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LIT TERMS Vocab

QuestionAnswer
absolute a word free from limitations or qualifications ("best,""all,""unique,""perfect")
adage a familiar proverb or wise saying
ad hominem argument an argument attacking an individual's character rather than his or her position on an issue
allegory a literary work in which characters, objects, or actions represent abstractions
alliteration the repetition of initial sounds in successive or neighboring words
allusion a reference to something literary, mythological, or historical that the author assumes the reader will recognize
analogy a comparison of two different things that are similar in some way
anaphora the repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of consecutive lines or sentences
anecdote a brief narrative that focuses on a particular incident or event
antecedent the word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers
antithesis a statement in which two opposing ideas are balanced
aphorism a concise statement that expresses succinctly a general truth or idea, often using rhyme or balance
apostrophe a figure of speech in which one directly addresses an absent or imaginary person, or some abstraction
archetype a detail, image, or character type that occurs frequently in literature and myth and is thought to appeal in a universal way to the unconscious and to evoke a response
argument a statement of the meaning or main point of a literary work
asyndeton a construction in which elements are presented in a series without conjuctions I came, I saw, I conquered
balanced sentence a sentence in which words, phrases, or clauses are set off against each other to emphasize a contrast
bathos insincere or overly sentimental quality of writing/speech intended to evoke pity
chiasmus a statement consisting of two parallel parts in which the second part is structurally reversed ("susan walked in, and out rushed Mary")
cliche an expression that has been overused to the extent that its freshness has worn off (as easy as pie)
climax point of highest interest
colloquialism informal words or expressions not usually acceptable in formal writing
complex sentence sentence with one independent clause and at least one dependent clause
compund sentence sentence with two or more coordinate independent clauses, often joined by one or more conjunctions
conceit fanciful, particularly clever extended metaphor
concrete details details that relate to or describe actual, specific things or events
connotation implied or associative meaning of a word
deductive reasoning reasoning in which a conclusion is reached by stating general principle and the appying that principle to a specific case (sun rises every morning, therefore rise Tuesday
denotation literal meaning of a word
dialect variety of speech characterized by its own particular grammar or prounouciation
didactic having the primary purpose of teaching or instructing
dilemma situation that requires a person to decide between two equally attractive or equally unatrractive alternatives
dissonance harsh, inharmonious, or descordant sounds
elegy formal poem presenting a meditation on death or another solemn theme
ellipsis omission of a word or phrase which is grammatically necessary but can be deduced from the context (some prefer cats; others, dogs
epic long narrative poem written in elevated style which presents the adventures of characters of high position and episodes that are important to the history of a race or nation
epigram brief, pithy, and often paradoxical saying
epigraph saying or statement on the title page or a work, or uses as a heading for a chapter or other section of a work
epiphany moment of sudden revelation or insight
epitaph inscription on a tombstone or burial place
epithet term used to point out a characteristic of a person. (swift-footed Achilles) (the rocket)
eulogy formal speech praising a person who has died
euphemism indirect, less offensive way of saying something that is considered unpleasant
expletive an interjection to lend emphasis; sometimes, a profanity
fable brief story that leads to a moral, often using animals as characters
fantasy story that concerns an unreal world or contains unreal characters
figurative language language employing one or more figures of speech (simile, metaphor, imagery
flashback insertion of an earlier event into the normal chronological order of a narrative
flat character character who embodies a single quality and who does not develop in the coruse of a story
foreshadowing the presentation of material in such a way that the reader is prepared for what is to come later in the work
frame device story within a story
genre major category or type of literature
homily sermon, or a moralistic lecture
hubris excessive pride or arragance that results in the downfall of the protagonist of a tragedy
hyperbole intentional exaggeration to create an effect
hypothetical question question that raises a hypothesis, conjecture, or supposition
idiom expression in a given laguange that cannot be understood from the literal meaning of the words in the expression (fit as a fittle)
