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Vocab Terms Sibley

Dr. Sibley 1302 Blinn College Vocabulary Terms, Fiction, Poetry, & Drama

TermDefinition
Alliteration the repetition of usually initial consonant sounds through a sequence of words
Allusion a brief, often implicit and indirect reference within a literary text to something outside the text or any imaginary or historical person, place, or thing
Analogy a comparison between two things, typically on the basis of their structure and for the purpose of explanation or clarification
Apostrophe a figure of speech in which a speaker or narrator addresses an abstraction, an object, or a dead or absent person
Assonance the repetition of vowel sounds in a sequence of words with different endings
Aubade a poem in which the coming of dawn is either celebrated or denounced as a nuisance
Auditor an imaginary listener within a literary work, as opposed to the actual reader or audience outside the work
Ballad a verse narrative that is, or originally was, meant to be sung, originally a folk creation, transmitted orally from person to person & age to age & characterized by relatively simple diction, meter, and rhyme scheme
Ballad stanza a common stanza form, consisting of a quatrain that alternates four-foot and three-foot lines; lines 1 and 3 are unrhymed iambic tetrameter (four feet) and lines 2 and 4 are rhymed iambic trimester (three feet)
Blank verse the metrical verse form most like everyday human speech; blank verse consists of unrhymed lines in iambic pentameter
Caesura a short pause within a line of poetry; often but not always signaled by punctuation
Carpe diem literally, “seize the day” in Latin, a common theme of literary works that emphasize the brevity of life and the need to make the most of the present
Concrete poetry poetry in which the words on the page are arranged to look like an object; also called shaped verse
Connotation what is suggested by a word, apart from what it literally means or how it is defined in the dictionary
Denotation a word’s direct and literal meaning, as opposed to its connotation
Diction choice of words, often described as either informal or colloquial if it resembles everyday speech, or as formal if it is instead lofty, impersonal, and dignified; tone is determined largely through this
Dramatic monologue a type or subgenre of poetry in which a speaker addresses a silent auditor or auditors in a specific situation and setting that is revealed entirely through the speaker’s words
Dramatic poetry a poem structured so as to present a scene or series of scenes, as in a work of drama
Elegy usually formal lament on the death of a particular person, but focusing mainly on the speaker’s efforts to come to terms with his or her grief; also more broadly, any lyric in sorrowful mood that takes death as its primary subject
Enjambed line a technique or running over from one line to the next without stop
Epic a long narrative poem that celebrates the achievements of mighty heroes and heroines, usually in founding a nation or developing a culture, and uses elevated language and a grand, high style
Epithet a characterizing word or phrase that precedes, follows, or substitutes for the name of a person or thing
Epitaph an inscription on a tombstone or grave marker
End-stopped line a line of verse that contains or concludes a complete clause and usually ends with a punctuation mark
Free verse poetry characterized by varying line lengths, lack of traditional meter, and non-rhyming lines
Haiku a poetic form, Japanese in origin that consists of seventeen syllables arranged in three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively
Iamb referring to a metrical form in which each foot consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one; the most common poetic meter in English
Inversion a change in normal syntax such as putting a verb before its subject. Common in poetry Ex. Yoda
Limerick a light or humorous poem or subgenre of poems consisting of mainly anapestic lines of which the first, second, and fifth, are of three feet; the third and fourth lines are of two feet; and the thyme scheme is aabba.
