105 terms

American Literature

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Allusion
a reference to another work of literature, person, or event
Theme
a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in a literary or artistic work
Historical Context
the historical period that shapes a work of literature and allows the reader to understand important issues in a given time period
Aphorism
a concise statement that expresses succinctly a general truth or idea, often using rhyme or balance
Romanticism
a movement in literature and art during the late 18th and early 19th centuries that celebrated nature rather than civilization
Transcendentalism
a nineteenth-century movement in the Romantic tradition, which held that every individual can reach ultimate truths through spiritual intuition, which transcends reason and sensory experience.
Gothic
characterized by gloom and mystery and the grotesque; gothic novels include Frankenstein
Allegory
an expressive style that uses fictional characters and events to describe some subject by suggestive resemblances
Situational Irony
Occurs when the outcome of a work is unexpected, or events turn out to be the opposite from what one had expected
Dramatic Irony
when a reader is aware of something that a character isn't
Coming of Age
A type of novel where the protagonist is initiated into adulthood through knowledge, experience, or both, often by a process of disillusionment. Understanding comes after the dropping of preconceptions, a destruction of a false sense of security, or in some way the loss of innocence.
American Dream
The widespread belief that the United States is a land of opportunity and that individual initiative and hard work can bring economic success.
Plot Development
the sequence of events in a story and it is generally built around a conflict, and it tells what happens, when, and to whom. it usually includes four stages, exposition, rising action, climax, falling action.
Figurative Language
Writing or speech that is used to create vivid impressions by setting up comparisons between dissimilar things, [examples are metaphor, simile, and personification.
Autobiographical essay
an essay that describes a person, place or event from one's own personal experiences
Paradox
a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
Folk Tale
a tale circulated by word of mouth among the common folk
Analogy
drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect
Literary Criticism
the informed analysis and evaluation of literature
Modernism
practices typical of contemporary life or thought
Harlem Renaissance
a period in the 1920s when African-American achievements in art and music and literature flourished
Stream of Consciousness
a literary genre that reveals a character's thoughts and feeling as they develop by means of a long soliloquy
Imagery
language that appeals to the senses
Protagonist
the principal character in a work of fiction
Antagonist
the character who works against the protagonist in the story
Tragic Hero
A literary character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on a tragedy
Internal Conflict
a struggle between opposing needs, desires, or emotions within a single character
External Conflict
a problem or struggle between a character and someone or something outside of the character
Myth
a traditional story accepted as history
Primary Sources
the original research or document on a topic
Secondary Sources
Text and/or artifacts used when researching that are derived from something original.
Setting
arrangement of scenery and properties to represent the place where a play or movie is enacted
Author's Purpose
The reason the author has for writing. ( Inform, persuade, express, & entertain)
Audience
the intended reader of a piece
Dialogue
a literary work in the form of a conversation; words exchanged between two or more characters
Contemptuously
feeling, expressing, or demonstrating strong dislike or utter lack of respect for somebody or something
Authenticity
true to one's own personality, spirit, or character; not false; everything one says, he or she does and actually believes
Disillusionment
a feeling of disappointment resulting from the discovery that something is not as good as one believed it to be
Idyllic
(especially of a time or place) like an idyll; extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque
Inference
a conclusion based on evidence
Eradicate
to destroy, eliminate or put an end to
Bigotry
complete intolerance toward those who are or hold different opinions from oneself
Antecedent
the word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers.
Ellipsis
(...) an indication by a series of three periods that some material has been omitted (taken out) from a text.
Antithesis
the presentation of two contrasting images. The ideas are balanced by word, phrase, clause or paragraph
Anecdote
a story or brief episode told by the writer or a character to illustrate a point
Discourse
a discussion on a topic
Didactic
writing whose purpose is to instruct or teach.
Dialect
the re-creation of regional spoken language, such as from the American South
Diction
the author's choice of words that creates tone, attitude, and style as well as meaning
Alliteration
the repetition of initial consonant sounds such as "Peter Piper picked pennies..."
Deduction
the process of moving from a general rule to a specific example
Denotation
the literal meaning or dictionary meaning of a word
Sardonic
grimly mocking; cynical; negative humor (this word is ideal for describing tone)
Ad Hominem
In an argument, this is an attack on the person rather than on the opponent's ideas. It comes from the Latin meaning "against the man."
