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Terms in this set (86)
A symbolism device where the meaning of a greater, often abstract, concept is conveyed with the aid of a more corporeal object or idea being used as an example. Usually a rhetoric device, it suggests a meaning via metaphoric examples.
A literary device where words are used in quick succession and begin with letters belonging to the same sound group. Whether it is the consonant sound or a specific vowel group, it involves creating a repetition of similar sounds in the sentence. They are also created when the words all begin with the same letter. They are used to add character to the writing and often add an element of 'fun' to the piece..
A figure of speech whereby the author refers to a subject matter such as a place, event, or literary work by way of a passing reference. It is up to the reader to make a connection to the subject being mentioned.
Refers to a literary practice wherein the writer embellishes the sentence by adding more information to it in order to increase its worth and understandability. When a plain sentence is too abrupt and fails to convey the full implications desired, it comes into play when the writer adds more to the structure to give it more meaning.
An extremely popular form of literary device wherein the writer jumbles up parts of the word to create a new word. From the syllables of a phrase to the individual letters of a word, any fraction can be jumbled to create a new form. A form of wordplay that allows the writer to infuse mystery and a little interactive fun in the writing so that the reader can decipher the actual word on their own and discover a depth of meaning to the writing.
A literary device that helps to establish a relationship based on similarities between two concepts or ideas. By using it we can convey a new idea by using the blueprint of an old one as a basis for understanding. With a mental linkage between the two, one can create comprehension regarding the new concept in a simple and succinct manner.
A form of literary device wherein the order of the noun and the adjective in the sentence is exchanged. In standard parlance and writing the adjective comes before the noun but when one is employing this literary device the noun is followed by the adjective. This reversed order creates a dramatic impact and lends weight to the description offered by the adjective.
Can be understood to be the act of lending a human quality, emotion or ambition to a non-human object or being. This act of lending a human element to a non-human subject is often employed in order to endear the latter to the readers or audience and increase the level of relativity between the two while also lending character to the subject.
Used when the writer employs two sentences of contrasting meanings in close proximity to one another. Whether they are words or phrases of the same sentence, this literary device is used to create a stark contrast using two divergent elements that come together to create one uniform whole. It plays on the complementary property of opposites to create one vivid picture. The purpose of using this literary device in literature is to create a balance between opposite qualities and lend a greater insight into the subject.
A concise statement that is made in a matter of fact tone to state a principle or an opinion that is generally understood to be a universal truth. These are often adages, wise sayings and maxims aimed at imparting sense and wisdom. It is to be noted that these are usually witty and curt and often have an underlying tone of authority to them.
A reference to a concept, a person or an object that has served as a prototype of its kind and is the original idea that has come to be used over and over again. These are literary devices that employ the use of a famous concept, person or object to convey a wealth of meaning. These are immediately identifiable and even though they run the risk of being overused, they are still the best examples of their kind.
Refers to repetition of sounds produced by vowels within a sentence or phrase. In this regard it can be understood to be a kind of alliteration. What sets it apart from alliterations is that it is the repetition of only vowel sounds. It is the opposite of consonance, which implies repetitive usage of consonant sounds.
A practice in literature whereby the author purposely leaves out conjunctions in the sentence, while maintaining the grammatical accuracy of the phrase. A literary tool that helps in shortening up the implied meaning of the entire phrase and presenting it in a succinct form. This compact version helps in creating an immediate impact whereby the reader is instantly attuned to what the writer is trying to convey. Use of this literary device helps in creating a strong impact and such sentences have greater recall worth since the idea is presented in a nutshell.
An interesting literary device wherein the author penning the story, poem or prose steps away from the text and speaks out to the reader. This establishes a one to one relationship between the writer and the reader where the latter is no longer a secondary player or an indirect audience to the progress of the story but is the main subject of the author's attention.
