216 terms

HL IB English: Literary Terms

Literary terms from 1st and 2nd semester of my IB English HL class.
STUDY
PLAY

Terms in this set (...)

Tragedy
a serious work, usually a play, in which the main character experiences defeat, brought about by a tragic flaw
Tragic Hero
the main character in a tragedy; in order to fit the definition, the hero must have a tragic flaw, which causes his or her downfall
Allegory
a story in which the characters, setting, and events stand for abstract or moral concepts
Aside
private words that a character in a play speaks to the audience or to another character and that are not supposed to be overheard by others onstage
connotation
all of the meanings, associations, or emotions a word suggests
Denotation
literal definition of a word
Diction
the language style of the writer, choice of words
Dramatic Irony
When the reader knows something the character does not
Epic
a narrative poem that contains a larger than life hero who embodies the values of a particular society
Ethos
Persuasion by credentials. Establishes credibility with the speaker
Foil
a character who sets off another character by strong contrast
Imagery
language that appeals to the senses
Irony
the contrast between expectation and reality
Logos
appeal by logic and reason. Using evidence to support the answer and lead to a conclusion
Motif
person, place, thing, or idea that recurs throughout a work
Paradox
an apparent contradiction that on closer inspection is actually true
Pathos
Persuasion by appeal to Emotion. or interests to arouse sympathy and gain support for an argument
Rhetoric
principals of writing: effectively, eloquently, and persuasively
Rhetorical appeals
persuasive devices by which a writer tries to sway an audience's response to a work
Sarcasm
a kind of particular cutting irony, in which praise is used taunting to indicate its opposite in meaning
Satire
a kind of writing that ridicules human weakness, vice, or folly to bring about social reform
situational irony
when what occurs is different from what is expected to occur
Soliloquy
a long speech in which a character who is usually alone onstage expresses his or her private thoughts or interests
Theme
the central Idea within a story
fiction
literature based on the imagination
short stroy
a tale meant to be read in one sitting
novel
a longer work of fiction
non-fiction
writing based upon fact -- essay, speech, biography
theme
author's central message or insight about life
plot
story line; series of related events
exposition
background information given at the beginning of a story; introduces characters and setting
complication
the onset and development of the major conflict
rising action
events leading to the climax
Crisis/Boiling Point
part of the action where the conflict reaches its greatest tension; a decision or an action to resolve the conflict is undertaken; leads directly to the climax
Climax
consequence of the crisis; the high point of action or tension in a story; no new major developments follow the climax
Falling Action
events after the climax, before the resolution
Resolution/denouement
final outcome of the story; tension and uncertainty are resolved
Freytag's Pyramid
placing a storyline within a visual concept map -- in his case, a pyramid: according to Freytag, a drama is divided into five parts, or acts -- exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and denoument or resolution
Foreshadowing
use of subtle hints or clues to suggest events yet to occur
Flashback
when the author interrupts the plot to relate events of an earlier time period
Suspense
feeling of curiosity or uncertainty about upcoming events
Conflict
struggle between opposing forces
Internal Conflict
conflict within a character; two sides of a character conflict with each other
External Conflict
conflict between characters/forces
Dilemma
situation where a person must choose between two equal alternatives
Point of View
perspective from which the story is told
Narrator
person who tells the story
Unreliable narrator
one whose motives, feelings and opinions affect his or her narration (first person)
First person
story told by a character in the story
Third person
story told by a voice outside the story
Third person limited
perspective focused mainly on one character; reader knows that character's thoughts/feelings
Third person omniscient
reader knows thoughts/feelings of all characters (all-knowing)
Third person objective
reader doesn't know thoughts/feelings of any character
Style
general manner of linguistic expression
Tone
writer's attitude toward her/his audience and/or subject matter
Mood
a feeling that the story suggests (may reflect the tone or may contrast with it)
Voice
a pervasive authorial presence
Prose
written language not presented in lines/verses (excludes poetry)
Register
level of formality
Diction
word choice
Syntax
sentence structure and word order
Denotation
dictionary definition of a word
Connotation
all of the emotions and impressions a word can suggest
Exaggeration/Hyperbole
exaggeration, often used for humor
Understatement
purposeful representation of something as less, or less important, than it is
Dialect
form of language spoken by people in a particular region
Colloquialism
"improper," casual language (slang)
Jargon
language specific to a profession, hobby or activity
Idiom
a phrase which has meaning that is not clear from the meaning of the words in it ("I'm at the end of my rope")
Physical setting
location in which the story takes place (both specific and general
Historical (temporal) setting
past, present, future, time of day/year/season
Cultural setting
values, art, religion, music of the society/culture in which the story takes
Local color
details specific to a particular geographical region
Gothic
barbaric, gloomy, grotesque, distorted, bizarre (from the Middle Ages)
Futuristic
type of science fiction; author takes you to places that do not now exist
Direct characterization
author tells the reader about the character directly
Indirect characterization
author shows the character's characteristics through her/his speech, actions, thoughts/feelings, and other characters' reactions to him/her.