Abstract
Refers to language that describes concepts rather than concrete images
Jingoistic
extremely patriotic; nationalistic
Bitter
exhibiting strong animosity as a result of pain or grief; angry, hurt or resentful because of one's negative experiences or a sense of unjust treatment
Connective Tissue
provides support for the body and connects its parts.
Crucible
a severe test or trial
Revolution
An overthrow and replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.
Hypophora
when a speaker poses a question and then answers it
Vituperative
(adj.) harshly abusive, severely scolding
Facetious
(adj) joking, humorous, esp. inappropriately; not serious, concerned with frivolous things
Laudatory
(adj.) expressing admiration or praise
Arduous
(adj.) hard to do, requiring much effort
Indigenous
(adj.) originating in a region (Some fear that these plants, which are not indigenous to the region, may choke out the vegetation that is native to the area.)
Euphony
pleasant, harmonious sound
Cacophony
(n) harsh-sounding mixture of words, voices, or sounds
Colloquial
(adj.) characteristic of informal conversation
Invective
abusive language
Pun
A humorous play on words
Pedantic
An adjective that describes words, phrases, or general tone that is overly scholarly, academic, or bookish.
Naivete
tendency to be easily duped or overly innocent
Euphemism
A polite or vague word or phrase used to replace another word or phrase that is thought of as too direct or rude.
Motif
any recurring element that has symbolic significance in the story.
Objective
Not influenced by personal prejudice; unbiased
Mocking
treating with contempt or ridicule; jeering; scoffing; describes a tone that ridicules, teases of makes fun of
Scornful
feeling or expressing contempt or derision; expressing disdain; despising or dishonoring a person or object
Satire
A work that reveals a critical attitude toward some element of human behavior by portraying it in an extreme way. It doesn't simply abuse (as in invective) or get personal (as in sarcasm). It targets groups or large concepts rather than individuals.
Patriotic
inspired by love for your country
Elegiac
Mournful over what has passed or been lost; often used to describe tone.
Reverent
Feeling or expressing very deep respect and awe
Cynicism
an attitude or quality of belief that all people are motivated by selfishness
Lassitude
A feeling of weakness
Macabre
(adj.) grisly, gruesome; horrible, distressing; having death as a subject
Lugubrious
sad; gloomy;
excessively mournful
Foment
Incite, instigate, stir up, promote the growth of;
To stir up;
To promote trouble or rebellion
Rhetoric
The art of using language effectively and persuasively
Wistful
Longing and yearning, tinged with melancholy (long-lasting sadness) and pensiveness;
yearning; sad longing; a gentle desire.
Concise
Brief, to the point
Social Proof
influence tactic that relies on the tendency people have to behave in a particular way because others are doing so;
People view a behavior as correct if they see others performing it
Iteration
Repeating a step-by-step procedure several times; also used to refer to single execution of that repetitive procedure.
Hospitality
The industry made up of organizations offering guests food, drink and lodging services, alone or in combination (expanded definition includes theme parks, gaming, cruise lines, conventions/trade shows, fairs, and meeting planning:
Contagious
Able to be passed easily from one person to another; spread from one person or organism to another by direct or indirect contact
Social Transmission
The transfer or spread of information throughout a group of people.
Implementation
The process of putting specific policies into operation; the process of putting a decision or plan into effect
Venture
new business activity or project that involves risk
Herd Mentality
Just as a herd of cows will stamped, so can people come under control;
influence of peers to buy certain products or follow trends
Social Currency
a measure of a person's power and influence within a defined social group; the value one receives from the information he or she shares.
One of Berger's STEPPS
Triggers
stimuli that prompt people to think about related ideas, objects or products. One of Berger's STEPPS.
Emotion
A strong feeling;
A multifaceted experience that is connected to thought, physiology, and behavior. One of Berger's STEPPS.
Public
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Practical Value
contagious content that is useful and brings value to customers. One of Berger's STEPPS.
Stories
According to Jonah Berger, people don't simply share information, they tell stories. One of Berger's STEPPS.