imagery the use of figures of speech to create vivid images that appeal to one of the senses
implication a suggestion an author or speaker makes (implies) without stating directly
inductive reasoning deriving general principles from particular facts or instances (every cat i have ever seen has four legs; cats or fourlegged animals)
inference conclusion one draws based on premises or evedence
invective an intensely vehement, highly emotional verbal attact
irony use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning; or incongruity between whatt is expected and what actually occurs
jargon specialized languange or vocabulary or a particular group or profession
juxtaposition placing two elements side by side to present a comparison or contrast
legend narrative handed down from the past,containing historical elements and usually supernatural elements
limerick light verse consisting of five lines or regular rhythm in which the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme, and 2nd third lines rhyme
limited narrator narrator who presents the story as it is seen and understood by a single cahracter and restricts info to what is seen, heard, thought, or felt by that one character
literary license deviating from normal rules or methods in order to achieved a certain effect
litotes type of understatment in which an idea is expressed by negating its opposite (not to bad)
malapropism the mistaken substitution of one word for another word that sound similar (the doctor wrote a subscripiton)
maxim concise statement, often offering advice; an adage
metaphor direct comparison of two different things
metonymy substituting the name of one object for another object closely associtated with it (the pen {writing} is mightier than the sword{war, fighting}
mood emotional atmosphere of a work
motif standard theme, element, or dramative situation that recurs in various works
motivation charceter incentive or reason for behaving in a certain manner; that which impels a charcter to act
myth traditional story presenting supernatural characters and episodes that help explain natural events
narrative story or narrated account
narrator one who tells the story
non sequitur an inference that does not follow logically from the premises (literally, "does not follow
omniscient narrator who is able to know, see, and tell all, including the inner thoughts and feeling of the characters
onomatopoeia a word formed from the limitation of natural sounds (ding dong, BAM, ruff) "figurative language"
oxymoron an expression in which two words that contradict each other are joined (bittersweet, jumo shrimp, same difference
parable a simple "story" that illustrates a moral or religious lesson
paradox an apparently contractory statement that acutally contains some truth (I can resist everything except temptation) Nobody goes to taht restraunt, its too crowded)
parallelism the use of corresponding grammatically or syntactical forms (I like "to" swim, "to" hike, and "to" sleep) anaphora
paraphrase a restatement of a text in a different form or in different words, often for the purpose of clarity
parody a humorous imitation of a serious work (Epic Movie)
parenthetical comment that interrupts the immediate subject, often to qualify or explain "The hatchet 'by Gary paulsen' is a good book"
pathos quality in a work that prompts the reader to feel pity
pedantic charecterized by an excessive display of learning or scholarship "arrogant people"
personification endowing non-human objects or creatures with human qualities or characteristics
philippic strong verbal dnunciation. the term comes from the orations of Demosthenes against Philip of Madedonia in the fourth century "smack talk"
plot action of a narrative or drama
point of view the vantage point from which a story is told (1st person, 3rd person)
polysyndeton the use, for rhetorical effect, or more conjunctions than is necessary or natural (He ran 'and' jumped 'and' laughed 'and' jumped for joy)
pun a play on words, often achieved through the use of words with siimilar sounds but different meanings (taking something literal, 'stealing home') amelia bedilia
resolution the falling action of a narrative; the events following the climax
rhetoric the art of presenting ideas in a clear, effective, and persuasive way
rhetorical question question for effect and not requiring an answer
rhetorical devices literary techniques used to heighten the effectiveness of expression
riddle question requiring thought to answer or understnad; puzzle (how far can a deer run into a forest?)
romantic term describing a character or literary work that reflects the characteristics of Ramanticism, stressed emotion, imagination, indivualism
round character a character who demonstrates some complexity and who develops or changes in the course of a work
sarcasm harsh, cutting language or tone intended to redicule
satire the use of humor to emphasize human weaknesses or imperfections in social institutions
Created by: 13robertsj on 2010-09-23



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