Round character
complex, many-sided
Flat character
simple, two-dimensional
Dynamic character
character changes during a story
Static character
character stays the same during a story
Stereotype/stock
fixed or oversimplified idea of what a type of person or group is like
Protagonist
central character, focus of interest
Antagonist
person, idea or force who opposes the protagonist
Foil
a character who, by sharp contrast, serves to highlight and stress the distinctive temperament of another character
Motif
recurring image, word, action, idea or situation, tying into a theme
Symbol
in literature, something concrete which stands for something abstract
Universal symbol
a symbol recognized by many cultures
allusion
a reference to a famous person, place, thing or event, evoking associations
Irony
strong contrast between expectation and reality; outcome is the opposite of expectation
Situational irony
strong contrast between expectation and reality; outcome is the opposite of expectation
Verbal irony
character says one thing, but means the opposite (sarcasm)
Dramatic irony
when the reader knows something important that a character does not
Simile
comparison of two basically unlike objects using "like" or "as"
Metaphor
comparison of two basically unlike objects without "like" or "as"
Personification
human qualities are given to something that is not human (a type of metaphor)
Imagery
language which appeals strongly to the senses. Includes visual (sight), auditory (sound), gustatory (taste), olfactory (smell), tactile (touch), and kinetic (movement)
Tragedy
a literary work depicting serious events in which the main character who is often high-ranked and dignified, comes to an unhappy end; opposite of a comedy, which ends happily
verbal irony
contrast between what is said and what is meant
allusion
figure of speech which makes brief reference to an historical or literary figure, event, or object (ex: My love for you is as passionate as Romeo's for Juliet)
antithesis
a contrast or opposition of thoughts, usually in two phrases, clauses, or sentences
aphorism
a terse statement of known authorship which expresses a general truth or a moral principle (ex: "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others" from Animal Farm)
apostrophe
addressing someone or something not present as though present (ex: Death, be not proud)
archetype
a universal symbol (ex: green = hope, rebirth, renewal)
cacophony
the use of seemingly harsh, unmusical sounds to bring out the harshness of something
catharsis
Aristotle's word for pity and fear an audience experiences upon viewing the downfall of a hero
chiasmus
Aristotle's word for pity and fear an audience experiences upon viewing the downfall of a hero
colloquialism
the use of slang or informalities in speech or writing. Not generally acceptable for formal writing, colloquialisms give a work a conversational, familiar tone. Colloquial expressions include local and regional aspect (ex: Catcher in the Rye)
conceit
an extended metaphor - two unlike things are compared in several different ways
connotation
the emotional implications a word may carry
consonance
repetition of a consonant sound in two or more words in a line of verse (ex: "but yet we trust that somehow" - the "t" sound)
denotation
the exact definition of a word
diction
an author's specific choice of words
didactic
having the primary aim of teaching or instructing, especially teaching moral or ethical principles
dramatic irony
when the audience or reader knows something that the character does not so that what he says is ironic (EX: Oedipus saying that he wants to catch who caused the plague when we all know that it was HE who caused the plague)
dynamic character
a character who changes dramatically over the course of a work
euphony
a quality or style marked by pleasing sounds
extended metaphor
a metaphor developed at a great length, occurring frequently in or throughout a work
extended parallelism
the repetition of words or grammatical elements to achieve cumulative force and rhythm (EX: "the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, to see what he could see/ to see what he could see, to see what he could see..)
