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a single individual's development and growth; a quest or story; novel about the moral development of the main character; a coming of age novel

Irony (dramatic)

audience perceives something that the character doesn't know

Irony (verbal)

like sarcasm

Irony (situation)

a discrepancy between the expected result and the actual results (Bill Gates winning the lottery)


to ridicule flaws in human nature; serious/comical


enhances musical essence; i.e. end rhyme, internal rhyme

Rhyme Scheme

stressed and unstressed syllables


varying speed, loudness, pitch, elevation, intensity, and expressiveness of speech


varying pattern of stressed syllables alternating with syllables of less stress;

Free verse

natural rhythms of phrases and normal pauses; contrast of stressed and unstressed syllables


a short poem in which a single speaker expresses personal thoughts and feelings; (sonnet, ode); does not tell a story


narrative poem; tells a story; sung/recited; 4 line stanzas with regular rhyme


absurd or humorous misuse of a word; especially by confusion with one of similar sound


a character who contrasts and parallels the main character in a play or story; (Tybalt and Benvolio)


A type or category of literature or film marked by certain shared features


intended to be heard by other characters and audience in play


character speaks as if they are alone and to themselves; inner thoughts; not aware that audience hears

Flat characters

characters that don't develop in the story

Round characters

complex characters that develop; depth

End-stopped line

in poetry, a line ending in a full pause; often indicated by appropriate punctuation


a line having no pause or end punctuation but having uninterrupted grammatical meaning continuing into the next line

Comic relief

a releasing of emotional or other tension resulting from a comic interposed in the midst of serious or tragic elements in a drama


"double-meaning" word or phrase having a double meaning; especially when second is sexual or humorous


extravagant exaggeration; used for emphasis or vivid description


meant or expressed ironically or facetiously; humorously ironic


reference in literature to a person, place, event, or another passage of literature, without explicit identification

Narrative poem

a poem that tells a story and has a plot

Dramatic monologue

poetic speaker addresses either the reader or an internal listener


basic unit of meter consisting of a set number of strong stresses and light stresses; two syllables long


lightly stressed syllable followed by a heavily stressed syllable


two-syllable unit or foot of poetry consisting of a heavy stress followed by a light stress.


the act of addressing some abstraction or personification that is not physically present


Japanese poetry; consists of three lines; first line contains five syllables, the second line contains seven, and the last line five


contradictory situation in a manner that oddly makes sense on a deeper level; reveal a deeper truth through their contradictions


poetry consists of five feet in each line


line consisting of four metrical feet


comparison or analogy stated in such a way as to imply that one object is another one


a short verse or motto appearing at the beginning of a longer poem or the title page of a novel

Masculine rhyme

one syllable words

Epic hero

larger than life figure; dangerous; adventurous; idealistic

Epic poem

narrative poem on a serious subject; focused on the exploits of a hero or demi-god who represents the cultural values of a race, nation, or religious group


original model or pattern that recurres, especially a character, an action, or situation that seems to represent common patterns of human life; include a symbol, a theme, a setting, or a character


attitude or mood; underlying attitudes that control and color the story or poem as a whole


a feeling, emotional state, or disposition of mind


words that reveal a deeper truth through their contradictions


conspicuous recurring element, such as a type of incident, a device, a reference, or verbal formula, which appears frequently in works of literature

Blank verse

Unrhymed lines of ten syllables each with the even-numbered syllables bearing the accents


A play on two words similar in sound but different in meaning

En medias res

describes a narrative that begins not at the beginning of a story, but somewhere in the middle, usually at some crucial point in the action


comparison using like or as

1st person

when the narrator is telling the story from his/her point of view, the word "I" is present outside of quotes


narrator who knows everything that needs to be known about the agents and events in the story, and is free to move at will in time and place, and who has privileged access to a character's thoughts, feelings, and motives

3rd person

the narrator seems to be someone standing outside the story who refers to all the characters by name or as he, she and they

Feminine rhyme

a rhyme either of two syllables of which the second is unstressed; occurs when the rhyme ends on an unstressed syllable (i.e. "calling" and "falling")


"mental pictures" that readers experience with a passage of literature; sensory perceptions referred to in a poem

Figurative Language

standard use of words in order to achieve some special meaning or effect


abstractions, animals, ideas, and inanimate objects are given human character, traits, abilities, or reactions


repeating a consonant sound in close proximity to others, or beginning several words with the same vowel sound


A prayer or address made to the one of the nine muses of Greco-Roman mythology, in which the poet asks for the inspiration, skill, knowledge, or appropriate mood to create a poem worthy of his subject-matter

Epic simile

a simile developed at great length, often up to fifty or a hundred lines


A short, poetic nickname--often in the form of an adjective or adjectival phrase--attached to the normal name


A device in literature where an object represents an idea


A poem in praise of something divine or expressing some noble idea


The repetition of consonant sounds with differing vowel sounds in words near each other in a line or lines of poetry


A word's emotional content

Conflict: man vs man

conflict that pits one person against another

Conflict: man vs nature

when a character has problems with outside forces, weather, animals, land, etc.

Conflict: man vs self

internal conflit. Not all conflicts involve other people. Sometimes people are their own worst enemy

Conflict: man vs society

a character has a problem with some element of society: the school, the law, the "accepter" way of doing things


the repetition of a group of words at the end of successive clauses


When the conjunctions (such as "and" or "but") that would normally connect a string of words, phrases, or clauses are omitted from a sentence


using words that imitate the sound they denote


the repetition of similar vowels in the stressed syllables of successive words


the most direct or specific meaning of a word or expression


Repetition of a word, phrase, or clause at the beginning of two or more sentences in a row


a statement in which two opposing ideas are balanced


the use, for rhetorical effect, of more conjunctions than is necessary or natural

Direct characterization

the author directly states a character's traits

Indirect characterization

the character is revealed through their personality, appearance, words, actions, and effect on others


The device of using character and/or story elements symbolically to represent an abstraction in addition to the literal meaning

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