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The repeated use of stressed words or syllables.
(ex: "we lurk late, we strike straight")
The repetition of similar vowels in nearby words.
(ex: "hear the mellow wedding bells." "el" sound.)
When a character addresses something that is not actually present. (ex: "Ingratitude! Thou marble-hearted friend")
Words that have a sharp, hissing or unmelodius sounds.
(ex: the Jabberwocky has loads of them)
When two phrases are parallel in syntax, but the words are reversed. (ex: "fair is foul, and foul is fair")
Using an unusual comparison to compare two things.
(ex: "now is the golden crown like a deep well/ that owes two buckets, filling one another")
A word or phrase used in everyday speech, like slang.
(ex: "If Mr. Finch don't wear you out, I will!)"
Deus ex machina
An unexpected intervention from a supreme being that saves a character at the last second.
(ex: when rescue boats save Ralph in Lord of the Flies)
A short nickname attached to a character's name that describes them.
(ex: "the wine-dark sea" or "grey-eyed Athena")
When the audience knows something important the characters do not know.
(ex: when the audience knew that Juliet was not dead, but Romeo thought she was and killed himself)
An implification of reversed meaning that continues through the entire story.
(ex: Gene lying about pushing Finn out of the tree all throughout A Separate Peace)
Implying a different meaning than the one stated.
(ex: Johnathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal")
In medias res
Literally means "in the middle of things". Starting in the middle of the story instead of the beginning.
(ex: Percy Jackson- The Sea of Monsters: "my nightmare started like this.")
When a point is made by negating a statement that declares the opposite. (ex: Casey at the Bat: "the outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville Nine that day")
Using understatement in literature.
(ex: "It isn't very serious. I have this tiny little tumor of the brain.")
When the name of an entity is substituted by something similar. (ex: using "the throne" as "the king")
The mood or tone of a literary work.
(ex: when three witches enter in Macbeth: creates an ominous tone)
A word that sounds like the sound it represents.
(ex: "water plops into pond, splish splash downhill")
When a seemingly impossible/contradicting statement reveals the truth.
(ex: Animal Farm: "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others")
The method of making a point by passing over it.
(ex: "the music, the service at the feast, the noble gifts for the great and small, the rich adornment of Theseus' palace...all these things I do not mention now")
Type of literature that has a rural theme or country setting.
(ex: "There we will sit upon the rocks, and see the shepards feed the flocks")
Personification in which aspects of nature are given humanlike qualities.
(ex: "there was a caress in the soft winds")
When a point is stated in a roundabout way rather than saying it directly.
(ex: "and those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.")
When part of something represents a whole.
(ex: "blue collars" to describe the working class)
Designated attitude a piece of literature evokes.
(ex: I don't think this one needs an example)
Blanket term for most figures of speech in literature.
(ex: "Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour: England hath need of thee" is apostrophe)
A narrative poem of quatrains of iambic tetrameter alternating with iambic trimeter.
(ex: "Ballad of the Cool Fountain" by Anonymous)
A pair of consecutive lines that rhyme.
(ex: "how like Eve's apple doth thy beauty grow / if thy sweet virtue answer not thy show")
Also called run-on lines. When a sentence or clause continues onto the next line.
(ex: "Out, Out" by Robert Frost)
Type of poem that has three lines: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.
(ex: "An old silent pond, a frog jumps into the pond, splash! silence again")
A type of poetic meter that uses five iambs (a poetic foot) per line. (ex: "When you/are old/and grey/and full/of sleep")
A five-lined poem consisting of two lines of anapestic trimeter, two lines of anapestic dimeter, and a line of trimeter.
(ex: pretty much any poem that starts with "there was once a man from...")
A long, elaborate stanzaic poem dealing with a specific subject, often reverently.
(ex: "Ode to the West Wind" by Percy Shelley)
An eight-line stanza of poetry composed in iambic pentameter following the ABABABCC rhyme scheme.
(ex: "Don Juan" by Canto the First)
Technical aspects of verse relating to rhythm, stress and meter.
(ex: "Song" by William Blake)
A poem of six-lined stanzas and a three-line envoy, originally without rhyme, in which stanza repeats the end words of the lines of the first stanza, but in a different order.
(ex: "Sestina d'Invierno" by Anthony Hecht)
Sonnet composed of an octave (8 lines) and a sestet (6 lines). Rhyme Scheme for the octave is ABBAABBA and the rhyme scheme varies for the sestet.
(ex: "Sonnet" by James DeFord)
Sonnet composed of three quatrains and a final couplet. Rhyme scheme: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.
(ex: "Sonnet 18" by Shakespeare)
Sonnet composed of three quatrains and a couplet in iambic pentameter. Rhyme Scheme: ABAB BCBC CDCD EE.
(ex: "Amoretti" by Edmund Spencer)
Two stressed syllables in a row.
(ex: "Be near me when my light is low" because "be" and "near" are stressed)
A group of three lines in a poem, usually sharing the same rhyme. (ex: "And as the smart ship grew/ In stature, grace and hew/in shadowy silent distance grew the iceberg too")
Type of poem in which tercets are linked by a pattern of shared rhymes. Rhyme Scheme: ABA, BCB, CDC, etc.
(ex: "Acquainted with the Night" by Robert Frost")
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