Literary terms english semester 2

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Terms in this set (...)

Antagonist
a character or a group of characters which stand in opposition to the protagonist or the main character
Characterization
flat vs. round, static vs active
Climax
particular point in a narrative at which the conflict or tension hits the highest point
Conflict
a struggle between two opposing forces. Internal vs. external?
Diction
word choice Levels: Formal/Standard/Informal (colloquial, slang, jargon)
Denotation
the straightforward meaning vs Connotation- emotional overtones of a word
Imagery
visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work
Mood
the general atmosphere, the feeling the reader gets from the work
Motif
repetition of a meaningful element in a work, such as references to sight, vision, and blindness in Oedipus Rex
Narrator/speaker
the character telling the story
Plot
exposition (setting, character, conflict established) rising action, climax, falling action, resolution
Point of View/Narrative perspective
1st, 2nd, 3rd, omniscient vs. limited
Setting
time, place, mood
Syntax
the way in which words or phrases are ordered and connected
Style
blend of unique choices about diction, syntax, and figurative language
Tone
writer's attitude toward subject and audience- created by diction
Theme
the abstract concept explored in a literary work; themes in Hamlet include the nature of filial duty and the dilemma of the idealist in a non-ideal situation
Allegory
a form of extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious, or political significance, and characters are often personifications of abstract ideas as charity, greed, or envy
Allusion
a brief reference to a person, event, place, or work from the past
Alliteration
the repetition of the same sound at the beginning of a series of words. A separate handout will address poetic techniques, but think of of Assonance and Consonance, Onomatopoeia, and other ways to affect sound and sense as well
Ambiguity
unclear or two or more possible meanings. Writers often use it to reflect the complexity of an issue or to indicate the difficulty, perhaps the impossibility, of determining truth
Analogy
illustration of an idea by means of a more familiar, parallel one
Archetype
a generic, idealized model of a person, object, or concept from which similar instances are derived, copied, or patterned. In psychology, an archetype is a model of a person, personality, or behavior
Figurative Language
creative use of words and phrases that offers a meaning beyond the literal. See: metaphor, simile etc.
Foreshadowing
giving a hint in advance
Hyperbole
extreme exaggeration
Image
any description that appeals to one of the five senses: visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory, or olfactory
Irony
the discrepancy between what is said and what is meant, what is said and what is done, what is expected or intended and what happens, what is meant or said and what others understand
situational irony
expectations aroused by a situation are reversed
cosmic irony or the irony of fate
misfortune is the result of fate, chance, or God
dramatic irony
the audience knows more than the characters in the play, so that words and action have additional meaning for the audience
Socratic irony
after Socrates' teaching method, whereby he assumes ignorance and openness to opposing points of view which turn out to be (he shows them to be) foolish
Juxtaposition
the placing of two unlike things close to each other in order to create contrast
Metaphor
a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unlike things. A Simile uses like or as
Meter/Foot
ex. Iambic pentameter
Metonymy
a figure of speech in which a person, place or thing is referred to by something closely associated e.g. crown for monarch.
Onomatopoeia
words like wow and gasp
Oxymoron
figure of speech in which two opposite ideas are joined to create an effect. "Living death"
Paradox
a statement whose two parts seem contradictory yet make sense with more thought. Christ used paradox in his teaching: "They have ears but hear not."
Parallelism/ Repetition
rhetorical strategies used in fiction and non-fiction as well as, more familiarly, in poetry
Pathetic Fallacy
attributes human qualities and emotions to inanimate objects of nature
Personification
gives human attributes to abstract ideas, animate objects of nature or inanimate non-natural objects
Satire
a genre of literature that uses wit for the purpose of social criticism. Irony, hyperbole, and sarcasm are important techniques. An author can also "satirize" something in a larger work
Symbolism
in general terms, anything that stands for something else. Obvious examples are flags, which symbolize a nation; the cross which symbolize for Christianity
Understatement (Litotes)
intentionally underplays a situation often to opposite effect
(*Rhetoric= the art of written or spoken conversation)
assonance
repetition of the vowel sound
consonance
repetition of the consonants
enjambment
the continuation of a sentence without a pause beyond the end of a line, couplet, or stanza (in verse)