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Describes the relationship between the action (and state) that the verb expresses and the participants identified by its arguments (subject, object, etc.). When the subject is the agent or actor of the verb, the verb is in the active voice.
An extended narrative, which carries a second meaning along with its surface story; the people and events are symbolic.
Referring metaphorically to persons, places, and things from history or previous literature. Enrich their contexts by reminding the reader of relevant associations.
The forces arrayed against the main character (persons, things, conventions of society, or traits of the protagonist's own character).
An abrupt declension (either deliberate or unintended) on the part of a speaker or writer from the dignity of idea which he appeared to be aiming at. (ex. "The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.")
The direct addressing of a person, an inanimate entity, or an abstract quality as though it were present and listening.
An essay, which attempts to convince the reader of the truth of a premise by means of logic and other forms of persuasion.
Usually relate to how certain types of evidence cannot be used to logically conclude something.
A stage convention used to indicate words spoken by a character but heard only by the audience and not by other characters on stage.
The repetition of vowel sounds without the repetition of the same consonants. (ex. The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.)
The mood the reader gets from the setting, the characterization and the tone of the narrator.
Four-line stanzas (quatrains) with alternating four-beat and three-beat lines, and rhymes in the second and fourth lines.
A description of a person using exaggeration of some characteristics and oversimplification of others for comic reasons.
cause and effect
Two events are related when one event brings about or causes the other. The event that happens first is the cause; the one that follows is the effect.
A person who is responsible for the thoughts and actions within a story, poem, or other literature.
A character that contrasts with another character (usually the protagonist) and so highlights various facets of the main character's personality.
A group of people who serve mainly as commentators on the characters and events. Add to the audience's understanding of the play by expressing traditionally moral, religious, and social attitudes.
Turning point, point of maximum interest, and highest tension in the plot of a story, play, or film. Usually occurs towards the end of story after the reader has understood the conflict and become emotionally involved with the characters.
The inclusion of a humorous character or scene in an otherwise serious work of literature.
The tension or problem of a story; a struggle between opposing forces. (man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. himself)
The cluster of implications that words or phrases may carry with them, as distinguished from their denotative, or exact, meanings.
A special type of alliteration in which the repeated pattern of consonants are marked by changes in the intervening vowels.
The specific, exact meaning of a word, independent of its emotional coloration or associations.
The outcome of a series of events, the resolution that occurs after the climax of a work of literature.
When the writer tells readers what kind of personality the character possesses rather than allowing the character to show his or her personality and allow readers to draw their own conclusions.
A situation in a narrative or drama where the audience knows more than the character.
When a single character addresses a silent audience at a critical moment and reveals something about himself or herself.
A poem that is a long narrative, has a hero or anti-hero, uses elevated language, and in which the outcome of a group of people is based on the success or failure of the protagonist.
A short addition of concluding section at the end of a literary work, often dealing with the future of its characters.
A revelation of such power and insight that it alters the world-view of the person who experiences it.
An inscription on a tombstone or monument in memory of the person buried there; a summary statement of commemoration for a dead person.
The "exposing" of the story behind the story; an act of writing a speech for the purpose of conveying information.
A metaphor that is extended through a stanza or entire poem, often by multiple comparisons of unlike objects or ideas.
Language that contains many poetic devices; a way of saying something other than the literal meaning of words.
first person point of view
A POV in which an "I" or "we" serves as a narrator of a piece of literature.
A character that contrasts with and reveals various aspects of the main character's personality.
The use of "high" language or dialect in preference to "low" language or dialect; academic language
Employs a narrative technique whereby an introductory main story is composed, at least in part, for the purpose of setting the stage for a fictive narrative or organizing a set of shorter stories, each of which is a story within a story.
The central character of a story, usually possesses positive qualities (as opposed to a protagonist who can be positive or negative).
A common meter in poetry consisting of an unrhymed line with five feet or accents, each foot containing an unaccented syllable and an accented syllable.
An expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements or from the grammatical rules of a language.
Concrete details and figures of speech that help the reader to form vivid sense impressions of what is being described.
Representation through language of sense experience. Most often suggests a mental picture, but may also represent a sound, smell, taste, or tactical experience.
Literature with an uncertain ending or where some problem or conflict may remain undecided.
The writer presents the character in action, allowing the reader to draw his or her own conclusions about the personality of that character.
An essay that does not follow the restrictions of a formal paper. Personal pronouns and casual, spoken language are acceptable.
A type of stream of consciousness that depicts the inner thoughts of a character.
The problem or struggle that takes place in the main character's minds (person vs. self).
An act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.
A story handed down from the past about a specific person, usually someone of heroic accomplishments.
limited omniscient point of view
Author tells the story in third person, but from the viewpoint of a single character. The thoughts and feelings of other characters are not shown.
What is said is based exactly in reality without the comparisons used in figurative language.
A dramatic form characterized by excessive sentiment, exaggerated emotion, sensational and thrilling action, and an artificially happy ending.
A comparison between two things which are essentially dissimilar. Usually implied rather than directly stated.
Applies particularly to a story connected with the religion of a primitive civilization. Usually about gods or superhuman beings and are invented to explain certain beliefs or some aspect of nature.
objective (language, tone, etc.)
Not about the thoughts of the speaker or writer; giving the facts as they are without bias.
objective point of view
The narrator knows only what can be heard and seen from outside the characters' thoughts and emotions.
omniscient point of view
God-like scope; able to enter the mind of any character at any time to reveal his thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.
The subject of the sentence is neither a do-er or a be-er, but is acted upon by some other agent or by something unnamed.
Strategies employed (such as emotional appeal or bias) to convince a reader of a writer's point of view.
The story line or organization of incidents in a story. Consists of episodes and conflict, usually has a rising and falling action.
A joke or type of wordplay in which similar senses or sounds of two words or phrases, or different senses of the same word, are deliberately confused.
question and answer
The process of raising a question while reading in an effort to understand characters and events.
The part of a work of literature that occurs after the climax and ties up any loose ends.
A literary technique that involves asking a question that has an obvious answer that does not need to be answered.
The repetition of similar or duplicate sounds at regular intervals, usually the repetition of the terminal sounds of words at the ends of lines.
The pattern of rhyme; traditionally marked by assigning letters of the alphabet to each rhyming sound at the end of each line.
A form of literature that ridicules some aspect of human behavior, customs, or attitude in an attempt to bring about change.
When something is described by comparing it to something else, using like, than or as (ex. "He ran like a monkey.").
A dramatic conversation through which a character, alone onstage, utters his or her thoughts aloud.
stream of consciousness
A running or flowing way a character or narrator expresses his or her feelings and inner-most thoughts.
A character who does not change throughout a work; the reader's knowledge of the character also does not grow.
A one-dimensional character that possessed stereotyped qualities relating to gender, class, or ethnicity.
story within a story
A literary device in which one story is told during the action of another story.
subjective (language, tone, etc.)
Language that can be interpreted in different ways depending on the reader.
A state or condition of mental uncertainty or excitement, as in awaiting a decision or outcome, usually accompanied by a degree of apprehension or anxiety.
The author's implicit attitude towards the reader or the places, people, and events in a work of literature.
The dominating tone of a literary work, not always identifiable with the actual views of the author.
A figure of speech in which a part is used to represent the whole (ex. All hands on deck.).
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