As the very name itself suggests, this kind of literary device finds its roots in biblical origins. This term refers to the practice of basing a plot happening or event and anticipating the results it will have on a faction of the Bible. It involves a random selection process wherein the biblical passage is chosen as a founding stone for basing the outcome of the writing. In an overall context, not limited to just literature, it refers to foretelling the future by turning to random portions of the Bible for guidance.
This is a very popular form of storytelling whereby the author bases the plot on the overall growth of the central character throughout the timeline of the story. As the story progresses, the subject undergoes noticeable mental, physical, social, emotional, moral, and often spiritual advancement and strengthening before the readers' eyes. It has often been seen that the protagonist begins with views, aims and dreams that are in contrast to the other character's in the story and then fights his or her way through to achieve them.
In literature, it refers to the use of words and phrases that imply strong, harsh sounds within the phrase. These words have jarring and dissonant sounds that create a disturbing, objectionable atmosphere.
This literary device involves creating a fracture of sorts within a sentence where the two separate parts are distinguishable from one another yet intrinsically linked to one another. The purpose of using it is to create a dramatic pause, which has a strong impact. The pause helps to add an emotional, often theatrical touch to the sentence and conveys a depth of sentiment in a short phrase.
In literature it refers to a step-by-step process wherein a character of a story is brought to notice and then detailed upon in front of the reader. It is a sort of initiation wherein the reader is introduced to the character. The initial step is to introduce the character with a marked emergence. After the arrival his behavior is discussed. This is followed by an insight into his thought-process. Then comes the part where the character voices his opinions or converses with others in the story. The last and finalizing part is when others in the plot respond to the character's presence.
A literary tool where a rhetoric figure of speech is utilized. The uniqueness of a this literary device arises from the fact that it has two fractions in the whole phrase/ prose/ paragraph and these two fractions are in sync with one another. The second fraction is arranged in a syntactically tuned form with respect to the first.
A form of writing where the writer uses exaggeratedly long and complex sentences in order to convey a meaning that could have otherwise been conveyed through a shorter, much simpler sentence. It involves stating an idea or a view in an indirect manner that leaves the reader guessing and grasping at the actual meaning.
It is a literary device used for expressing a resistance the protagonist of the story finds in achieving his aims/ dreams. It is a discord that can have external aggressors or can even arise from within the self. It occurs when the subject is battling his inner discord, may be at odds with his surroundings and lastly, may be pitted against others in the story.
A complex literary device wherein the intended meaning is not stated clearly and is instead conveyed through covert, indirect means. It leaves a little of the meaning unstated so that the reader can decode it for himself.
It refers to repetition of sounds produced by consonants within a sentence or phrase. In this regard it can be understood to be a kind of alliteration. What sets it apart from alliterations is that it is the repetition of only consonant sounds. It is the opposite of assonance, which implies repetitive usage of vowel sounds.
It refers to expressing a meaning or the significance of a part of a story in a straightforward, clear-cut manner. There is no roundabout, covert manner employed and hence it is the opposite of connotation.
Deus ex Machina
A rather debatable and often criticized form of literary device. It refers to the incidence where an implausible concept or character is brought into the story in order to make the conflict in the story resolve and to bring about a pleasing solution. The use of it is not recommended as it is seen to be the mark of a poor plot that the writer needs to resort to random, insupportable and unbelievable twists and turns to reach the end of the story.
It is the distinctive tone or tenor of an author's writings. It is not just a writer's choice of words it can include the mood, attitude, dialect and style of writing. It is usually judged with reference to the prevailing standards of proper writing and speech and is seen as the mark of quality of the writing. It is also understood as the selection of certain words or phrases that become peculiar to a writer.
The term is derived from the German language and literally translates into 'double walker'. It refers to a character in the story that is actually a counterfeit or a copy of a real/ genuine character. They usually bear the ability to impersonate the original main characters but have vastly different spirits and intentions. It usually has a different appearance but an earthly soul and supernatural hoodwinking abilities that allow it to fool other unsuspecting characters.
Refers to a form of writing, mostly poetry, wherein the author describes another work of art, usually visual. It is used to convey the deeper symbolism of the corporeal art form by means of a separate medium. It has often been found that the use of this literary device in writing is rhetorical in nature and symbolic of a greater meaning.
