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English Lit devices

litterary devices for English 11 enriched

Allegory The representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form
Alliteration The repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of several words in a line of poetry. ie. Marilyn Monroe
Ambiguity When an author leaves out details/information or is unclear about an event so the reader will use his/her imagination to fill in the blanks
Anaphora epetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive lines in a poem
Anecdote A short story or joke told at the beginning of a speech to gain the audience’s attention
Antagonist The protagonist’s adversary
Anti-climatic When the ending of the plot in poetry or prose is unfulfilling or lackluster
Apostrophe When a character speaks to a character or object that is not present or is unable to respond
Assonance The repetition of the same vowel sound in a phrase or line of poetry
Blank verse Name for unrhymed iambic pentameter. An iamb is a metrical foot in which an unstressed syllable is followed by a stressed syllable. In iambic pentameter there are five iambs per line making ten syllables
Climax The turning point in the plot or the high point of action
Colloquial language nformal, conversational language. Colloquialisms are phrases or sayings that are indicative of a specific region
Connotation An idea or meaning suggested by or associated with a word or thing, ie. Bat=evil
Convention An understanding between a reader and a writer about certain details of a story that does not need to be explained
Consonance The repetition of consonant sounds in a phrase or line of poetry. The consonant sound may be at the beginning, middle, or end of the word
Couplet Two rhyming lines in poetry
Deus ex machina Term that refers to a character or force that appears at the end of a story or play to help resolve conflict. The phrase has come to mean any turn of events that solve the characters’ problems through an unexpected and unlikely intervention
Diction Word choice or the use of words in speech or writing
Denouement (day-new-mon) The final resolution or clarification of a dramatic or narrative plot
Doppelganger The alter ego of a character-the suppressed side of one’s personality that is usually unaccepted by society
Elegy A poem or song composed especially as a lament for a deceased person
Emotive language Deliberate use of language by a writer to instill a feeling or visual
Enjambment The continuation of reading one line of a poem to the next with no pause, a run-on line
Epic An extended narrative poem in elevated or dignified language, celebrating the feats of a legendary or traditional hero
Epilogue A short poem or speech spoken directly to the audience following the conclusion of a play, or in a novel the epilogue is a short explanation at the end of the book which indicates what happens after the plot ends
Epiphany Sudden enlightenment or realization, a profound new outlook or understanding about the world usually attained while doing everyday mundane activities
Epistolary Used to describe a novel that tells its story through letters written from one character to another
Euphemism The act of substituting a harsh, blunt, or offensive comment for a more politically accepted or positive one. (short=vertically challenged)
Euphony A succession of words which are pleasing to the ear. These words may be alliterative, utilize consonance, or assonance and are often used in poetry but also seen in prose
Expansion Adds an unstressed syllable and a contraction/elision removes an unstressed syllable in order to maintain the rhythmic meter of a line. This explains some words frequently used in poetry such as th’ = the, o’er = over, and ‘tis or ‘twas = it is or it was
Fable A usually short narrative making an edifying or cautionary point and often employing as characters animals that speak and act like humans
Feminine ending Term that refers to an unstressed extra syllable at the end of a line of iambic pentameter
Figurative language Speech or writing that departs from literal meaning in order to achieve a special effect or meaning. Speech or writing employing figures of speech
Flashback When a character remembers a past event that is relevant to the current action of the story
Flat character 35. Flat character-A literary character whose personality can be defined by one or two traits and does not change over the course of the story. Flat characters are usually minor or insignificant characters.
Foil A character that by contrast underscores or enhances the distinctive characteristics of another.
Folklore the traditional beliefs, myths, tales, and practices of a people, transmitted orally
Foot The metrical length of a line is determined by the number of feet it contains. Monometer: One foot Dimeter: Two feet Trimeter: Three feet etc. The most common feet have two to three syllables, with one stressed.
Iamb An iambic foot has two syllables. The first is unstressed and the second is stressed. The iambic foot is most common in English poetry.
Trochee A trochaic foot has two syllables. The first is stressed and the second is unstressed
Dactyl A dactylic foot has three syllables beginning with a stressed syllable; the other two unstressed
Anapest An anapestic foot has three syllables. The first two are unstressed with the third stressed.
Foreshadowing Clues in the text about incidents that will occur later in the plot, foreshadowing creates anticipation in the novel
Free verse a type of verse that contains a variety of line lengths, is unrhymed, and lacks traditional meter.
Genre A category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, marked by a distinctive style, form, or content
Gothic novel A genre of fiction characterized by mystery and supernatural horror, often set in a dark castle or other medieval setting
