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Lit and Rhet Terms

Literary and Rhetorical terms

QuestionAnswer
aphorism a short often witty statement of a principle or a truth about life
apostrophe (usually in poetry but sometimes in prose) the device of calling out to an imaginary, dead, or absent person or to a place, thing, or personified abstraction
argumentation writing that attempts to prove the validity of a point of view or an idea by presenting reasoned arguments (persuasive writing is a form of argumentation)
assonance the repetition of vowel sounds (such as neigh/fade)
authority support for an argument that is based on recognized experts in the field
burlesque broad parody; whereas a parody will imitate and exaggerate a specific work, such as Romeo and Juliet, a burlesque will take an entire style or form, such as myths, and exaggerate it into ridiculousness
cacophony hars, awkward, or dissonant sounds used deliberately in poetry or prose; the opposite of euphony
caricature descriptive writing that greatly exaggerates a specific feature of a person's appearance or a facet of personality
classicism the principles & styles admired in the classics of Greek and Roman literature, such as objectivity, sensibility, restraint, and formality
coherence quality of a piece of writing in which all the parts contribute to the development of the central idea, theme or organizing principle
colloquialism a word/phrase used in everday conversation and informal writing but that is often inapporpriate in formal writing
conceit an elaborate figure of speech in which two seemingly dissimilar tthings/situation are compared
connotation implied or suggested meaning of a word because of its association in the reader's mind
consonance the repetition of identical consonant sounds before and after different vowel sounds, as in boost/best (it can also be seen within several compound words, such as fulfil and ping-pong)
conundrum a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun; it may also be a paradox or difficult problem
denotation literal meaning of a word as defined
description the picturing in words of something or someone through detailed observation of color, motion, sound, taste, smell, and touch (one of the 4 MODES OF DISCOURSE)
diction word choice, an element of style (also called SYNTAX)
discourse spoken or written language, including literary works; the 4 traditionally classified Modes of Discourse are 1)description 2)exposition 3)narration 4)persuasion
dissonance harsh or grating sounds that do not go together
epigram a concise, witty saying in poetry or prose that either stands alone or is part of a larger work (it may also refer to a short poem of this type)
euphony a succession of harmonious sounds used in poetry or prose (the opposite of cacophony)
exemplum a brief tale used in medieval times to illustrate a sermon or to teach a lesson
exposition the immediate revelation to the audience of the setting and other background info. neccessary for understanding the plot (also, explanation; one of the 4 MODES OF DISCOURSE)
figurative language language that contains FIGURES OF SPEECH, such as similies and metaphors, in order to create associations that are imaginative rather than literal
figures of speech expressions such as similes, metahpors, and personifications, that make imaginative, rather an literal, comparisons or associations
folklore traditional stories, songs, dances, and customs that are preserved among a people (folklore usually precedes literature, being passed down orally from generation to generation until recorded by scholars
foreshadowing the use of a hint or clue to suggest a larger event that occurs later in the work
genre a type of literary work, such as a novel or poem (there are also subgenres, such as science fiction or sonnent, within the larger genres
hubris the excessive pride or ambition that leads a tragic hero to disregard wanings of impending doom, eventually causing his/her downfall
humor antying that causes laughter or amusement (up until the end of the Renaissance, humor meant that a person's temperament
hyperbole deliberate exaggeration in order to create humor or emphasis
idyll ashort descriptive narrative, usually a poem, about an idealized country life (also called a PASTORAL)
imagery words or phrases that use a collection of images to appeal to one or more of the five senses in order to create a mental picture
interior monologue writing that records the conversation that occurs inside a character's head
inversion (effectively) reversing the customary order of elements in a sentence or phrase; it is used effectively in many cases, such as posing a question: "Are you going to the store?"
inversion (ineffectively) often it is used ineffectively in poetry, making it sound artificial and stilted: "to the hounds she rode, with her flags behind her streaming"
irony a situation or statement in which the actual outome or meaning is opposite to what was expected
lose sentence a sentence that is complete before its end such as "Thuy played the violin with excitement"
metaphor a FIGURE OF SPEECH in which one thing is reffered to as another; for ex, "my love is a fragile flower"
metonymy a FIGURE OF SPEECH that uses the name of an object, person, or idea to represent something with which it is associated, such as using "the crown" to refere to a monarch
mode the method or form of a literary work; the manner in which a work of literature is written
