How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

30 terms

Vocabulary Workshop Literary Terms - English I

STUDY
PLAY
PLOT
An arrangement of events to achieve an intended effect consisting of a series of carefully devised and interrelated actions that progresses through a struggle of opposing forces, from conflict, to resolution. Expresses the author's purpose.
THEME
The general idea or meaning of a literary work. It may not always be explicit or easy to state, and a work of literature may contain more than one thought such as the idea of tolerance.
CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
Events in a literary work that are arranged in the way of their occurrence.
FORESHADOWING
Hints of future events through unusual circumstances in the present
ALLITERATION
A literary device which creates interest by the recurrence of initial consonant sounds of different words within the same sentence, e.g.: the "s" and "h" sounds in: "A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid"
FLASHBACK
A narrative technique that allows a writer to present past events during current events, in order to provide background for the current narration.
CONFLICT
The struggle between opposing forces that provides the central action and interest in any literary plot. Man vs. man, nature, society and himself.
MOOD
Emotional effect that the text creates for the audience (positive or negative)
SETTING
The time, place, physical details, and circumstances in which a situation occurs. Example: "It was a dark and stormy night . . ."
SYMBOLISM
The use of objects to signify ideas and qualities by giving them representative meanings that are different from their literal sense. Example: A dove represents peace
ALLEGORY
an extended metaphor; it is a story that makes sense on the literal level, but also, through the totality of its plot, characters, and conflict, it provides another figurative meaning.
IRONY
A contradiction between what something appears to mean and what it really means. Something unexpected, a twist. "A hunter becomes the hunted"
TONE
The writer's attitude, mood or moral outlook toward the subject and/or readers, e.g.: as angry, cynical, empathetic, critical, idealistic, ironic, optimistic, realistic, suspicious, comic, surprised, or sarcastic
CLIMAX
The highest point of tension or action in a story. It often leads the reader to wonder, "What will happen? How is everything going to turn out?" Also known as the turning point
RESOLUTION
Occurs at the end of the story
EXPOSITION
The opening of the story, when the characters and their conflict are introduced
AMBIGUITY
Doubtfulness or uncertainty about intention or meaning. When the ending of a story is unclear.
UNRELIABLE NARRATOR
One who gives his or her own understanding of a story, instead of the
explanation and interpretation the author wishes the audience to obtain. Example: Story of the 3 Little Pigs told from the Wolf's POV
AUTHOR'S PURPOSE
The reason the author has written a piece of literature.The writer may try to inform, persuade, entertain, or express an opinion that gives the reader a deeper insight into 'why' the author has composed a particular work.
CAUSE & EFFECT
The events in a story are connected by a chain where as one event causes another, which causes another, and so on.
HYPERBOLE
Exaggeration for effect; e.g. I am so hungry I could eat a horse.
STYLE
MANY THINGS ENTER INTO THE STYLE OF A WORK: THE AUTHOR'S USE OF FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE, DICTION, SOUND, EFFECTS, AND OTHER LITERARY DEVICES.
DICTION
AN AUTHOR'S CHOICE OF WORDS. SINCE WORDS HAVE SPECIFIC MEANINGS, AND SINCE ONE'S CHOICE OF WORDS CAN AFFECT FEELINGS, A WRITER'S CHOICE OF WORDS CAN HAVE GREAT IMPACT IN A LITERARY WORK.
PARADOX
A SITUATION OR A STATEMENT THAT SEEMS TO CONTRADICT ITSELF, BUT ON A CLOSER INSPECTION, DOES NOT.
PERSONIFICATION
A FIGURE OF SPEECH IN WHICH SOMETHING NONHUMAN IS GIVEN HUMAN CHARACTERISTICS.
IMAGERY
IS USED IN LYRICS WRITING TO APPEAL TO ANY OR ALL OF ONE'S SENSES. TYPICALLY WRITERS USE VISUAL IMAGERY IN THEIR MUSIC LYRICS, BUT THIS ISN'T ALWAYS THE CASE AS AUDITORY IMAGERY IS ALSO FREQUENTLY USED FOLLOWED BY WORDS AND PHRASES THAT APPEAL TO THE OTHER SENSES AS WELL. BE CREATIVE AND SEE WHAT WORKS BEST IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR OWN SONG.
ALLUSION
A REFERENCE IN ONE LITERARY WORK TO A CHARACTER OR THEME FOUND IN ANOTHER LITERARY WORK.
ONOMATOPOEIA
A LITERARY DEVICE WHERE THE SOUND OF A WORD ECHOES THE SOUND IT REPRESENTS. THE WORDS "SPLASH", "KNOCK", AND "ROAR" ARE EXAMPLES.
Flash-forward
A literary device in which the plot goes ahead of time i.e. a scene that interrupts and takes the narrative forward in time from the current time in a story. Generally, a flash-forward represents expected or imagined events in the future interjected in the main plot revealing the important parts of the story that are yet to occur.
Figurative Language
When you describe something by comparing it with something else.