figurative language
writing or speech not meant to be taken literally
foil
character who provides a contrast to another character, thus emphasizing the other's traits
hubris
the pride or overconfidence which often leads a hero to overlook divine warning or to break a moral law
imagery
devices which appeal to the senses: visual, tactile, auditory, olfactory, kinetic
irony
contrast between reality and expectation (ex: a fire house burning down)
juxtaposition
a poetic and rhetorical device in which normally unassociated ideas, words, or phrases are placed next to one another, creating an effect of surprise and wit
litotes
understatement employed for the purpose of enhancing the effect of the ideas expressed. Contains a negative (ex: that was no small task!)
mask (persona)
a character with a distinct identity created by an author to achieve a particular effect of or to deliver a particular message which reflect the author's viewpoint
metonomy
substituting a word naming an object for another word closely associated with it (ex: pay tribute to the CROWN, crown symbolizing the authority of the king and queen)
mood
the atmosphere of a literary work or the feelings that are elicited in the reader by the author
motif
a main theme or subject
oxymoron
technique used to produce an effect by a seeming self-contradiction (ex: cruel kindness)
paradox
a statement or concept that seems contradictory, unbelievable, or absurd but that may actually be true in fact (ex: war brings peace)
parallelism
refers to the repeated use of phrases, clauses, or sentences that are similar in structure and meaning. Writers use this technique to emphasize important ideas, create rhythm, and make their writing forceful and direct.
pedantic
teaching; instructive (a pedantic tone is usually stuffy and formal)
point of view
the perspective in which a story in told (1st person - I, 2nd person - you, 3rd person - he/she- omniscient narrator)
rhetorical question
a question that expects no answer. It is used to draw attention to a point and is generally stronger than a direct statement
shift
a change of feelings by the speaker from the beginning to the end, paying particular attention to the conclusion of the literature
situational irony
irony which arises from situations as opposed to verbal irony
static character
a character who remains unchanged by the conclusion of a work
stream of consciousness
narrative technique which presents thoughts as if they were coming directly from a character's mind (ex: Catcher in the Rye)
symbol
anything that stands for or represents something else
synecdoche
figurative language in which the part stands for the whole (ex: "nice wheels!" in commenting on a car)
syntax
the arrangement of words in a sentence
tone
the author's attitude towards a subject
understatement
statement in which the literal sense of what is said falls short of the magnitude of what is being talked about
verbal irony
a kind of irony in which words are used to suggest the opposite of their actual meaning
diction
word choice
vernacular
using the native language of a country or place; commonly spoken by the people of a particular country or place (ex: Huck Finn was written in the vernacular of the South)
allusion
a reference to another work of literature, person, or event
antithesis
the juxtaposition of contrasting words or ideas to give a feeling of balance
aphorism
a short statement of truth or principle; an adage
apostrophe
address to an absent or imaginary person
archetype
a universal symbol
cacophony
harsh, unmusical sounds, used to bring out harshness of something
catharsis
Aristotle's word for pity and fear an audience experiences upon viewing the downfall of a hero
chiasmus
inversion in the second of two parallel phrases (ie. loving to live -- living to love)
colloquialism
A local or regional dialect expression. Slang, informal speaking that generally wouldn't be accepted in formal speech. Gives a work conversational, familiar tone.
conceit
an extended metaphor- two unlike things are compared in several different ways
connotation
the emotional implications a word may carry
consonance
Repetition of a consonant sound within two or more words in close proximity.
denotation
the most direct or specific meaning of a word or expression
didactic
instructive (especially excessively); usually for moral or ethical principles
dramatic irony
when a reader is aware of something that a character isn't
dynamic character
a character that changes dramatically over the course of a work
euphony
any agreeable (pleasing and harmonious) sounds
extended metaphor
A metaphor developed at great length, occurring frequently in or throughout a work.
extended parallelism
the repetition of words or grammatical elements for cumulative force and rhythm
figurative language
writing or speech that is not meant to be taken literally
foil
character who serves by contrast to contrast another character
hubris
excessive pride or arrogance that results in the downfall of the protagonist of a tragedy
imagery
devices which appeal to the senses
irony
contrast between reality and expectation
juxtaposition
placing two elements side by side to present a comparison or contrast to express feelings of surprise and wit
litotes
a type of understatement in which an idea is expressed by negating its opposite (describing a particularly horrific scene by saying, "It was not a pretty picture.")
