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Lit Prose terms Hacker
Terms in this set (111)
- a series of events in a narrative that is carefully constructed by the author for artistic purpose; a series of related incidents that build upon one another as the story develops, meant to entertain the reader
Plot vs simple narrative account
like a police report, in several ways. A simple narrative account is just a chronological description of real events. Its purpose is to tell what happened. A plot, on the other hand, is something that is composed and artistic, rather than a mere sequence of events. Its purposes are to give pleasure and convey meaning.
Plotless short story
a very modern creation that is pleasurable to read as it describes characters in a situation, but does not employ the development or the resolution of a conflict.
in media ras structure
where the story is opened in the middle of the action and then information about the beginning of the action is supplied to the reader through flashbacks and other devices for exposition
story within a story
typical plot structure
starts with exposition --> complication --> technical climax --> resolution --> conclusion
background information on the characters, setting and other events necessary for understanding the story are given (conflict introduced)
the conflict is developed, suspense (anticipation as to the outcome of events) is created, and foreshadowing (hints at later events) may be used
the interplay between opposing elements; the plot of a story is produced by and propelled by the conflict; there are three types of conflicts
protagonist vs. self
protagonist vs. others
external struggle with people, society
protagonist vs. environment
external struggle with nature
the turning point in the plot at which the outcome of the action is determined; often, the protagonist changes or has an opportunity to change at this point; after this point, the conflict begins to come to an end
another type of climax not related to the plot structure, the point of greatest interest or intensity of the story. This is subjective.
the events following the technical climax in which the outcome is actually worked out; works out the decision that was arrived at during the technical climax
final event of a story's plot
the represented time and place of events in a literary work
•There are four functions of setting:
1. to help in understanding of the characters and their actions
2. to help create mood and atmosphere
3. to facilitate plot development by being involved in the conflict
a technique some authors use. This is using the setting, or nature, to parallel or mirror the mood of a character or of the story
a fictional personality created by an author
the technique a writer uses to create and reveal characters in a work of fiction; credibility and consistency are essential to good characterization
expository character revelation
telling the reader about a character's personality in a straightforward manner; this method is quicker, more direct, and less attention-getting
dramatic character revelation
showing the reader what a character is like through descriptions of thought, dialogue, action, etc.; this method is less quick, more indirect, but more attention-getting
the reasons that cause characters to act the way they do
the central character in a work of fiction; the character who sets the action of the plot in motion. Often, the protagonist is the character:
- the reader likes / pities / admires / feels for the most
- the reader knows the most about (lifestyle, personality, as well as thoughts and feelings)
- who is most involved in, or even begins, the conflict
- who is followed most closely by the narrator or is the narrator
- who has a goal at the beginning of the story they want to accomplish
- who changes the most
- who parallels an important person in the author's life
- who is in most of the chapters / scenes / action
- who is somehow related to the title / symbols / theme
the principal opponent of the main character; the person or thing working against the protagonist
a character who is well described and whose thoughts and actions are clearly revealed during the development of the story
a character who is not well developed in a story
a character who grows, learns or changes in some significant way throughout the story; the character is different at the end of the story than he was at the beginning
a character who resists change or refuses to change during the story
a character who contrasts in some important way with a more important character; a character who, through contrast, underscores the distinctive characteristics of another
a character whose speech, thoughts and actions are what the reader has been lead to expect from that particular character; all good characters are consistent
a type of character that is always found "in stock" in a particular type of story
a character created according to widely held, often narrow-minded, ideas; this character has no individuality and is not well developed
point of view
the physical and psychological relationship between the narrator (the teller of the story) and the story's characters and events
the narrator is a character in the story
third person objective
the narrator is not a character in the story and reports only what can be seen and heard
third person limited omniscient
the narrator is not a character in the story and reports not only what can be seen and heard, but also the thoughts and feelings of one of the characters
third person omniscient
the narrator is not a character in the story and reports not only what can be seen and heard, but also the thoughts and feelings of all of the important characters
a controlling idea of a literary work that is a general truth or commentary about life, people and the world that is brought out in a story. A theme is NOT a statement about the story/plot itself. A theme also does not have to be a moral or a lesson. When trying to decide on theme, always consider the title of the work, as well as important symbolism and general observations about life made by the characters throughout the story.
