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English Lit Terms

TermDefinition
Allegory A narration or description that is restricted to a single meaning because of the object, events, actions, character, and setting representing abstract ideas; a long metaphor
Alliteration The repetition of the same constant of words
Allusion giving tribute to a person, place, thing, event, or idea in history or literature.
Anachronism an error of chronology in a book which puts something in the wrong time period
Analogy` helps establish an relationship based on similarities between two concepts
anecdote a short unsupported narrative account on an event
antagonist forces against the protagonist of the story; causes problems
anthropomorphism giving many human attributions to a nonliving object
aphorism a little phrase that holds a deeper truth; a wise comment that is understood to be the universal truth
apology a written oral defense for a person
apostrophe an address to someone who is not actually there especially to something nonhuman that can't be comprehended
archaism a word, expression, or phrase that is out of date but is used by a writer for an artistic purpose
aside a speech made by a character that is not audible to the other characters onstage
assonance refers to words with soft sounds
ballad a narrative composition often of folk origin and intended to be sung; consisting of simple stanzas and usually having a refrain
blank verse unrhymed iambic pentameter
bombast pompous speech for the occasion; explosive and larger than life
cacophony language this is discordant and difficult to pronounce
cadence balance, rhythmic flow, as of poetry or oratory; inflection in the voice
canto a subdivision of an epic poem; chapter of a poem
catharsis character goes through an emotional discharge and comes out a different person
cliche phrase expressing a popular idea that has lost its originality
climax turning point in the story
comedy suppose to be funny
conceit obnoxious metaphors; elaborate comparison
conflict the opposition btwn 2 characters or between the protagonist and a larger problem
connotation additional meaning added to a word; swear words
consonance harder sounds made by a pattern of constants
convention a common feature that has become accepted normal
couplet poetry; complete thought written in two lines
denotation literal meaning
denounement falling action; final outcome
deus ex machina an insoluable crisis is solved by outside forces such as God
diction word choice; either elevated diction: smart or low diction: dumbing down
dirge poem/song expressing death and grief; funeral
Dramatis Personae Cast List
end-stopped line end of each line
epic formal style; a long narrative poem on a serious subject centered on a hero
epithet a term used to characterize a person; The Dark Knight
Euphemism use a phrase that is more sociably acceptable
exposition anything that isn't dialogue in the story; blunt
falling action everything after the climax of the story
figurative language language that is not interpreted literally; metaphors
flashback interrupts the action to show an event that happened earlier in time
flat vs. round characters flat: does not change his personality in the end and no extensive characterization round: fully developed and changed by conflict
foreshadowing hints of what is to come in the action of a story
free verse poetry w/o regular pattern; most modern poetry
genre category of arts; examples: mystery, fiction, romance
hamartia tragic flaw within a character; misperception or lack of important insight
heroic couplet complete thought of poetry; two consecutive lives of rhyming poetry that are written in iambic pentameter
hubris seen as a tragic flaw; a rrogant, excessive self pride or confidence.
hyperbole the trope of exaggeration; yo mama jokes
iambic an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable; to be or not to be
imagery language that appeals to your senses
inflection how someone says the word
in media rias action starts at a random point in the middle; in the midst of things
irony a contrast btwn what is stated and what is really meant/ between what is expected and what actually happens; werbal: sarcasm & dramatic: tension
jargon confusing words and phrases used to relate a profession; politics
King's English Received standard/ accepted formal english
lament expression of grief for the loss of a person
lingo local dialect; slang
linguistics the study of language
local color regionalism; distinctive characteristics of a place or time period
lyric expresses a speaker's personal thoughts or feelings; musical quality
malapropism misusing terms to create a comic effect; involves confusion of 2 polysyllabic words *that sound similar but have different meaning*
maxim general truth that contains wisdom or insight into human nature
meiosis opposite of hyperbole; UNDERSTATEMENT
melodrama an appeal to emotion; a dramatic form characterized by excessive sentiment
memoir a portion of an autobiography
metaphor comparison btwn two unlike things w' intent of giving added meaning to one of them; figurative language
meter regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables
elegy talks about the passing of someone else
metonymy a word that is used to stand in for another word
monologue a long uninterrupted speech that is heard by others
mood the atmosphere that pervades a literary work with the intention of evoking an emotion
motif a recurring object in a work of literature; holden's hat
muse source of inspiration that can also be used figuratively
narrative a story
nom de plume pen name
ode lyric poem elevated and about someone; celebrates something figuratively
onomatopoeia any word that is a sound; buzz, click
palindrome a word that is read the same way backward and forward
parable a allegoric story that serves as a moral lesson; bible
paradox oxymororn; contradictory statement that may be none the less true
pastoral supports country values
persona a mask; the narrator is the reflection of their character
personification simple human quality
petrarchan sonnet 14 rhyming lines; first 8 lines set the scene and the other 6 make a comment on scene
poetic justice deserved retribution for ones actions; karma
poetic license freedom to depart from the facts of a matter in order to create an effect
point of view the way the story is told; 1st omnipotent, 2nd omnipotent, 3rd limited
preface author written introduction to a book
prologue a separate intro section of a literary work
prose any material that is not written in a regular meter; short stories, novels
protagonist main character; someone you identify with
pun paranomasia; a play on 2 words similar in sound but different meanings
quatrain a stanza of 4 rhyming lines
resolution final deposition of a plot and creates a new status quo (balance)
rhetoric art of persuasion; ethos, pathos, logos
rhetorical question asked to get a definite answer from the reader often implies an answer
rhyme matching similarity of sounds in 2+ words
rhyme scheme pattern of rhyme
rhythm expressiveness of speech; uniform
rising action before climax; build up, tension increase
run-on sentence containing 2+ independent clauses that are not separated by a ; or .
saga oral story; prose narrative recorded in iceland
sarcasm ironic remark intended to ridicule someone
satire mock human/societal flaw; humany folly; the onion
semantics the study of actual meaning in laguaes
setting the time, place, physical details, and circumstances in which situation occurs
shakespearean sonnet 12 line stanza divided into 3 quatrains; each rhyme differently w/ a final rhymed couplet that makes an effective climax
simile figurative language; makes a comparison btwn two unlike objects connecting with "like" or "as"
soliloquy spoken monologue expressing true thoughts when the actor believes he is alone on stage
sonnet 14 lines arranged in a rhyme scheme
stanza arrangement of lines of verse in pattern
stock character flat & static; appears repeatedly in a particular literary genre which has certain conventional attributes
stream of consciousness writing in which a character's thoughts are presented in a random form w/o logical sense
styles author's words and characteristics ways that writers use to achieve certain effect
sublime impress upon the mind to awe and inspire; used characteristically
subplot minor secondary plot; struggles of characters other than main
symbol abstract; an object that stands for another thing
theme dominant idea
tone conveying an attitude or mood
tour de force a powerful display os somebody's ability to be upmost
tragedy drama where the character is brought to ruin due to consequence or tragic flaw; seemingly undeserved
tragic flaw hamartia and hubris; a weakness of a character resulting to a hero's fall
trochee long to short stresses
verisimilitude common sense; assuming appearance of truth; generalization
vignete title page; aside in stories and novels; no plot
Created by: madazcueta