Significant (Uppercase) Lit Terms
Terms in this set (75)
a story in which the narrative or characters carry an underlying symbolic, metaphorical, or possibly ethical meaning; in works such as Spenser's "The Faerie Queen" and Bunyon's "Pilgrim's Progress," the story and characters represent values beyond themselves
the repetition of one or more initial consonants in a group of words or lines of poetry or prose; writers use this for ornament or for emphasis, as in words such as "flim-flam" and "tittle-tattle"; also used in epithets ("fickle fortune", "sunless sea"), phrases ("bed and board"), and slogans ("Look before you leap"); this generally enhances the aesthetic quality of a prose passage or poem, as in these lines from Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner": "The white foam flew / The furrow follows free."
a reference to a person, place, or event meant to create an effect or enhance the meaning of an idea
a vagueness of meaning; a conscious lack of clarity meant to evoke multiple meanings and interpretation
a comparison that points out similarities between two dissimilar things
a rhetorical opposition or contrast of ideas by means of a grammatical arrangement of words, clauses, or sentences
Ex: "They promised freedom but provided slavery."
Ex: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
an abstract or ideal conception of a type; a perfectly typical example; an original model or form
Ex: as a villain, Iago (the diabolical deceiver in Shakespeare's "Othello") is one
Ex: as a villain, Claggart (the Master-at-Arms whose dishonesty causes the death of the title character in Melville's story, "Billy Budd"
the repetition of two or more vowel sounds in a group of words or lines in poetry and prose
Ex: "Meet Pete Green; he's as mad as a hatter."
a simple narrative verse that tells a story that is sung or recited
Ex: Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
Ex: Keats's "La Belle Dame sans Merci"
Ex: Oscar Wilde's "The Ballad of Reading Gaol"
poetry written in iambic pentameter, the primary meter used in English poetry and the works of Shakespeare and Milton; considered "blank" because the lines generally do not rhyme
the high point, or turning point, of a story or play. Ex: The climax of Arthur Miller's, "The Crucible occurs when John Proctor heroically chooses to die rather than betray his principles by accusing innocent people of witchcraft
the suggested or implied meaning of a word or phrase; contrast with denotation
the repetition of two or more consonant sounds in a group of words or a line of poetry
the dictionary definition of a word; contrast with connotation
the choice of words in speech and writing; and author's diction serves to create meaning, portray characters, convey tone, develop themes, and much more
a circumstance in which the audience or reader knows more about a situation that a character
Ex: King Oedipus unwillingly kills his father, yet later declares that he shall find and punish his father's killer
a poem or prose selection that laments or meditates on the passing or death of something or someone of value
Ex: Walt Whitman's "Oh Captain, My Captain" is written upon the death of Abraham Lincoln
a feeling of association or identification with an object or person
an extended narrative poem that tells of the adventures and exploits of a hero that is generally larger than life and is often considered a legendary figure such as Odysseus or Beowulf.
Ex: Homer's "Iliad"
Ex: Vergil's "Aeneid"
a concise but ingenious, witty, and thoughtful statement
a term for the title character of a work of literature
Ex: "David Copperfield"
Ex: "The Cat in the Hat"
the background and events that lead to the presentation of the main idea or purpose of a work of literature
sentence that follows the customary word order of English sentences; subject-verb-object. The main idea of the sentence is presented first and is then followed by one or more subordinate clauses. See
personal, reflective poetry that reveals the speaker's thoughts and feelings about the subject
a literary form in which events are exaggerated in order to create an extreme emotional response
a figure of speech that compares unlike objects
the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables found in poetry
the emotional tone in a work of literature evoked through the author's diction, choice of details, themes, settings, events, and more
ex. Charles Dickens creates a calm and peaceful mood in his description of a ricer that reflects "the clear blue of the sky, glistening and sparkling as it flows noiselessly on"
a brief and often simplistic lesson that a reader may infer from a work of literature
an imaginary story that has become an accepted part of the cultural or religious tradition of a group or society. Myths are often used to explain natural phenomena. Almost every culture has some sort of myth to accounts for the creation fo teh world and its inhabitants
a form of verse or prose that tells a story, often with a beginning, middle, and end. How a narrative unfolds affects readers' responses. A first-person narrative in the speaker's voice and told through the speaker's eyes will always contrast with a story told by an omniscient narrator or one who reports information from what he has heard elsewhere. Likewise, a story told about the distant past -- an adult recalling childhood, for example -- will differ from a story about events taking place as they occur. A story can be narrated through letters, text messages, diary entries, speeches, a character's thoughts; the possibilities are virtually limitless
a lyric poem usually marked by serious, respectful, and exalted feelings toward the subject
ex. Keats wrote odes on melancholy, a Grecian urn, and a nightingale, among other. His poem "On First Looking into a Chapman's Homer" is an ode honoring the translation of Homer's works by the Elizabethan poet, George Chapman
a narrator with unlimited awareness, understanding, and insight of characters, setting, background, and all other elements of the story
the use of words whose sounds suggest their meaning
ex. bubbling, murmuring brooks
a term consisting of contradictory elements juxtaposed to create a paradoxical effect
ex. loud silence, jumbo shrimp
statement that seems self-contradictory but is nevertheless true
a version of a text put into simpler, everyday, words
sentence that departs from the usual word order of English sentences by expressing its main thought only at the end. in other words, the particulars in the sentence are presented before the idea they support, as in the following:
about the events that followed--the foreclosure on the house, the mysterious phone messages, the violent confrontation between Anthony and the policeman, and the disappearance of Anna--we know virtually nothing.