Guidelines to stating a theme
1. must be a complete declarative sentence
2. must be a general truth about life (take from the story and apply to real life)
3. must be clearly brought out throughout the entire work, not just part of it
two step process
STEP 1: Fill in the blank with a general word - This story is overall about _________________.
STEP 2: Answer this question in one sentence, following the guidelines above - What is it about _______________ the author is trying to tell me? This sentence is your theme!
atmosphere and mood
These terms are often used interchangeable, so be careful telling them apart. Both have to do with the general feeling created by all aspects of a story - plot, character, setting, etc. - but...
describes the reader's state of mind after she finishes the story (deals with readers' emotions)
describes the general feeling of the story itself, usually established by the setting's description
the distinctive handling of language by a writer through the purposeful selection of words (diction) and sentence structure (syntax). Style helps to indicate tone.
refers to a writer's word choice with the following considerations:
• denotation / connotation of a word
• degree of difficulty or complexity of a word
• level of formality of a word
• the emotional charge a word carries
refers to the arrangement--the ordering, grouping, and placement--of words within a phrase, clause, or sentence. Some considerations:
• type of sentence
• length of sentence
• subtle shifts or abrupt changes in sentence length or patterns
• punctuation use
• use of repetition
• language patterns/rhythm/cadence
• how all of the above factors contribute to narrative pace
• the use of active and/or passive voice
the author or speaker's attitude toward the characters, events or audience conveyed by details and descriptive words used by the author.
* Tone refers to a writer's ability to create an attitude toward the subject matter of a piece of writing; the tools a writer uses to create tone:
• figurative language
the use of something concrete to represent something abstract; using a thing to represent an idea, concept, quality or condition
contrast between the way things truly are and the way they appear to be
a discrepancy between the literal meaning of a word and the meaning actually conveyed; saying one thing but meaning another; verbal irony is usually conveyed through tone of voice; sarcasm is a form of verbal irony
a discrepancy between knowledge held by a reader and a character's ignorance of that knowledge; when the reader knows something a character doesn't
a discrepancy between the expected outcome of a situation and the actual outcome; a twist in the plot
• style: figures of speech, grammar, sentences/phrases, rhythm
• structure: stanzas, lines, margins, lengths
• content: topics = anything
three mistaken approaches to poetry
1. It must rhyme.
2. It's always beautiful.
3. It always conveys a theme
a long story told in verse form; an epic is an example of a narrative poem
a brief, personal poem that uses many sound devices, as well as rhythm and meter, and is filled with emotion; sonnets, odes and elegies are types of lyrics
a type of poem that is actually meant to be sung and is both lyric AND narrative in nature
figures of speech
(words or phrases that describe one thing in terms of another and is not meant to be taken on a literal level - a.k.a. figurative language)
two dissimilar things that are compared using words such as "like," "than," "as," or "resembles."
- "A dungeon horrible, on all sides around / as one great furnace flamed"
makes a comparison between two unlike things
the literal term and the figurative term are both named
- "Life, the hound, comes at a bound either to rend me or to befriend me"
the literal term is named and the figurative term is implied
- "My love blossoms over time"
a metaphor - direct or implied - that is developed over more than one line of poetry
giving human or animate qualities to an animal, an object or a concept
- "The mirror has no preconceptions and is always truthful."
addressing someone absent or dead or something nonhuman as if it were alive and present and could reply
- "Death, be not proud."