They are an inherent part of any story or poem and are essential to the structure of any written form. It is an important literary tool that acts as the afterword once the last chapter is over. The purpose of it is to add a little insight to some interesting developments that happen once the major plot is over. They often act as a teaser trailer to any possible sequels that might be created later. Sometimes it is used to add a little bit about the life/future of the main characters after the story itself has unfolded and wrapped up. They are an interesting faction because they can be written in a number of ways: sometimes the same narrative style as adopted in the story is continued while at other times one of the characters might take up the narrative or speak one-to-one with the audience.
A literary device that is used as a descriptive device. It is usually used to add to a person or place's regular name and attribute some special quality to the same. They are remarkable in that they become a part of common parlance over time. These descriptive words and phrases can be used to enhance the persona of real and fictitious places, objects, persons and divinities.
This term is used to refer to the literary practice of using a comparatively milder or less abrasive form of a negative description instead of its original, unsympathetic form. This device is used when writing about matters such as sex, violence, death, crimes and "embarrassing". The purpose of this literary device is to substitute unpleasant and severe words with more genteel ones in order to mask the harshness.. The use of them is sometimes manipulated to lend a touch of exaggeration or irony in satirical writing.
This literary device refers to the use of phrases and words that are noted for possessing an extensive degree of notable loveliness or melody in the sound they create. The use of this literary device is predominant in literary prose and poetry, where poetic devices such as alliterations, rhymes and assonance are used to create pleasant sounds. It is the opposite of cacophony, which refers to the creation of unpleasant and harsh sounds by using certain words/ phrases together. This literary devices is based on the use and manipulation of phonetics in literature.
In literature, the term is used to refer to the practice placing together similarly structure related phrases, words or clauses. It involves placing sentence items in a parallel grammatical format wherein nouns are listed together, specific verb forms are listed together and the suchlike. When one fails to follow this parallel structure, it results in this literary device. The failure to maintain a balance in grammatical wherein similar grammatical forms receive dissimilar/unequal weight.
A literary device wherein the writer/ author depicts the occurrence of specific events to the reader, which have taken place before the present time the narration is following, or events that have happened before the events that are currently being unfolded in the story. These are devices that are commonly used are past narratives by characters, depictions and references of dreams and memories and a sub-device known as authorial sovereignty wherein the author directly chooses to refer to a past occurrence by bringing it up in a straightforward manner. It is used to create a background to the present situation, place or person.
A literary device where the author creates a character whose primary purpose is to create a contrast to another character by laying emphasis or drawing attention to the latter's traits and characteristics through the former's obviously contradictory ones.
This literary device refers to the use of indicative words/phrases and hints that set the stage for a story to unfold and give the reader a hint of something that is going to happen without revealing the story or spoiling the suspense. It is used to suggest an upcoming outcome to the story.
Another way of saying overly arrogant. You can tell the difference between this and just regular arrogance or pride by the fact that the character has seemed to allow reality slip away from them. The character portraying this literary device, also commonly referred to as hybris, may have just gained a huge amount of power and the false belief that they are "untouchable". This term used to have a slightly different meaning and was a very negative subject back in ancient Greek. It used to be closely related to a crime in Athens. In writing and literature it is generally considered a "tragic flaw" and it is saved for the protagonist. The reason for this is because at the end of the story you should be able to see that it is this flaw that brings the "bad guy" down.
A literary device wherein the author plays with the regular positioning of words and phrases and creates a differently structured sentence to convey the same meaning. It is said that by using it, words/ phrases overstep their conventional placements and result in a more complex and intriguing sentence structure. This literary device is used to add more depth and interest to the sentence structure.
A literary device wherein the author uses specific words and phrases that exaggerate and overemphasize the basic crux of the statement in order to produce a grander, more noticeable effect. The purpose of it is to create a larger-than-life effect and overly stress a specific point. Such sentences usually convey an action or sentiment that is generally not practically/ realistically possible or plausible but helps emphasize an emotion.
