43 terms

Literary Terms American Literature

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Folk Tale
Body of stories, legends, myths arising out of the oral traditions of people around the world
Blank Verse
Poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter
Rhyme
Repetition of sounds at the end of words
Alliteration
Repetition of the consonant sounds at the beginning of words
Assonance
Repetition of the vowel sounds in conjunction with dissimilar consonant sounds
Meter
Usually in poems and is a rhythmical pattern determined by the number of beats in each line
Style
Includes word choice, tone, degree of formality, rhythm, grammar
Single Effect
Edgar Allan Poe's theory about what constituted a good short story. Achieved by a single emotional effect on the reader.
Irony
Contrast between what is stated and what is meant or between what is expected to happen and what actually happens.
Romanticism
Literary and artistic movement of 19th century that arose in reaction again the Neoclassic movement and placed emphasis on imagination, emotion, nature
Figurative Language
Writing that used figures of speech such as metaphor, simile and irony
Transcendentalism
American literary movement of 19th century. Believed that intuition and the individual conscience transcend experience and thus are better guides to truth than are sense and logical reason.
Allegory
Story or tale with two or more levels of meaning - a literal level and one or more symbolic levels.
Symbol
Anything that stands for or represents something else.
imagery
descriptive or figurative language used in literature to create word pictures for the reader.
tone
Writer's attitude towards subject
Elegy
Mournful, melancholic poem
Free verse
Poetry that lacks regular rhythmical pattern or meter
Refrain
Repeated line in a poem or song
Journal
Daily autobiographical account of events and personal reactions
Diction
Writer's or speaker's word choice
Realism
Presentation in art of the details of actual life.
Dialect
Form of language spoken by people in particular region or group
Satire
Writing that ridicules or criticizes individuals, ideas, institutions
Colloquilism
A word or phrase used in everyday conversation and informal writing
Puritan plain style
Usage of plain and simple language to make a direct statement
Myth
Fictional tale that explains the actions of gods or heroes or
causes of natural phenomena
Metaphor
Figure of speech in which one thing is spoken of as though if were something else. (ie. Death is a long sleep)
Lyric poem
Melodic poem that expresses the observations and feelings of a single speaker.
Oral Tradition
The passing on of songs, stories, by word of mouth
Bias
A prejudiced outlook while writing
Modes of Discourse
narration, description, exposition and argument
Conceit
An association made that a word brings to mind
Persuasive Technique
writing or speech that attempts to convince reader to think and act in a particular way.
Characterization
Act of creating and developing a character.
Dialogue
Conversation between characters
Plot
Sequence of events in a literary work. Involves both characters and central conflict.
Diction
Writer's or speaker's word choice. (Informal, plain/ornate, common)
autobiography
Form of non-fiction in which a person tells his or her own life story.
Oratory
Public speaking that is formal, persuasive and emotionally appealing
Aphorism
A concise statement containing general truths or observationsabout life. (Ralph Waldo Emerson famous for this style)
Parallelism
Repetition of grammatical structure
Allusion
A reference to a well-known person, place, work of art
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