a reference to a person, place or thing from previous literature
•the three most common sources for literary allusions:
1. the Bible
2. Greek and Roman mythology
3. Shakespeare's works
using exaggeration for emphasis; overstatement
- "the eagle flies close to the sun in lonely lands"
a special form of understatement, it affirms something by negating the opposite
- "He's no fool" = he is very shrewd
states one thing when in fact the opposite meaning is intended
a strong contrast of words, clauses, sentences or ideas that shows opposing ideas through opposing grammatical structures
- "Man proposes, God disposes"
- "Fair is foul and foul is fair"
using a part of something to represent the whole thing
- "The cuckoo's song is unpleasing to the married ear"
a statement that although seemingly contradictory or absurd may actually be well-founded or true (similar to an oxymoron)
- "Much madness is divinest sense"
something (object, person, situation or action) that means more than what it is
figures of speech that pertain to the way words sound in a line of poetry
the repetition at close intervals of the initial consonant sounds of certain words
- "Mark my melodious midnight moans
the repetition at close intervals of middle or end consonant sounds of certain words
- "Even heaven has given the wind one tone"
the similarity and repetition of vowel sounds of certain words at close intervals
- "She lives free and easy"
the use of words that mimic their meaning in their sound
- boom, buzz, pop, click
repeating a word or a phrase within a poem in order to...
1. make it easier to remember
2. emphasize an important idea
3. give the poem structural unity
the repetition of the structure of a 2 or more lines in a poem
- "Why do I love you? Let me tell you true.
Why do I love you? If only you knew."
the listing of words, images, or attributes
- "The ballerina spun, twirled, floated, flew..."
the repetition of a word or phrase or line(s) at definite intervals in a poem
the substitution of one word for another closely associated word
- "The crown sat, looking upon her subjects"
a group of consecutive lines in a poem that form a single unit, often referred to as a "paragraph of poetry"
seven basic stanza forms
couplet (2 line stanza), triplet (3 line stanza), quatrain (4 line stanza), quintet (5 line stanza), sestet (6 line stanza), septet (7 line stanza), octave (8 line stanza)... other stanzas are referred to by their line lengths ex. "nine line stanza"
the similarity or likeness of sound in two or more words
the repetition of accented vowel sound and all succeeding sounds in important words
- ex. old-cold, vane-reign, order-recorder, court-report
imperfect rhyme (approximate rhyme or half rhyme)
the repetition of accented vowel sound and all succeeding sounds in important words
- ex. old-cold, vane-reign, order-recorder, court-report
rhyme that appears correct from spelling but does not rhyme because of pronunciation
- ex. watch-match, love-move, daughter-laughter
rhyme that occurs between words found at the end s of two or more lines in a poem
- ex. "From my boyhood I remember
A crystal moment of September
rhyme between words that occurs within a single line of poetry
- "O fleet, sweet sorrow"
the pattern of end rhyme through the poem
the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in words in a line of poetry
a regularized pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry; the intentional arrangement of language in which the accented syllables occur at equal intervals of time
the process of marking lines of poetry to determine the meter; that is, marking the accented and unaccented syllables, dividing the lines into feet, identifying the most common type of foot, and noting significant variations from that pattern
the basic unit of meter used in the scansion or measurement of verse, either consisting of 2 or 3 syllables
u / (most common foot in the English language)
/ u u
Eight types of metrical lines
monometer (one foot per line), dimeter (two feet per line), trimester (three feet per line), tetrameter (four feet per line), pentameter (five feet per line), hexameter (six feet per line), heptameter (seven feet per line), octameter (eight feet per line)
there are three main types of verse (poetic) form
regular meter and a rhyme scheme
unrhymed iambic pentameter
no regular metrical rhythm or end rhyme
has regular meter but no rhyme scheme
the continuation of the sense and grammatical construction of a line on to the next line or stanza (no end punctuation)
ex. Or if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook, that flowed
Fast by the oracle of God...
lines in which both the grammatical structure and the sense reach completion at the end
ex: All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.
a pause within a line of verse
ex: see the comma after "more" in the enjambment example
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