One of the strongest devices wherein the author uses words and phrases to create "mental images" for the reader. It helps the reader to visualize and therein more realistically experience the author's writings. The usage of metaphors, allusions, descriptive words and similes amongst other literary forms in order to "tickle" and awaken the readers' sensory perceptions. It is not limited to only visual sensations, but also refers to igniting kinesthetic, olfactory, tactile, gustatory, thermal and auditory sensations as well.
This literary device is a practice of forming a rhyme in only one lone line of verse. Also known as the middle rhyme because it is typically constructed in the middle of a line to rhyme with the bit at the end of the same metrical line.
The term 'refers to the practice of changing the conventional placement of words. It is a literary practice typical of the older classical poetry genre. In present day literature it is usually used for the purpose of laying emphasis this literary device is more prevalent in poetry than prose because it helps to arrange the poem in a manner that catches the attention of the reader not only with its content but also with its physical appearance; a result of the peculiar structuring.
Refers to playing around with words such that the meaning implied by a sentence/word is actually different from the literal meaning derived. Often, it is used to suggest the stark contrast of the literal meaning being put forth. The deeper, real layer of significance is revealed not by the words themselves but the situation and the context in which they are placed.
A literary device wherein the author places a person, concept, place, idea or theme parallel to another. The purpose of putting two directly/indirectly related entities close together in literature is to highlight the contrast between the two and compare them. This literary device is usually used for etching out a character in detail, creating suspense or lending a rhetorical effect.
Characteristically related to works in Old English poetry where the author would use a twist of words, figure of speech or magic poetic phrase or a newly created compound sentence or phrase to refer to a person, object, place, action or idea. The use of imagery and indicative, direct and indirect references to substitute the proper, formal name of the subject. The use of this literary device was also prevalent in Old Norse and Germanic poetry.
Refers to the practice of misusing words by substituting words with similar sounding words that have different, often unconnected meanings, and thus creating a situation of confusion, misunderstanding and amusement. Used to convey that the speaker/character is flustered, bothered, unaware or confused and as a result cannot employ proper diction. A trick to using this literary device is to ensure that the two words (the original and the substitute) sound similar enough for the reader to catch onto the intended switch and find humor in the result.
One of the most extensively used literary devices. It refers to a meaning or identity ascribed to one subject by way of another. In a this literary device, one subject is implied to be another so as to draw a comparison between their similarities and shared traits. The first subject, which/who is the focus of the sentences is usually compared to the second subject, which is used to convey/carry a degree of meaning that is used to characterize the first. The purpose of using this literary device is to take an identity or concept that we understand clearly (second subject) and use it to better understand the lesser-known element (the first subject).
Refers to the practice of not using the formal word for an object/subject and instead referring to it by using another word that is intricately linked to the formal name/word. It is the practice of substituting the main word with a word that is closely linked to it.
Refers to a definitive stance the author adopts in shaping a specific emotional perspective towards the subject of the literary work. It refers to the mental and emotional disposition of the author towards the subject, which in turn lends a particular character or atmosphere to the work. The final tone achieved thus is instrumental in evoking specific, appropriate responses from the reader.
Any element, subject, idea or concept that is constantly present through the entire body of literature. Using it refers to the repetition of a specific theme dominating the literary work. They are very noticeable and play a significant role in defining the nature of the story, the course of events and the very fabric of the literary piece.
The use of this literary device in literature is a concept promoted by poet John Keats, who was of the opinion that literary achievers, especially poets, should be able to come to terms with the fact that some matters might have to be left unsolved and uncertain. Keats was of the opinion that some certainties were best left open to imagination and that the element of doubt and ambiguity added romanticism and specialty to a concept.
In literature, the use of this literary device refers to a situation of poetic justice wherein the positive characters are rewarded and the negative characters are penalized. The word also sometimes refers to the character or medium by which this justice is brought about as the name of this literary device also refers to the patron goddess of vengeance according to classical mythology.
