World Literature Poetic Terms

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Alliteration
Using words that start with the same letter (ex. Mitch made many more marshmallows)
Allusion
A reference to something else (ex. When your parents learn about your new plan to raise money, it's going to sink like the Titanic)
Anaphora
Repetition where the same sentence structure is used and the lines start in the same way (ex. Buying nappies for the baby, feeding the baby, playing with the baby: This is what your life is when you have a baby)
Assonance
The repetition of the sound of a vowel (ex. Johnny went here and there and everywhere)
Cadence
The rising and falling of the voice when reading a literary piece
Cliché
Something said that is overused and stale (ex. In the nick of time)
Connotation
A feeling associated with a word (ex. Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day)
Denotation
A dictionary definition to contrast its associated meanings (ex. And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each)
Diction
The author's word choice
Enjambment
When a full sentence is split into two or more lines to show or contrast something
(ex. April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.)
Figurative Language
Saying something that goes beyond the literal meanings of the words to give the readers new insights. This can be shown through many other literary terms.
Hyperbole
An exaggeration of ideas for the sake of emphasis (ex. I haven't seen you in ages)
Imagery
An intense description, usually using many adjectives. (ex. I can hear the guns boom and see the cannon balls roll over my head)
Dramatic Irony
Characters do not know what is going on but the audience does
Situational Irony
When the opposite of what is expected to happen occurs
Juxtaposition
When two or more ideas, places, characters and their actions are placed side by side for the purpose of comparing and contrasting them.
(ex. O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear)
Line
A unit of language into which a poem is divided
Metaphor
A comparison without using like or as (ex. She is the sun)
Meter
A stressed and unstressed syllabic pattern in a verse or within the lines of a poem
Mood
The feeling readers get from reading the poem
Narrative
A report of related events presented to the listeners to show an underlying narrative (ex. George Orwell's Animal Farm)
Onomatopoeia
A sound written out in words (ex. boom, meow)
Paradox
A statement that appears to be self-contradictory or silly but may include a latent truth (ex. your enemy's friend is your enemy)
Personification
When something that is not human is made to do something human-like. (ex. Look at my car. She is a beauty.)
Point of View
The angle of considering things that the author chooses to write from, which shows us the opinion, or feelings of the individuals involved in a situation
Prose poem
A form of language that has no formal metrical structure. It applies a natural flow of speech, and ordinary grammatical structure rather than rhythmic structure.
Repetition
Repeating words or phrases to emphasize something
(ex. I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.)
Rhyme
A repetition of similar sounding words occurring at the end of lines in poems.
(ex. Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!
One for the master, one for the dame,
And one for the little boy who lives down the lane.)
Rhythm
Demonstrates the long and short patterns through stressed and unstressed syllables.
Simile
A comparison using like or as (ex. She was bright like the sun)
Speaker
The voice that speaks behind the scene; Who is telling the story.
Stanza
A division of four or more lines having a fixed length, meter or rhyming scheme.
Symbol
An object representing something else to give it an entirely different meaning that is much deeper and more significant.
Synesthesia
Combining the feeling from 2 or more senses.
Syntax
The sentence structure
Tone
The speaker's attitude. Look for cues in the structure of the poem.
Understatement
A figure of speech employed by writers or speakers to intentionally make a situation seem less important than it really is (ex. "He is not too thin" while describing an obese person)