Heroine A woman noted for courage and daring action or the female protagonist
Hubris Used in Greek tragedies, refers to excessive pride that usually leads to a hero’s downfall
Hyperbole A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or comic/dramatic effect
Illocution Language that avoids meaning of the words. Speaking to conceal intentions or the true subject of a conversation; expresses two stories, one which is not apparent to the characters, but is to the reader. contains an underlying meaning or parallel meanings
Imagery The use of vivid or figurative language to represent objects, actions, or ideas
In medias res A story that begins in the middle of things
Inversion In poetry is an intentional digression from ordinary word order which is used to maintain regular meters. For example, rather than saying “the rain came” a poem may say “came the rain”. Meters can be formed by the insertion or absence of a pause
Irony When one thing should occur, is apparent, or in logical sequence but the opposite actually occurs. Example: A man in the ocean might say, “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.”
Dramatic Irony When the audience or reader knows something characters do not know
Verbal Irony When one thing is said, but something else, usually the opposite, is meant
Cosmic Irony When a higher power toys with human expectations
Masculine ending Stressed extra syllable at the end of a line
Memoir An account of the personal experiences of an author
Meter The measured arrangement of words in poetry, as by accentual rhythm, syllabic quantity, or the number of syllables in a line
Metaphor A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison; this comparison does not use like or as
Metonymy The use of a word or phrase to stand in for something else which it is often associated. ie. Lamb means Jesus
Motif A dominant theme or central idea
Novella A short novel usually under 100 pages
Neutral language Language opposite from emotive language as it is literal or even objective in nature
Oblique rhyme Imperfect rhyme scheme
Ode A lyric poem of some length, usually of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated style and formal stanzaic structure. Celebrates something. John Keats is known for writing these
Onomatopoeia The formation or use of words such as buzz or murmur that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to
Paradox Statement which seems to contradict itself. i.e. His old face was youthful when he heard the news
Parody A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule. i.e. SNL or Weird Al Yankovich
Personification A figure of speech in which inanimate objects or abstractions are endowed with human qualities or are represented as possessing human form
Poetic justice The rewarding of virtue and the punishment of vice in the resolution of a plot. The character, as they say, gets what he/she deserves
Prequel A literary, dramatic, or cinematic work whose narrative takes place before that of a preexisting work or a sequel
Prologue An introduction or preface, especially a poem recited to introduce a play
Prose Ordinary speech or writing without metrical structure, written in paragraph form. Novels and short stories are referred to as prose
Protagonist The main character in a drama or literary work
Pun Play on words, when two words have multiple meanings and spellings and are used in a humorous manner
Rhyme the repetition of sounds in words
Rhyme scheme The act of assigning letters in the alphabet to demonstrate the rhyming lines in a poem
Rising action The events of a dramatic or narrative plot preceding the climax
Rites of passage An incident which creates tremendous growth signifying a transition from adolescence to adulthood
Round character A character who is developed over the course of the book, round characters are usually major characters in a novel
Resolution Solution to the conflict in literature
Satire A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit; the goal is to change the behavior/issue. Authors known for satires are Jonathan Swift and George Orwell
Simile A figure of speech in which two essentially unlike things are compared, often in a phrase introduced by like or as
Slang A kind of language occurring chiefly in casual and playful speech, made up typically of short-lived coinages and figures of speech that are deliberately used in place of standard terms for added raciness, humor, irreverence, or other effect
Soliloquy A dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character talks to himself or herself or reveals his or her thoughts without addressing a listener. Typical in plays
Sonnet A poem with fourteen lines. An Italian sonnet subdivides into two quatrains and two tercets; while an English sonnet subdivides into three quatrains and one couplet. A volta is a sudden change of thought which is common in sonnets.
Style The combination of distinctive features of literary or artistic expression, execution, or performance characterizing a particular person, group, school, or era.
Symbolism Something that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention, especially a material object used to represent something invisible.
Tragedy A drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances.
Tone Reflects how the author feels about the subject matter or the feeling the author wants to instill in the reader
litotes ironical understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary (e.g., non of the wise ones regretted his going, meaning they supported his going)
Kenning metaphorical phrase used to name something, for example: mankind's enemy; that shadow of death instead of Grendel
Created by: meganhlowe



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