Refers to words whose very sound is very close to the sound they are meant to depict. In other words, it refers to sound words whose pronunciation to the actual sound/noise they represent.
A significant literary device as it allows the author to use contradictory, contrasting concepts placed together in a manner that actually ends up making sense in a strange, and slightly complex manner. It is an interesting literary device because it helps to perceive a deeper level of truth and explore different layers of semantics while writing.
Refers to the use of concepts/ideas that are contradictory to one another, yet, when placed together they hold significant value on several levels. The uniqueness of this literary device lies in the fact that a deeper level of meaning and significance is not revealed at first glace, but when it does crystallize, it provides astonishing insight.
A type of literary device whereby the author ascribes the human feelings of one or more of his/her characters to non-human objects or nature or phenomena. It is a type of personification, and is known to occur more by accident and less on purpose.
Refers to a particular placement of sentence elements such as the main clause of the sentence and/or its predicate are purposely held off and placed at the end instead of at the beginning or their conventional positions. In such placements, the crux of the sentence's meaning does not become clear to the reader until they reach the last part. While undeniably confusing at first, it lends a flair of drama and romanticism to a sentence and is greatly used in poetry.
Refers to the use of excessive language and surplus words to convey a meaning that could otherwise be conveyed with fewer words and in more direct a manner. The use of this literary device can be to embellish a sentence, to create a grander effect, to beat around the bush and to draw attention away from the crux of the message being conveyed.
One of the most commonly used and recognized literary devices. It refers to the practice of attaching human traits and characteristics with inanimate objects, phenomena and animals.
Usually refers to the sequence of events and happenings that make up a story. There is usually a pattern, unintended or intentional, that threads the plot together. It basically refers to the main outcome and order of the story. It also refers to the conflict or clash occurring as a part of the story. The conflict usually follows 3 regular formats: a) characters in conflict with one another b) characters in conflict with their surroundings and c) characters in conflict with themselves.
Point of View
A literary device that depicts the manner in which a story is narrated/ depicted and who it is that tells the story. Simply put, it determines the angle and perception of the story unfolding, and thus influences the tone in which the story takes place. It is instrumental in manipulating the reader's understanding of the narrative. In a way, the point of view can allow or withhold the reader access into the greater reaches of the story. Two of the most common techniques are the first person, wherein the story is told by the narrator from his/ her standpoint and the third person wherein the narrator does not figure in the events of the story and tells the story by referring to all characters and places in the third person with third person pronouns and proper nouns.
Refers to the process of using conjunctions or connecting words frequently in a sentence, placed very close to one another, as opposed to the usual norm of using them sparsely, only where they are technically needed. The use of this literary device is primarily for adding dramatic effect as they have a strong rhetorical presence.
In literature, this device refers to the practice of joining together two or more words in order to create an entirely new word. This is often done in order to create a name or word for something by combining the individual characteristics of 2 or more other words.
A sort of introduction to a story that usually sets the tone for the story and acts as a bit of a backgrounder or a "sneak peek" into the story. It is typically a narrative 'spoken' by one of the characters and not from the part of the author.
A very popular literary device wherein a word is used in a manner to suggest two or more possible meanings. This is generally done to the effect of creating humor or irony or wryness. It can also refer to words that suggest meanings of similar-sounding words. The trick is to make the reader have an "ah!" moment and discover 2 or more meanings.
The practice of rhyming words placed at the end of the lines in the prose/poetry. It refers to the order in which particular words rhyme.
Rhythm and Rhyme
A pattern of rhymes that is created by using words that produce the same, or similar sounds. It refers to the recurrence of similar sounds in prose and poetry, creating a musical, gentle effect.
Refers to the practice of making fun of a human weakness or character flaw. The use of this literary device is often inclusive of a need or decision of correcting or bettering the character that is on the receiving end of it. In general, even though it might be humorous and may "make fun", its purpose is not to entertain and amuse but actually to derive a reaction of contempt from the reader.