mood similar to tone, mood is the primary emotional attitude of a work
motif main theme or subject of a work that is elbaorated on in the development of the piece; a repeated pattern or idea
myth one story in a system of narratives set in a complete imaginary world that once served to explain the origin of life. religious beliefs and the forces of nature as supernatural occurences
narration the telling of a story in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or drama; one of the four MODES OF DISCOURSE
naturalism a literary movement that grew out of realism ini France, the US, & England. It portrays humans as having no free will, being driven by the natural forces of heredity, environment, and animalistic urges over which they have no control
objectivity an impersonal presentation of events and characters
onomatopoeia the use of words that sound like what they mean such as hiss and boom
oxymoron a FIGURE OF SPEECH composed of contradictory words or phrases, such as "wise fool"
parable a short tale that reaches a moral; similar to but shorter than an allegory
paradox a statement that seems to contradict itself but that turns out to have a rational meaning, as in this quotation from Hengry David Thoreau: "I never found the companion that was so companionable as soltitude."
parallelism the technique of arranging words, phrases, clauses, or larger structures by placing them side by side and making them similar in form
parody a work that ridicules the style of another work by imitating and exaggerating its elements
periodic sentence a sentence that is not complete until its last phrase such as, "Despite Glenn's hatred of his sister's laziness and nosity heating habits, he still cared for her."
persona a fictional voice that a writer adopts to tell a story, determined by subject matter and audience; eg. Mark Twain
personficiation the attribution of human qualities to a nonhuman or an inanimate object
persuasion a form of argumentation, one of the four MODES OF DISCOURSE; language intended to convence through appeals to reason or emotion
point of view the perspective from which a story is presented
first person narrator a narrator, referred to as "I," who is a character in the story and relates athe actions through his own perspective, also revealing his own thoughts
stream of consciousness narrator like a first-person narrator, but instead of placing the reader inside the character's head, making the reader privy to the continous, chaotic flow of disconnected, half-formed thoughts and impressions in the character's mind
omniscient narrator a third-person narrator, reffered to as "he," "she," or "they," who is able to see into each character's mind and understands all the action
limited omniscient narrator a third-person narrator who reports the thoughts of only one chracter and generally only what that one character sees
objective narrator a thrid-person narrator who only reports what would be visible to a camera; thoughts anf eelings are only revealed if a character speaks of them
protagonist the main character of a literary work
realism a 19 century literary movement in Europe & the US that stressed accuracy in the portrayal of life, focusing on characters with whom middle-class readers could easily identify; it is in direct contrast with romanticism
regionalism an element in literature that conveys a realistic portrayal of a specific geographical locale, using the local and its influences as a major part of the plot
rhetoric the art of using language effectively
What does rhetoric involve? 1)writer's purpose 2)his consideration of the audience 3)the exploration of subject 4)arrangement & organization of the ideas, 5)style & tone of expression 6)form
rhetorical modes exposition, description, narration, argumentation
When did the romanticism movement began? a literary, artistic, & philosophical movement that began in 18 century as a reaction to neoclassicism
What are the focal points of the romanticism movement? imagination, emotion, freedom, stressing subjectivity, individuality, the love and worship of nature, & a fascination with the past
sarcasm harsh, caustic personal remarks to or about someone; less subtle than irony
simile a FIGURE OF SPEECH that uses like, as, or as if to make a direct comparison between tow different objects, actions, or qualities; for ex: "the sky looked like an artist's canvas"
speaker the voice of a work; an author may speak as himself or as a fictitious persona
stereotype a character who represents a trait that is regarded to a social or racial group and who lacks individuality
style an author's characteristics manner of expression
subjectivity a personal presentation of events and characters, influenced by the author's feelings and opinions
suspension of disbelief the demand made that the reader accept the incidents recounted in the literary work
symbolism the use of symbols or anything that is meant to be taken both literally and as representative of a higher and more complex significance
synecdoche a FIGURE OF SPEECH in which a part of something is used to represent a whole, such as using "wheels" to mean a car
syntax word choice of diction
theme the central idea of "message" of a literary work
tone the characteristic emotion or attitude of an author toward the characters, subject, and audience
unity quality of a piece of writing (see COHERENCE)
voice the way a written work conveys an author's attitude
Created by: Tiffastic on 2006-04-14



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