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literary terms

nommensen literary terms-soph year

QuestionAnswer
ad hominem an argument made that (A.) appeals to a person's feelings or prejudices rather than intellect or (B.) is marked by an attach on an opponent's character rather than his contentions/arguments
allegory a story in which objects, characters, and actions are symbols of something oustide the narrative ex: NARNIA!
alliteration the repetition of initial sounds rachel relishes red roses :)
allusion a reference to a well known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art. Ex: Author Herman Melville names a ship that Pequod in Moby Dick. The Pequod trip is extinct, and this foreshadows the vessel's own extinction
anachronism something out of its normal time
anastrophe inversion of the usual, normal, or logical order of the parts of a sentence Ex: yoda talk, and "yet never a breeze up blew" weird speak...
analogy a comparison that explains or describes one subject by pointing out its similarities to another subject
aphorism a concise statement of a principle or precept given in pointed words ex: "life is short, art is long, opportunity fleeting."
apostrophe a figure of speech in which a speaker directly addresses an absent person or personified quality
apposition the placing next to a noun another noun or phrase that explain it ex: Rachel, the coolest girl ever, went to axiom.
asyndeton condensed form of expression in which a series is presented without conjunctions. ex: her relatives encouraged me; competitors piqued me;she allured me.
bathos when a writer, striving at the sublime, overreaches himself and topples in to the absurd. the writing becomes melodramatic
categorical assertion(or claim) states how one thing relates to another in its entirety ex: EVERY flower is a thing of beauty. NO man is an island. ALL parents worry about their children.
climax when a writer arranges ideas in order of importance ex: i spent the day cleaning the house, reading poetry, and putting my life in order.
connotation the set of associations that occur to people when they hear or read a word ex: the word home evokes feeling of warmth, house does not have the same effect
consonance repetition of consonant sounds ex: evEN, heavEN, strivEN
denotation the dictionary meaning of a word ex: house means dwelling or abode
details the facts given by the author or speaker as support for the attitude or tone
dialect the form of language spoken by people in a particular region or group (pronunciation, vocabulary, and sentence structure)
dialogue a conversation between characters
diction (word choice) to discuss a writer's diction is to consider the vocabulary used, the appropriateness of the words, and the vividness of the language
direct characterization the author directly states a character's traits
dramatic irony a contradiction between what a character thinks and what he reader or audience knows to be true
epanalepsis repetition at the end of a clause of the word that occurs at the beginning ex: blood hath brough blood and blows brought blows
extended metaphor it differs from a regular in that several comparisons are made and are extended throughout the passage
first-person narrator a character in a story who is telling the story; readers see only what this character sees, hears, etc
figurative language writing or speech not meant to be interpreted literally ex: simile, metaphor, personification
flashback a section of a literary work that interrupts the sequence of events to relate an event from an earlier time
foreshadowing the use in a literary work of clues that suggest events that have yet to occur
hubris derived fro mthe greek word hybris means "excessive pride" in greek tragedy, hubris often viewed as the flaw that leads to the downfall of the tragic hero
hyperbole a deliberate exaggeration or overstatement ex: the story is as old as time
image a word or phrase that appeals to one or more of the five senses
imagery the descriptive of figurative language used in literature to appeal to one or more of the five senses "the sky was dark and gloomy, the air was damp and raw, the streets were wet and sloppy."
indirect characterization the conclusions a reader draws about a character based on the appearance, behavior, speech, private thoughts, effect he/she has on other characters
irony the general name given to literary techniques that involve differences between: a. appearances and reality b. expectation and result c. meaning and intention
literal language uses words in their ordinary senses (opposite of figurative language)
litotes (opposite of hyperbole) an understatement usually through a form of negation ex: "she is not unmindful" meaning "she gave careful attention"
metaphor a comparison between two unlike things not using like or as or then or resembles
monologue a speech by one character in a play, story, or poem in which he/she has listeners who do not speak
mood the feeling created in the reader by a literary work or passage
motif a simple device that serves as a basis for an expanded narrative... the motif is a recurring feature in the work
motivation the reason that explains or partially explains a character's thoughts, feelings, actions, or behavior
non sequitur a logical fallacy, a comment which has no relation to the comment it follows ex: she is thin; therefore, she is hungry (more on page)
omniscient narrator an all-knowing 3rd person narrator... this type of narrator can reveal to readers what the characters think and feel
onomatopoeia the use of words that imitate sounds "buzz"
paradox a statement that seems contradictory or absurd but that expresses truth ex: "for when i am weak, then i am strong" 2 corinthians
pathetic fallacy a form of personification where human traits are attributed to nature or inanimate objects having to do with feeling ex: cruel wind, angry clouds
personification giving human characteristics to nonhuman subject (any quality)
pun a play on words based on different meanings of words that sound alike ex: "son" and "sun" "I" and "eye"
repetition the use, more than once, of any elemnt of language a sound a word a phrase, a clause, or a sentence