It is used to identify and establish the time, place and mood of the events of the story. It basically helps in establishing where and when and under what circumstances the story is taking place.
One of the most commonly used literary devices; referring to the practice of drawing parallels or comparisons between two unrelated and dissimilar things, people, beings, places and concepts. By using this literary device a greater degree of meaning and understanding is attached to an otherwise simple sentence. The reader is able to better understand the sentiment the author wishes to convey. They are marked by the use of the words 'as' or 'such as' or 'like'.
The practice of interchanging the first letters of some words in order to create new words or even to create nonsensical words in order to create a humorous setting. While they are often unintentional and known as a "slip of the tongue", in literature they are welcomed as witty word-play.
Refers to a single, related chunk of lines in poetry. It basically refers to one unit or group of lines, which forms one particular faction in poetry.
Stream of consciousness
Refers to an uninterrupted and unhindered collection and occurrence of thoughts and ideas in the conscious mind. In literature, the phrase refers to the flow of these thoughts, with reference to a particular character's thinking process. This literary device is usually used in order to provide a narrative in the form of the character's thoughts instead of using dialogue or description.
The intense feeling that an audience goes through while waiting for the outcome of certain events. It basically leaves the reader holding their breath and wanting more information. The amount of intensity in a suspenseful moment is why it is hard to put a book down. Without this literary device, a reader would lose interest quickly in any story because there is nothing that is making the reader ask, "What's going to happen next?" In writing, there has to be a series of events that leads to a climax that captivates the audience and makes them tense and anxious to know what is going to happen.
The device comes into play when a single word that influences or regulates two or more than two other words needs to be comprehended individually and in light of every particular ensuing word. It is often used for a comical, wry and witty effect.
A literary device that contains several layers of meaning, often concealed at first sight, and is representative of several other aspects/ concepts/traits than those that are visible in the literal translation alone. Using an object or action that means something more than its literal meaning.
A literary device that uses a part of something to refer to the whole. It is somewhat rhetorical in nature, where the entire object is represented by way of a faction of it or a faction of the object is symbolized by the full.
While the term literally refers to a medical condition wherein one or many of the sensory modalities become joint to one another, in literature it refers to the depiction of a strong connection, link or bond between the different senses. It is the conflation of the senses.
Refers to the actual way in which words and sentences are placed together in the writing. Usually in the English language it should follow a pattern of subject-verb-object agreement but sometimes authors play around with this to achieve a lyrical, rhythmic, rhetoric or questioning effect. It is not related to the act of choosing specific words or even the meaning of each word or the overall meanings conveyed by the sentences.
The base topic or focus that acts as a foundation for the entire literary piece. It links all aspects of the literary work with one another and is basically the main subject. It can be an enduring pattern or motif throughout the literary work, occurring in a complex, long winding manner or it can be short and succinct and provide a certain insight into the story.
The perspective or attitude that the author adopts with regards to a specific character, place or development. It can portray a variety of emotions ranging from solemn, grave, and critical to witty, wry and humorous. It helps the reader ascertain the writer's feelings towards a particular topic and this in turn influences the reader's understanding of the story.
Refers to a series of unfortunate events by which one or more of the literary characters in the story undergo several misfortunes, which finally culminate into a disaster of 'epic proportions'. It is generally built up in 5 stages: a) happy times b) the introduction of a problem c) the problem worsens to a crisis/ dilemma d) the characters are unable to prevent the problem from taking over e) the problem results in some catastrophic, grave ending, which is the tragedy culminated.
The practice of drawing attention to a fact that is already obvious and noticeable. It is usually done by way of sarcasm, irony, wryness or any other form of dry humor. It something is akin to exaggerating its obviousness as a means of humor.
An interesting literary device wherein the quality of seeming truthfulness or verity is ascribed to a person, notion, concept, statement or event. The quality of the stated seeming to be true and correct and accurate.
Used to refer to any single, lone line of a poetry composition. A metrical writing line. The word can however, also refer to a stanza or any other part of the poetry.
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