities foreshadows the storming of the Bastille. )
Genre
A term that denotes a type of literature or literary form

EXAMPLE:
(Verse, epics, novels, short stories, dramas-these are all different forms of literature. )
Hyperbole
a great exaggeration

EXAMPLE:
(There were a million people at the party.)
Imagery
use of sensory details to describe something

EXAMPLE:
(I bit into the soft, ripe, fuzzy, juicy nectarine.)
Dramatic Irony
when the audience/readers know something the character doesn't

EXAMPLE:
(We know Macbeth will kill Duncan-Duncan is blissfully unaware)
Verbal/Literal Irony
when the literal meaning is the opposite of the implied.

EXAMPLE:
(This shouldn't be too difficult (he said before lifting up a car)
Situational Irony
when a scene or story ends that opposite way one would expect

EXAMPLE:
(If the good guys are killed in the beginning of the story...)
Juxtaposition
An intentional placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.

EXAMPLE:
(A comedic scene following a tragic one; a description of beauty in a scene of horror)
Metaphor
Implied-when an indirect comparison is made between two different things
(she barked at me-she is indirectly compared to a dog)

EXAMPLE:
Named-a direct comparison between two different things
(she is a dog-direct comparison)
Meter
A recognized pattern of beats and stresses in verse-rhythm

EXAMPLE:
"The curfew tolls the knell of parting day"
The above line has a pattern of unstressed/stressed syllables.
Mood
the feeling or atmosphere of a work

EXAMPLE:
(Can be funny, sad, bitter
The Things they carried is mostly reflective and at times both funny and sad.)
Motif
A specific element, event, things that reoccurs through a specific work for added meaning.

EXAMPLE:
(Storms often occur throughout Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.)
Onomatopoeia
writing out the sound something makes

EXAMPLE:
"ssssss" went the snake
Oxymoron
contradictory terms are used in conjunction

EXAMPLE:
Deafening silence
Paradox
A statement that appears to be untrue or impossible, but upon reflection or in context is true.

EXAMPLE:
"I was a coward. I went to war." This seems like a false statement, but O'Brien admits he went to war because he was too afraid to disappoint his family by not going.
pun
A play on a word's multiple meaning

EXAMPLE:
"I am reading a book about anti-gravity. It's impossible to put down."
Personification
giving non human things human qualities

EXAMPLE:
The wind whispered my name.
Repetition
repeating the same words, phrases, passages for emphasis

EXAMPLE:
I was scared. I was lonely, I was responding without thinking. I was 19 years old.
Rhyme
Repeating the same stressed vowel sounds.

EXAMPLE:
In mist or cloud,
on mast or shroud,
it perched for vespers nine,
and glimmered in the white moonshine.
Satire
poking fun at a social institution, person, ideology in hopes of changing it or at the least exposing its flaws.

Satires can be fun and lighthearted

Or Satires and be sarcastic, dark, disturbing, and bitter.

EXAMPLE:
Saturday Night Live. Steven Colbert

Slaughterhouse 5, 1984, even Jon Stewart's Daily Show at times.
Simile
a comparison of two different things by showing similarities (uses like, as, seems, appears...)

EXAMPLE:
She is as any goddess would be.
Symbol
a tangible thing that represents an intangible one. Pay attention to how people treat symbols-it reveals how they feel about what is represents.

EXAMPLE:
The flag represents freedom. I can burn the flag, spit on it, or wave it proudly.
Syntax
The order of words

EXAMPLE:
Some poets rearrange syntax to fit a rhyme scheme.
Tone
author's attitude towards the subject matter

EXAMPLE:
when Tim O'Brien compares the American government to a guy with a jelly-roll belly-you sense how he feels about the country's war policy and the politicians who make it.
Understatement
Deemphasizing something in hopes of drawing attention to it

EXAMPLE:
Describing the firebombing in Dresdan, Germany (in WW2) as a "bad day." It was worse than a bad day-it was a massacre.
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