Terms in this set (43)
A form of literature in which objects, events, or people are presented symbolically, so that the story conveys a meaning other than and deeper than actual incident or character described, kind of like a story within a story. Often the form is used to teach a moral lesson. Ex. Golding's Lord of the Flies is an allegory because the boys fit certain social types. / Orwell's Animal Farm is an allegory of (and satire on) the Russian Revolution.
Reference to something - a person, a concept, a quotation, or character - from literature, history, mythology, politics, etc. Ex. My uncle is a real Scrooge. / Helen was not more lovely. / D'Oh!
A story related to the thesis or argument which attempts to elaborate on them. It is a short narrative detailing the particulars of an episode or event and is often used at the beginning of a piece of work to introduce the subject that will follow. Ex. A parent saying to a child: "When I was in high school..."
A comparison of two objects that are essentially different but have at least one common quality. An analogy is often used to explain an unfamiliar idea or concept in terms of a similar or familiar one. Ex. Learning to swim is like learning to ride a bike
A protagonist who, though obviously un-heroic, or lacking typical qualities of a hero, may be a sympathetic character as portrayed by the author.
A literary term used to describe an image, character type, or plot that occurs frequently in myths, religion, folklore, and literature. Some archetypes often found in literary works are the images of the seasons, of life, death, and rebirth; the characters of the hero- adventurer; the fatal woman; the story of the quest; and the purifying journey.
Atmosphere (or Mood)
Feelings evoked in the reader by a literary work through word choice, descriptive details, and evocative imagery. It has an intangible, subjective quality. Ex. Happy, mysterious, sad.
An emotional draining of the audience when watching a tragedy.
A comic element in a tragedy to relieve tension.
The event that sets the plot in motion.
a struggle between opposing characters, forces, or emotions, usually between the protagonist and someone or something else.
The emotional overtones the word has in the reader's mind, e.g. "home" as opposed to "house".
The literal or dictionary meaning of a word.
The selection and arrangement of words in a piece of writing. Good diction is that which is appropriate to the subject, the reader, and the writer's purpose.
often the protagonist goes through significant change.
Flat (static) Character
A character lacking complexity, often built on one unchanging characteristic.
A character, usually minor, that contrasts with, and so sheds light on, the protagonist.
refers to clues that hint at what is going to happen later in the plot. Foreshadowing is used to arouse the reader's curiosity, build suspense, and help prepare the reader to accept events that occur later in the story.
A disastrous error in judgment brought about by the tragic flaw in a character that leads to his downfall.
A literary device that uses deliberate exaggeration for the purpose of emphasis. Hyperbole can be used for serious literary effect or to achieve a humorous reaction from the reader. An hyperbole is also often used to create irony. Ex. "It was so cold, even the polar bears were wearing jackets."
The use of language to represent descriptively things, actions, or abstract ideas. A 'picture' created in the mind with the use of descriptive language - one which appeals to the reader's senses and imagination. Similes, metaphors, personification, and symbols are all specific kinds of imagery.Ex. "O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!"
a contrast between what is done and what is expected, or what is said and what is understood. Ex. Verbal Irony: saying the opposite of what one means. / Dramatic Irony: the audience knows something that the characters do not know / Situational Irony: the circumstances are not what we would expect.
A comparison between two seemingly unlike things without the use of "like" or "as". This comparison creates identity. Ex. My love is a rose. / The sea of grass swayed in the wind.
A recurring element within a single literary work.
A device that combines contradictory words for effect, E.g. the wisdom of fools. / 'O happy death'.
An apparent contradiction or absurdity that, upon deeper analysis, contains a degree of truth. Ex. "I must be cruel to be kind" / Amongst friends, but all alone.
A humorous imitation of a piece of writing, film, or drama that mocks the original by exaggerating or distorting some of its salient features.
A literary device in which nature or inanimate things are described in a way that is sympathetic or prophetic about events or the emotions of the characters.
Scenes or passages in a literary work which evoke pity or sorrow.
a metaphor in which human attributes are given to inanimate objects.
A brief introduction to a literary work.
ordinary language or literary expression not marked by rhythm or rhyme is called prose.
The outcome of the climax - the answer to the main conflict.
A literary work that deliberately attacks and ridicules human vices and follies, often with the purpose of teaching a lesson or encouraging change. Satire can be light-hearted or biting, depending on the object of the satirist's attack. The satirist's tools are exaggeration and irony. The satirist points to the difference between the ideal - a world based on common sense and moral standards - and the real, which may be silly, vicious, alienating, or immoral.
the place and time of a story, play, or poem.
A figure of speech that makes a comparison between two seemingly unlike things using a connective word, such as "like" or "as". Ex. Strong as an ox. Striped like a skunk.
A type of flat character who is easily recognized and who serves a familiar function.
Refers to the distinctive way a person writes. It is the sum effect of the author's choice of voice, vocabulary, sentence structure, sentence length, tone, and use of devices such as onomatopoeia, and rhythm.
The condition of being uncertain about an outcome, used by writers to create tension, excitement, or anxiety.
A symbol is literary device that contains several layers of meaning, often concealed at first sight, and is representative of several other aspects, concepts or traits than those that are visible in the literal translation alone. Symbol is using an object or action that means something more than its literal meaning.
a central or dominating idea, thesis, or meaning of a literary work, usually implied rather than directly stated. A thematic statement, always expressed as a sentence, is a statement of a reader's understanding of theme in a story. For example, a theme in the short story "The Fall of a City" is the insensitivity of adults in socializing children into accepted standards of behavior.
The attitude a writer expresses toward his or her subject and toward the presumed audience. The tone or writing may be formal or informal, personal or impersonal, angry or cheerful, bitter or hopeful, and so on.
The appearance of reality or semblance of truth and reality. The term is used in criticism to indicate the degree to which a writer faithfully presents the truth.