sarcasm a type of irony in which a person appears to be praising something but is actually insulting it
similie a comparison between two unlike things using words such as: as, like, than, or resembles
situational irony an event occurs that directly contrasts the expectations of the characters, the reader, or the audience
style a writers' distinctive mode of expression
syllogism a formula for presenting an argument logically.. it affords a method of demonstrating logic thorough analysis. it consists of 3 divisions: major premise, minor premise, and conclusion ex: maj-all libraries should serve the people min-this is a public li
symbol anything that stands for or represents something else... and object that serves as a symbol has its own meaning, but it also represents abstract ideas
syntax the physical arrangement of words in a sentence
theme a central message or insight into life revealed throughout the literary work... a generalization about human beings or about life that the lit. work communicates (it must be expressed in sentence form.)
third person narrator the narrator reveals the thoughts and feelings of only one character (limited)
tone the writer's attitude toward his/her audience and subject
tongue-in-cheek characterized by sincerity, irony, whimsy. if you say something tongue-in-cheek, what you have said is humerous, perhaps sarcastic, although at face value it appears to be serious ex: and we all know how devoted i am to extreme sports
understatement (see litotes) saying less than is actually meant, generally in an ironic way ex: when someone says pretty fair but means splendid
verbal irony the type of irony in which words are used to suggest the opposite of what is meant
anaphora repetition when it is specifically used at the beginning of tow or more lines, clauses, or sentences ex: i have a dream...
antithesis involves a direct contrast of structurally parallel word groupings, generally for the purpose of contrast ex: it was the best of times it was the worst of times
archetype applied to image descrip detail plot pattern, character type frequently in literature; believed evokes profound emotion bc touches the unconscious memory & calls into play illogical but strong responses ex:rebel,womanizer,conquering hero,country bumpkins
assonance repitition of vowel sounds ex: the bOWS glided dOWN
catharsis moral and spiritual cleansing; an emphatic identification with others ex: watching a protagonist overcome great odds to survive can create this
chiasmus figure of speech where you reverse: ex: pleasure's a sin, sin's a pleasure
deus ex machina person or thing that suddenly appears, providing a solution to a diffucult problem. the person or thing is lowered to the stage by means of crane in classic drama
ellipsis deliberate omission of word or words which are readily implied by the context; it creates an elegant or daring array of words ex: this room was chill, because it seldom had a fire; it was silent, becuase remote from the nursery kitchens; solemn, bc...
epiphany a sudden change or realization which prior to this was not thought of or understood
epistrophe repetition of the same word or group of words at the ends of successive clauses (opposit of anaphora) ex: i'll have my bond! i need my bond! my love is my bond!
epitaph an inscription used to mark burial places
epithet word or phrase used in place of a person's name; it is charateristic of that person ex: Alexander the Great, Material Girl, Ms. Know-It-All
euphemism device where being indirect replaces directness to avoid unpleasantness ex: pass away instead of died
homily form of oral religious instruction given by a minister to a church congregation (usually gives practical moral counsel rather than discussion of doctrine)
imperitive command or order
inversion a change of normal word order
juxtaposition poetic/rhetorical device in which normally unassociated ideas, words, or phrases are placed next to one another
loose sentence follows the basic subject,verb, complement patter ex: a car hit him, just as he bent over to tie his shoelace
malapropism type of pun that results when two words become jumbled in the speakers mind ex: as headstrong as an allegory (speaker means alligator) on the banks of the Nile
maxim (similar to aphorism) an adage, concise statement, usually drawn from experience and inculcating some practical advice ex: win in doubt win the trick??
metonymy figure of speech in which the name of one object is substituted for that of another closely associated with it ex: the gov't is sometimes represented as the "white house"
narrator speaker or character who tells a story, could be a character or outside observer
parallelism repitition of grammatical structure, constists of phrases or sentences of similar construction and meaning placed side by side balancing eachother out
parenthesis insertion of words, phrases, or a sentence that is not syntactically related to the rest of the sentence. it is set off by dashe or parentheses ex: he said it was going to rain-i could hardly disagree- before the game
periodic sentence (opposite of loose sentence) sentence withholding its main idea until the end ex: just as he bent over to tie his shoelace, a car hit him. (main idea being that the car hit him)
point of view perspective from which a story is told
polysyndeton (opposite of asyndeton) deliberate use of many conjunctions for special emphasis-to hilight quantity or mass of detail or to create a flowing continuous sentence patter; it slows the pace of the sentence
rhetorical shift change of tone, attitude, etc. look for key words like but, however, even though, although, yet etc.
soliloquy a speech delivered by a character when he or she is alone on stage
suspense a feeling of curiosity or uncertainty about the outcome of events in a literary work
synecdoche form of metaphor in which a part of something is used to stand for the whole thing ex: to stick your neck out for someone isn't just risking your neck but you as a person(whole)
zeugma object-taking word has tow or more objects on different levels: concrete and abstract, figurative and literal etc OR with tow different concrete verbs
Created by: lbanana217 on 2008-09-30



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