Literary Terms for Mid-Term Exam and Examples and Mnemonics

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Terms in this set (41)
SimilieA figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid.ImageryVisually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work.PersonificationThe attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.MetonymyThe substitution of the name of an attribute or adjunct for that of the thing meant. It is replacing something with something associated to another word as it is understood. An example of this would be a suit for a business executive or the track for a racing horse. So it would be like saying the suits walked up to the courtroom or the skins went to see the octopus instead of saying people.SynecdocheA figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa. An example would be Cleveland won by six runs, even though it was really their baseball team not the city itself. Or Los Angeles won by 3 rebounds, knowing it is a basketball team not a city. Another example would be referring to your high school as the name of the town, you don't go to palmyra, but you would say that and people would know you meant palmyra area high school.AllusionAn expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference. An example of this was in Hamlet saying, "for who is he to Hecuba, who is Hecuba to he" referencing Hecuba who lost her husband and couldn't stop crying saying Hamlet felt the same way over his father's death.AllegoryA story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.OxymoronA figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.UnderstatementA transitive verb used by writers or speakers in order to intentionally make a situation seem less important or smaller than it isLitotesIronic understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary.Hyperbole (Overstatement)Exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.ToneThe author's attitude toward a certain topic.IronyWhenever a person says something or does something that departs from what they (or we) expect them to say or do.PlotThe sequence of events that shape a broader narrative, with every event causing or affecting each other.CharacterizationA name for the methods a writer uses to reveal a character's values, feelings, goals, and so on to readers.SettingThe time and place in which a story is told. An example of this would be if the story took place in Paris in 1955.AntagonistThe principal opponent or foil of the main character, who is referred to as the protagonist, in a drama or narrative. An example of this would be Jody Starks or Nanny in Their Eyes Were Watching God.ProtagonistThe character who drives the action and the character whose fate matters the most. An example of this would be Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God.Narrator/POVA person who tells a story or give an account of something. An example of this would be Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird.OmniscientThe all-knowing voice in a story.StructureIn literature, it can be described as the organizational method of the written material.UnityA combination or ordering of parts in a literary or artistic production that constitutes a whole or promotes an undivided total effect.DetailsThe bits of factual information (about setting, character, action, etc.) that help the reader understand better.PerspectiveHow the characters view and process what's happening within the story.BiasA disproportionate weight in favor of or against an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-minded, prejudicial, or unfair.MotiveA character's reason for doing or saying something.Dramatic SituationA situation, in a narrative or dramatic work, in which people (or "people") are involved in conflicts that solicit the audience's empathetic involvement in their predicament.ExpositionThe background information on the characters and setting explained at the beginning of the story.ThemeA central, unifying idea. An example of this would be freedom and independence in Their Eyes Were Watching God.SyntaxThe set of rules that helps readers and writers make sense of sentences.JuxtapositionWhen you place two concepts or objects next to near each other, thereby highlighting their innate differences and similarities.