English 9 H Literary Terms
Terms in this set (57)
is the practice of beginning several consecutive or "neighboring words" with the same sound. "The twisting trout twinkled below the surface."
is a reference to a mythological, literary, or historical person, place, or thing. "George the III had met his Waterloo."
is a direct juxtaposition of structurally parallel words, phrases, or clauses for the purpose of contrast. "Sink or swim." "While Hester Prynne met her punishment openly, Rev. Dimmesdale suffered his in silence."
is a form of personification in which the absent or dead are spoken to as if present and the inanimate, as if animate. These are all addressed directly—"Milton! Thou shoulds't be living at this hour."
is the repetition of accented vowel sounds in a series of words. ***The words "cry" and "side" have the same vowel sound and so are said to be in assonance.
is the repetition of a consonant sound within a series of words to produce a harmonious effect. "And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds." ***The d and the s are in consonance.
are the facts revealed by the author or speaker that support the attitude or tone in a piece of poetry or prose.
is word choice intended to convey a certain effect. Use specific words to convey specific meaning. ***The window was broken. The window was shattered.
Figures of Speech
are words or phrases that describe one thing in terms of something else. They always involve some sort of imaginative comparison between seemingly UNLIKE things. Not meant to be taken literally, figurative language is used to produce images in a reader's mind and to express ideas in fresh, vivid, and imaginative ways. ***The most common types are simile, metaphors, and personification.
is the use of a scene or episode that interrupts the chronological action of a work to show a previous event.
is the use of hints or clues in a narrative to suggest future action.
is a deliberate, extravagant, and often outrageous exaggeration. "The shot heard around the world." This is may be used for serious or for comic effect.
is the use of words or phrases by a writer to represent persons, objects, actions, feelings, and ideas descriptively by appealing to the reader's senses. ***Sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, etc.
three types appear in prose, poetry, and drama; a surprising twist to an expected outcome.
• Verbal irony
occurs when a speaker or narrator says one thing while intentionally meaning the opposite.
• Situational irony
occurs when a situation turns out differently from what one would normally expect, though often the twist is oddly appropriate. ***An experienced deep-sea diver drowns in the bathtub.
• Dramatic irony
occurs when a character or speaker says or does something that has different meanings from what he or she thinks it means, but the AUDIENCE and possibly other characters understand the read implication of what is said or done. ***Oedipus curses the murderer of Laius, not realizing that he is himself the murderer; he curses himself.
a comparison of two unlike things not using "like" or "as" such as "Time is money."
is the atmosphere or predominant emotion in a literary work. ***What is the reader supposed to feel: sympathy, fear, pity, loss, regret, etc.
is a circumstance or set of circumstances that prompts a character to act in a certain way or that determines the outcome of a situation or work.
is the telling of a story in writing or speaking.
is the use of words that mimic the sounds they describe as you pronounce them like "buzz," "hiss," "bang," "clank," "pow," etc. ***When this is used extensively in a poem it is called imitative harmony.
is a form of paradox that combines a pair of opposite terms into a single unusual expression such as "sweet sorrow" or "cold fire"
occurs when the elements of a statement contradict each other. Although the expression may appear illogical, impossible, or absurd, it turns out to have a coherent meaning that reveals a hidden truth. Shakespeare: "Much madness is divinest sense."
a kind of metaphor that gives inanimate objects or abstract ideas human characteristics such as "The wind cried in the dark."
is the sequence of events or actions in a work—this is the basic WHAT HAPPENED.
Point of View
the perspective from which a narrative is told; there are three types:
• First person
this is when a speaker from inside the story tells the reader what is/has
happened and will use "I" throughout the work
• Third person limited
this is when the story is told from a voice outside the story but who
has limited knowledge about the internal states of other characters
• Third person omniscient
this is when the story is told from a voice outside the story but
who has "all-knowing" knowledge about the internal states of the other characters
is the study of sound and rhythm in poetry
is the central character of a drama, novel, short story, or narrative poem. Conversely, the antagonist is the character who stands directly opposed to the protagonist.
is a play on words that are identical or similar in sound but have sharply diverse meanings. Puns can have serious as well as humorous uses. In Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio has been stabbed and lies bleeding when he says, "Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man."
is a technique where the writer deliberately uses any element of language more than once for effect—words, phrases, sentences, grammatical patterns, or rhythmical patterns.
is the repetition of sounds in two or more words or phrases that appear close to each other in a poem. Several types include the following:
• End rhyme
occurs at the ends of the lines
• Internal rhyme
occurs within the lines
• Slant rhyme
is approximate rhyme, the words don't "exactly" rhyme but are close
• Rhyme scheme
is the pattern of the ending lines, usually designated by alphabet letters
such as ABBA, CDDC, EFFE, GHHG, CC
is the use of verbal irony in which a person appears to be praising something but is actually insulting it. "As I fell down the stairs headfirst, I heard her say, 'Look at her graceful coordination!'"
is the time and place in which events in a short story, novel, play, or narrative poem take place.
refers to a change or movement in a piece resulting from an epiphany, realization, or insight gained by the speaker, a character, or the reader. ***Look for the words "But. . ." "Yet. . ." "However, . . ." "Surprisingly, . . ." These can be clues.
is a comparison of two different things or ideas through the use of words "like" or "as." It is a definitely stated comparison in which the writer/poet says one thing is like another: "The warrior fought like a lion."
are stylistic techniques that convey meaning through sound. Some examples of sound devices are rhyme, assonance, consonance, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. (See the separate definitions.)
is the framework or organization of a literary selection. For example, fiction is usually determined by the plot and chapter/book divisions; drama depends upon its division into acts and scenes; essays depend upon the organization of ideas; and poetry is determined by its rhyme scheme and separation into stanzas.
the writer's characteristic manner of writing: his use of language in his/her particular manner.
is the quality of a short story, novel, play, or narrative poem that makes the reader or audience uncertain or tense about the outcome of events. ***This is what makes the reader want to keep reading.
any object, person, place, or action that has both a meaning in itself and that stands for something larger than itself: a quality, attitude, belief, or value. For example, the letter A which stands for "adulterer" in The Scarlet Letter ultimately evolves to mean much more.
these are a form of metaphor. Synecdoche occurs when a part of something is used to signify/represent the whole: "All hands on deck!" The whole represents the part: "The pot is boiling." Metonymy is the opposite. The name of one thing is applied to another thing with which it is closely associated: "I love Shakespeare!" I love his work not the person whom I don't know!
the arrangement of words and the order of grammatical elements in a sentence. Variety is what I encourage you to use in your writing.
the central message of a literary work. This is NOT the same as the subject of a work. This is a universal truth that the author of the work wishes to convey to his audience. It is a statement about life or human nature. Some works may present several themes which are rarely directly stated. This is what the writer wants the readers to consider, work out for themselves. ***At the end of Oedipus, the King, one theme that readers may infer is that too much pride can lead to one's downfall. Not only does the character realize this, but the lesson can be applied to life even today.
is the writer's or speaker's attitude toward a subject, character, or audience, and is conveyed through the author's choice of words and detail. Tone can be serious, humorous, sarcastic, sympathetic, indignant, objective, remorseful, celebratory, etc.
the opposite of hyperbole. This expresses a kind of irony that deliberately represents something as being much less than it really is. *** "I could probably manage to survive on a salary of $2 million a year."
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