55 terms

Literary Devices

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Simile
Compares two unlike things using the words 'like', or 'as'. For example, the dog smells like dirty socks.
Metaphor
Compares two unlike things without using the words 'like' or 'as'. In the image, life is being compared to a pathway that meanders. Life is not a straightforward path.
Assonance
The repetition of vowel sounds to create rhyme in phrases or sentences.
Alliteration
The repetition of a consonant. It helps create effect, tone and mood within a text.
Personification
An object, idea or animal is given human attributes. In the movie 'Cars' the vehicles are designed with human characteristics.
Protagonist
The central or leading character in a story. Harry Potter would be the leading character in the Harry Potter series.
Antagonist
A character or group of characters that oppose the leading or central character. For example, Darth Vader opposes Luke Skywalker in 'Star Wars'.
Foreshadowing
The author hints what is to come in the unfolding story. This helps to avoid disappointment or to arouse interest in the reader.
Oxymoron
When two opposing words are placed side by side to create an effect. For example: pretty ugly, civil war, awfully good.
Suspense
A feeling of fascination or excitement mixed with fear, apprehension or tension. This device is usually used in mystery stories or movies.
Allusion
A brief and indirect reference to a person, historical event, cultural event, political event or idea. The author only refers to the concept and the reader is expected to know it or research it.
Diction
The words and sentences an author uses to craft his or her work. This enables each piece of literature to be unique, effective and correct.
Red Herring
A misleading clue. An event or character intended to divert the reader away from a significant or important piece of the plot.
Hyperbole
An exaggeration of an idea. For example: He is as big as an elephant.
Understatement
A writer deliberately makes a situation less important or serious as it really is.
Onomatopoeia
A word that resembles or imitates a sound.
Point of View
The perspective from which a writer presents or recounts his or her story.
First person point of view
The words 'I' or 'we' is used to narrate the story. For example: I walked down the road.
Second person point of view
The word 'you' is used. The writer controls all of the information and the reader has little input into the story or information. For example: You open your eyes and the sun is already in the sky.
Third person omniscient point of view
The words 'she', and 'he' is used in this narrative form. This point of view tells the reader what two or more characters are talking about. The narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of all of the characters in the story.
Third person limited point of view
The narrator only knows the thoughts and feelings of one character in a story. The narrator refers to the characters as 'he', or 'she'.
Analogy
Comparing two objects for the purpose of explaining something. For example: a heart and a pump.
Imagery
The authors use of vivid words and descriptions to help the reader create an image in his or her mind. Often times all senses are used to create imagery.
Symbol
An object that represents or stands for an idea, belief or action. A heart is a sign of love.
Theme
The central topic or idea of a text. For example: the central topic of 'Lord of the Flies' is survival.
Flat character/static character
A minor character in fiction that does not undergo any changes. They are one dimensional and lack emotional depth.
Round character
A character that has complex personality and clear human traits.
Dynamic character
A complex character that undergoes a significant change. For example: Ebenezer Scrooge undergoes a change from being very selfish to very giving.
Foil
A character who attempts to prevent another character (usually the protagonist) from achieving success.
Setting
The location and time frame in which a narrative takes place. Characters are often dependent on the location and time for their development.
Irony
An effect created by a contrast between what is expected and what is real (three types: situational, verbal and dramatic)
Dramatic irony
The audience knows more about the present or future circumstances than the characters themselves.
Literal language
The most obvious and straightforward production of a text. There is no hidden or metaphorical meanings in the text.
Figurative language
Language that uses several different literary devices such as similes and metaphors. It is open to interpretation and is more poetic in style.
Flashback
A technique in which a writer interrupts a story to go back and explain an earlier event.
Anecdote
A brief story used to illustrate or make a point. For example, Abe Lincoln walked two miles to return several pennies he had overcharged a customer.
Antithesis
The exact opposite. For example, "We decided to have the bear for supper before he 'had' us."
Idiom
Words used in a special way that may be different from their literal meaning. For example, "The traffic moved at a snail's pace."
Juxtaposition
Putting two ideas, words, or pictures together to create a new, often ironic meaning.
Loaded words
Often used in persuasive writing to make people feel for or against something.
Paradox
A statement that is true even though it seems to be saying opposite things. For example, "The more free time you have, the less you get done."
Parallelism
Repeating similar words, phrases, or sentences to give writing rhythm.
Synechdoche
(si-NECK-dough-key) Using part of something to represent the whole, such as referring to a car as "wheels."
Colloquialism
Use of informal words, phrases, or slang in a piece of writing.
Apostrophe
A figure of speech in which the speaker addresses someone or something that is missing, such as an abstract concept like love, a person, a place, or even a thing, like the sun or the sea. Often begins with "O, _____."
Allegory
A story that works as a metaphor with a hidden moral or political meaning. Uses symbolic figures, actions, or events to represent real-world issues.
Slant
A rhyme scheme in which words at the end of lines have similar ending sounds, such as "shape" and "keep."
Slant rhyme
A rhyme scheme in which words at the end of lines have similar ending sounds, such as "shape" and "keep."
Mood
The atmosphere of a piece of writing. It creates certain feelings in the reader through words and descriptions.
Tone
The attitude of a writer toward a subject or audience.
Pun
A joke that emphasizes different meanings of a word.
Anaphora
The repetition of words at the beginning of successive clauses or phrases. For example, here Winston Churchill uses anaphora.
Hyperbole
Exaggeration used for serious, comic or ironic effect.
Litote
A figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite.
Metonymy
A figure of speech in which something is referred to by using the name of something that is associated with it, or is a part of it. For example, the throne or the crown = the king/queen.

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