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38 terms

Semester Exam Literary Terms

STUDY
PLAY
paradox
A seemingly contradictory statement or situation which is actually true. This rhetorical device is often used for emphasis or simply to attract attention.
Resolution
The part of the story or drama where all the problems or mysteries of the plot are unraveled.
Suspense
The uncertainty or anxiety that a reader feels about what will happen next in a story, novel, or drama.
Hortative Sentence
sentence that exhorts, advises, calls to action
Epiphany
A major character's moment of realization or awareness.
Comic Relief
Humorous speeches and incidents in the course of the serious action of a tragedy; frequently comic relief widens and enriches the tragic significance of the work.
Cumulative sentence
a sentence in which the main independent clause is elaborated by the successive addition of modifying clauses or phrases
Dramatic Irony
When the reader is aware of an inconsistency between a fictional or non-fictional character's perception of a situation and the truth of that situation.
Mood
An atmosphere created by a writer's word choice (diction) and the details selected. Syntax is also a determiner of mood because sentence strength, length, and complexity affect pacing.
Symbol
A thing, event, or person that represents or stands for some idea or event. Symbols also simultaneously retain their own literal meanings. A figure of speech in which a concrete object is used to stand for an abstract idea, e.g., the cross for Christianity.
Catharsis
emotional purgation/cleansing
Flashback
Interruption in the present action of a plot to show events that happened at an earlier time.
Polysyndeton
the deliberate use of many conjunctions for special emphasis - to highlight quantity or mass of detail or to create a flowing continuous sentence pattern. It slows the pace of the sentence.
Epiphet
adj or other descriptive phrase regularly used to characterize a person, place, or thing
Idiom
An expression peculiar to a particular language that means something different from the literal meaning of the words.
Euphemism
The use of a word or phrase that is less direct, but that is also less distasteful or less offensive than another. e.g. "He is at rest" instead of "He is dead."
Perepetia
a turn of fate that leaves the tragic figure destitute
Parallelism
refers to a grammatical or structural similarity between sentences or parts of a sentence.
Juxtaposition
placing two elements side by side to present a comparison or contrast
Anecdote
A brief recounting of a relevant episode. Anecdotes are often inserted into fictional or non-fictional texts as a way of developing a point or injecting humor.
Style
The choices in diction, tone, and syntax that a writer makes. In combination they create a work's manner of expression. Style is thought to be conscious and unconscious and may be altered to suit specific occasions. Style is often habitual and evolves over time.
Asyndeton
a deliberate omission of conjunctions in a series of related clauses; it speeds the pace of the sentence.
Rhetorical Shift
A change from one tone, attitude, etc. Look for key words like but, however, even though, although, yet, etc.
Verisimilitude
The appearance of truth, actuality, or reality; what seems to be true in fiction.
Anaphora
the repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of consecutive lines or sentences
Tone
A writer's attitude toward his or her subject matter revealed through diction, figurative language, and organization of the sentence and global levels.
Theme
The central idea or ideas of a work of fiction or nonfiction, revealed and developed in the course of a story or explored through argument.
Prose
Any writing that is not poetry.
Hubris
Excessive pride
Antithesis
A balancing of two opposite or contrasting words, phrases, or clauses.
Inversion
constructing a sentence so the predicate comes before the subject. This creates an emphatic or rhythmic effect.
Non sequitur
a statement that does not follow logically from evidence
Ad hominem argument
an argument attacking an individual's character rather than his or her position on an issue.
Circular reasoning
Reasoning that ends and begins in the same place. No evidence is offered
Deductive reasoning
reasoning in which a conclusion is reached by stating a general principle and then applying that principle to a specific case
False analogy
When two cases are not sufficiently parallel to lead readers to accept a claim of connection between them.
Tautology
needless repetition of an idea by using different but equivalent words; a redundancy
Conceit
feelings of excessive pride (not hubris)