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Literary Terms

TermDefinition
Allegory Writing that has a deeper meaning hidden beneath the obvious; an extended metaphor; a story in which the people, places, and things represent general concepts or moral qualities.
Anaolgy A comparison between two things in which the more complex is explained in terms of the more simple; often a simile or metaphor.
Ambiguity Having more than one meaning, used in verbal, written, and nonverbal communication. Ex: He reminded me of a pig eating his swill.
Anaphora The repetition of a word/words at the beginning of two or more successive line of verse, sentences, etc. Ex: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn..." etc.
Anecdote A short entertaining account of some happening, frequently personal or biographical.
Antithesis A figure of speech in which contrary ideas are expressed in a balanced sentence; oxymoron; opposing view, view contrasted with thesis
Aphorism Wise saying, usually short and written, reflecting a general truth. Ex: Haste Makes waste.
Apostrophe A figure of speech in which a person not present, an inanimate object is addressed (spoken to) directly. Ex: "Oh love, why dost thou now leave me lonely."
Caveat A warning or caution; objection; dissent.
Colloquial Expression Words and phrases used in everyday speech but avoided in formal writing. Ex: Jack was bummed out his chemistry grade. INSTEAD OF, Jack was upset about the chemistry grade.
Connotation Surrounding feelings and associations added to word meaning. Ex: mother-kindly, self-sacrificing, nurturing woman.
Deduction (Deductive reasoning) A form of reasoning that begins with a generalization, then applies the generalization to a specific case or cases; opposite of induction (see syllogism).
Didactic Describes literary works meant to teach a moral or a lesson (such as a fable). Dramatic Irony
Dramatic Irony A condition in which the audience is made aware of information unknown to some of the actual characters.
Empathy Identification with an object & sharing in its physical and emotional sensations. It involves ascribing the feelings and attitudes present I oneself to the plight of characters in a literary work & the conditions of their lives.
Ephemeral An adjective meaning short-lived, transitory.
Epiphany A sudden understanding or realization which prior to this was not thought or understood.
Euphemism: More palatable word for less pleasant subject. Ex: "Lady of the evening" is a euphemism for "prostitute".
Expository Writing Writing that explains or analyzes
Foil Character opposite or different from the protagonist, sued to highlight the protagonist's traits; incidents or setting may also be used as foils.
Genre, Literary A particular type or category of writing.
Hyperbole Use of extreme exaggeration.
Idiom Phrase in common use that does not literally mean what it says.
In Media Res "in the midst of things" starting a story in the middle of the action, Later the first part will be revealed.
Jargon Words peculiar to a particular occupation.
Metonomy Figure of speech. The substitution of the name of an object with a word closely associated with it. Ex: the White house for the President..
Non Sequitar A statement that does not follow logically from what preceded it. Ex: I made an "A" on the test because I wore my yellow shirt.
Objective A tone of fairness and even discussion of a subject; it usually suggests that there is a distance between the author and the subject being discussed. (Be careful, this tone can also be cold and impersonal).
Paradox A statement that seems to be contradictory or absurd; however, it is found to be true.
Periodic Sentence A sentence written so that the full meaning cannot be understood until the end. The dependent clause is at the beginning and it ends with the independent clause.
Pronoun A word which takes hte place of a noun to prevent repetition or to act as the subject of the clause (Persona: he/she/you/they; Demonstrative: this/that/those/these; Reflexive: himself/herself; Relative:t hat/which/who/whom).
Rhetoric The arts of using owrds effectively. The art of persuasion and employing the devices to persuade. Persuasion extends to the construction of a work so that you believe it it be true even though it is fiction.
Syntax The arrange and grammatical relations of words in a sentence. Word order in a sentence.
Understatement A form of irony where the author intentionally understates the facts (says it less that it is) Ex: We have a little problem here (referring to AIDS Epidemic).
Created by: FaithRaquel2015