figure of speech in which objects and animals are given human characteristics
interrelationship among the events in a story; the plot line is the pattern of events, including exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution
point of view
where the narrator or speaker stands to the story or subject matter of a poem. a story told in first person has an internal point of view; an observer uses an external point of view
main character in a work of literature
humorous play on words, using similar-sounding or identical words to suggest different meanings
depiction of people, things, and events as they really are without idealization or exaggeration for effect
language of a work and its style; words, often highly emotional, used to convince or sway an audience. in essence, it refers to the art of making oneself understood
question that has the expected answer built in so that it either requires no response or the response is self-evident. used after a group of arguments or assertions, it might ask, "Isn't that right?" or "Don't you agree?" or even, "What in the world could they have been thinking when they designed that dangerous intersection?"
language that conveys a speaker's attitude or opinion with regard to a particular subject
repetition of similar sounds at regular intervals, used mostly in poetry
pattern of rhymes within a given poem
pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables that make up a line of poetry
a literary style used to poke fun at, attack, or ridicule an idea, vice, or foible; often with the purpose of inducing change
total environment for the action in a novel or play. includes time, place, and social/political/spiritual circumstance
a popular form of verse consisting of fourteen lines and a prescribed rhyme scheme. Shakespeare wrote what has become known as Elizabethan sonnet, others use form called the Italian sonnet
a group of two or more lines of poetry combined according to subject matter, rhyme, or some other plan
the manner in which an author uses and arranges words, shapes, ideas, forms sentences, and creates structure in order to coney ideas
a subordinate of minor collection of events in a novel or play, usually connected to the main plot
use of one object to evoke associations not literally a part of the orignal object
arrangement of words in a sentence- either organization of causes, type of sentence, length of sentence, etc.
the main idea or meaning, often an abstract idea upon which a work of literature is built
the author's attitude toward the subject being written about
a synonym for poetry. also a group of lines in a song or poem. also a single line of poetry
the real or assumed personality used by a writer or speaker. in grammar, use of active or passive voice refers to use of verbs (active- the boy raked the leaves. passive- the leaves were raked by the boy)
A short tale often featuring nonhuman characters that act as people whose actions enable the author to make observations or draw useful lessons about human behavior.
A story containing unreal, imaginary features.
figure of speech, figurative language
In contrast to literal language, figurative language implies meanings. Figures of speech include metaphors, similes, and personification, among many others.
A narrative told by a character involved in the story, using first-person pronouns such as I and we.
A return to an earlier time in a story or play in order to clarify present action or circumstances.
A minor character whose personality or attitude contrasts with that of the main character. Juxtaposing one character agaist another intensifies the qualities of both, to advantage or sometimes to disadvantage.
Providing hints of things to come in a story or play. The prophecy of the three witches that Macbeth and Banquo encounter on the heath, for example, spurs virtually everything that occurs in the rest of the play.
A kind of poetry without rhymed lines, rhythm, or fixed metrical feet.
A term used to describe literary forms, such as novel, play, and essay.
Overstatement; gross exaggeration for rhetorical effect.
A word or phrase representing that which can be seen, touched, tasted, smelled, or felt.
A rendering of a quotation in which actual words are not stated but only approximated or paraphrased.
A mode of expression in which the intended meaning is the opposite of what is stated, often implying ridicule or light sarcasm; a state of affairs or events that is the reverse of what might have been expected.