mask (persona)
a character with a distinct identity created by an author to achieve a particular effect of or to deliver a particular message which reflect the author's viewpoint
metonomy
Sustitute name, the name of one object is substituted for that of another closely associated with it (crown=queen/king)
mood
the atmosphere of a literary work or the feelings that are elicited in the reader by the author
motif
a main theme or subject
oxymoron
conjoining contradictory terms (as in 'deafening silence')
paradox
a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth. (ex. war brings peace)
parallelism
repeated uses of phrases, clauses, o sentences that are similar in structure and meaning, often used to emphasize important ideas, create rhythm, and make a point (forcefully and directly)
pedantic
teaching; instructive (a pedantic tone is usually stuffy and formal)
point of view
the perspective in which the story is told (1st 2nd 3rd person)
rhetorical question
a statement that is formulated as a question but that is not supposed to be answered
shift
a change of feelings by the speaker from the beginning to the end, playing particular attention to the conclusion of the literature
situational irony
an outcome that turns out to be very different from what was expected (physical, not verbal)
static character
a character that does not change from the beginning of the story to the end
stream of consciousness
a style of writing in which the author tries to reproduce the random flow of thoughts in the human mind
symbol
something visible that by association or convention represents something else.
synecdoche
a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part (nice wheels=nice car)
syntax
the grammatical arrangement of words in sentences
tone
The author's attitude toward the subject
tragic flaw
the character flaw or error in judgement of a hero that leads to his downfall (ex: Oedipus's tragic flaw was his hubris)
understatement
saying less than one means, for effect
verbal irony
saying the opposite of what is meant
vernacular
native language of an area (ex: Huck Finn was written in vernacular)
voice
the "speaker" in a a piece of literature
Adjective
A word which qualifies or modifies the meaning of a noun; as in a 'red hat' or a 'quick fox'.
Adverb
A word which qualifies or adds to the action of a verb: as in 'he ran quickly', or 'he ran fast'.
Alliteration
the repetition of the same sound at the beginning of a word.
Assonance
The word is usually used to describe the repetition of vowel sounds in nieghbouring syllables.
Blank verse
Unrhymed iambic pentameter. Shakespeare's plays are largely blank verse, as are other Renaissance plays. Blank verse was the most popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in England.
Clause
A sentence or sentence-like construction included within another sentence.
Conjuction
A word used to connect words or constructions.
End-stopped
A line that has a natural pause at the end (period, comma, etc.).
Enjambed
The running over of a sentence or thought into the next couplet or line without a pause at the end of the line; a run-on line
Euphemism
The substitution of a mild or less negative word or phrase for a harsh or blunt one, as in the use of "pass away" instead of "die." The basic psychology of euphemistic language is the desire to put something bad or embarrassing in a positive (or at least neutral light).
Free verse
Verse that has neither regular rhyme nor regular meter. Free verse often uses cadences rather than uniform metrical feet.
Homophones
Words which sound exactly the same but which have different meanings ('maid' and 'made').
Irony
A mode of expression, through words (verbal irony) or events (irony of situation), conveying a reality different from and usually opposite to appearance or expectation. A writer may say the opposite of what he means, create a reversal between expectation and its fulfillment, or give the audience knowledge that a character lacks, making the character's words have meaning to the audience not perceived by the character.
Lexical set
Words that are habitually used within a given environment. Thus 'Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...'
Parody
A satiric imitation of a work or of an author with the idea of ridiculing the author, his ideas, or work. The parodist exploits the peculiarities of an author's expression--his propensity to use too many parentheses, certain favorite words, or whatever. The parody may also be focused on, say, an improbable plot with too many convenient events.
Persona
The person created by the author to tell a story. Whether the story is told by an omniscient narrator or by a character in it, the actual author of the work often distances himself from what is said or told by adopting a persona--a personality different from his real one. Thus, the attitudes, beliefs, and degree of understanding expressed by the narrator may not be the same as those of the actual author. Some authors, for example, use narrators who are not very bright in order to create irony.
Personification
The attribution to a non-animate thing of human attributes.
Sarcasm
A form of sneering criticism in which disapproval is often expressed as ironic praise.
Syntax
A term designating the way in which words can be arranged and modified to construct sentences.