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62 terms

Literary elements

STUDY
PLAY
Metaphor
comparison of two things without using like or as
Simile
comparison of two things using like or as
Personification
human characteristics are given to non-human things
Allegory
story or poem with two meanings: a literal meaning and a figurative (metaphorical/symbolic) meaning
Verbal irony
characters mean the exact opposite of what they say; sarcasm
Dramatic irony
readers know something that the characters do not
Situational irony
the opposite of what is expected occurs
Plot
sequence of a story that has five parts: setting, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement
Setting
time and place of action in a story
Rising action
conflicts are introduced
Climax
turning point of a story (no more conflicts arise after this)
Falling action
conflicts begin to be resolved
Denouement
story is resolved and comes to a close
Characterization
description of a character, either direct or indirect
Oxymoron
pair of opposite words (bright night)
Onomatopoeia
sound effects (crash, bang, boom)
Theme
underlying lesson or moral in writing
Tone
the attitude a writer takes within a work (satiric, ironic, hyperbolic, etc)
Paradox
apparent contradictions which are true
Alliteration
repeated consonant sounds
Assonance
repeated vowel sounds
Elegy
poem that mourns the death of a person or laments something lost
Lyric poem
songlike poem that expresses emotion or thoughts rather than a story
Pun
a play on words with multiple meanings or with words that sound alike but have different meanings
Epiphany
a moment of sudden insight or revelation
Visual imagery
descriptive language that appeals to the sense of sight
Aural imagery
descriptive language that appeals to the sense of hearing
Tactile imagery
descriptive language that appeals to the sense of touch
Olfactory imagery
descriptive language that appeals to the sense of smell
Gustatory imagery
descriptive language that appeals to the sense of taste
Symbol
creature, concept, object, idea with both literal and figurative meanings
Stream of consciousness
writing style that mimics the random flow of thoughts, emotions and memories running through a characters mind
Carpe diem
"seize the day" is a literary theme that urges us to live in the present moment
Foreshadowing
hints or clues an author gives about what is to come later on
Flashback
author remembers the past, but acts like it is happening now
Iambic pentameter
line of poetry made of five iambs (10 syllables) and is the most common verse rhythm of poetry. An iamb is a unit of measure made of one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable
existentialism
a philosophy that suggests we must struggle to create our won meaning and morality in the absence of absolute values; many believe that the universe is indifferent to human suffering
enjambment
continuation of meaning from one line of poetry to the next
caesura
pause of break within a line of poetry, usually indicated by a natural rhythm
sonnet
14-line poem about love, death, and/or time
pastoral poetry
works set in an idealized countryside
exaggeration
extreme overstatement
understatement
extreme sarcasm, saying much less than what you mean
hyperbole
extreme extreme exaggeration
blank verse
unrhymed iambic pentameter
free verse
poetry with no regular meter or rhyme scheme
couplet
pair of rhyming lines in poetry
tercet
triplet or three rhyming lines in poetry
quatrain
a four line stanza or poem usually unified by a rhyme scheme
sestet
a six line stanza or poem, or the last six lines of a Petrarchan (Italian) sonnet
octave
an eight line stanza or poem, or the first eight lines of a Petrarchan (Italian) sonnet where the rhyme scheme is abbaabba
satire
writing that ridicules human weakness, vice, or folly in order to cause social reform
ode
complex, long lyric poem on a serious subject
journal
record of events, kept regularly by an eyewitness or participant
chronicle
historical account of specific events told in chronological order
metaphysical conceits
especially complex and ingenious figures of speech that make surprising connections between two seemingly extremely dissimilar things
tragedy
depicts serious events where the protagonist (usually high-ranking and dignified) comes to an unhappy end
tragic hero
a character of high status who possesses a tragic flaw
tragic flaw
a great weakness that causes the tragic hero's downfall
catastrophe
the ruin, devastation, calamity caused by the tragic hero's tragic flaw
catharsis
figurative cleansing of emotions caused by the resolution of catastrophe
aside
private words a character speaks to the audience or to another character which are not heard by others onstage