Lyric poetry originally a poem meant to be sung to the accompaniment of a lyre; now any relatively short poem in which the speaker expresses his or her thoughts and feelings in the first person rather than recounting a narrative or portraying a dramatic situation
Metaphor a figure of speech in which two unlike things are compared implicitly – that is without the use of a signal such as the word like or as
Meter the more or less regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry, determined by the foot and by the number of feet per line
Metonymy a figure of speech in which the name of one thing is used to refer to another associated thing
Narrative poetry a poem in which a narrator tells a story
Occasional poem poetry composed for a particular occasion
Ode a lyric poem characterized by a serious topic and formal tone but without a prescribed formal pattern in which the speaker talks about, and often to, an especially revered person or thing
Onomatopoeia a word capturing or approximating the sound of what it describes; buzz is a good example
Palindrome a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backward as forward; madam or nurses run
Pentameter a line of poetry with five feet
Persona the voice or figure of the author who tells and structures the work and who may or may not share the values of the actual author
Personification a figure of speech that involves treating something nonhuman, such as an abstraction, as if it were a person by endowing it with humanlike qualities
Quatrain a stanza of four lines, especially one having alternate rhymes
Rhyme repetition or correspondence of the terminal sounds of words
Sestina an elaborate verse structure written in blank verse that consists of six stanzas of six lines each followed by a three-line stanza
Setting the time and place of the action in a work of fiction, poetry, or drama
Simile a figure of speech involving a direct explicit comparison of one thing to another, usually using like or as
Situation the basic circumstances depicted in a literary work, especially when the story, play, or poem begins or at a specific later moment in the action
Sonnet a fixed verse form consisting of fourteen lines usually in iambic pentameter
Speaker the person who is the voice of poem, anyone who speaks dialogue in a work of fiction, poetry, or drama
Spondee a metrical foot consisting of a pair of stressed syllables
Stanza a section of a poem, marked by extra line spacing before and after, that often has a single pattern of meter and or rhyme
Subject what the poem, fiction, drama is about
Symbol a person, place, or thing, or event that figuratively represents or stands for something else. Often the thing or idea represented is more abstract and general and the symbol is more concrete and particular
Syntax word order; the way words are put together to form phrases, clauses, and sentences
Terza rima literally, “third rhyme;” a verse form consisting of three-line stanzas in which the second line of each stanza rhymes with the first and third of the next
Theme broadly and commonly, a topic explored in a literary work, more narrowly and properly, the insight about a topic communicated in a work
Tone the attitude a literary work takes toward its subject, especially the way this attitude is revealed through diction
Villanelle a verse from consisting of 19 lines divided into 6 stanzas: 5 tercets &1 quatrain, the 1st & 3rd lines of the 1st tercet rhyme with each other, & this rhyme is repeated through each of the next four tercets & in the last 2 lines of the concluding quatrain
Conflict a struggle between opposing forces
Plot the arrangement of the action
Action any event or series of events depicted in a literary work
Genre a type or category of works sharing particular formal or textual features and conventions
Narrator someone who recounts a narrative or tells a story
Antagonist a character or nonhuman force that opposes or is in conflict with the protagonist
Protagonist the most neutral and broadly applicable term for the main character in a work
Style a distinctive manner of expression
Tone the attitude a literary work takes toward its subject, especially the way this attitude is revealed through diction
Short Story a relatively short work or prose fiction that, according to Edgar Allan Poe, can be read in a single sitting of two hours or less and works to create "a single effect"
Nonfiction a work or genre of prose works that describe actual, as opposed to imaginary or fictional characters and events
Novel a long work of fiction, typically published as a stand-alone book
Historical Fiction a subgenre of fiction, of whatever length, in which the temporal setting, or plot time, is significantly earlier than the time in which the work was written
In Medias Res "in the middle of things" refers to opening a plot in the middle of the action, and then filling in past details by means of exposition and/or flashback
Flashback a plot-structuring device whereby a scene from the fictional future is inserted into the fictional present or is dramatized out of order
Foreshadowing a hint of clue about what will happen at a later moment in the plot
Discriminated Occasion a specific, discrete moment portrayed in a fictional work, often signaled by phrases such as "At 5:05" in the evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season..." or "the day before Maggie fell down..."
Exposition the first phase or part of plot, which sets the scene, introduces and identifies characters, and establishes the situation at the beginning of a story or play
Inciting Incident an action that sets a plot in motion by creating conflict
Rising Action the second of the five phases or parts of plot, in which events complicate the situation that existed at the beginning of the work, intensifying the initial conflict or introducing a new one
Climax the first part of plot, the point at which the action stops rising and begins falling or reversing
Falling Action the fourth of the five phases or parts of plot, in which the conflict or conflicts move toward resolution
Resolution another word for conclusion
Complication in plot, an action or event that introduces a new conflict or intensifies the existing one, especially during the rising action phase of plot
Epilogue in fiction, a short section or chapter that comes after the conclusion, tying up loose ends and describes what happens to the characters; in drama, a short speech, often addressed directly to the audience, delivered by a character at the end of the play
Convention in literature, a standard or traditional way of presenting or expressing something, or a traditional characteristic feature of a particular literary genre or subgenre
Tragedy a work, especially of drama, in which a character is brought to a disastrous end in his or her confrontation with a superior force, but also comes to understand the meaning of his or her deeds and to accept an approrpriate punishment
Comedy a broad category of literary, especially dramatic, works intended primarily to entertain and amuse an audience
Point of View the perspective from which people, events, and other details in a work of fiction are viewed
Focus the visual component of point of view, the point from which people, events, and other details in a story are viewed
Central Consciousness a character whose inner thoughts, perceptions, and feelings are revealed by a third-person limited narrator who does not reveal the thoughts, perceptions, or feelings of other characters
First Person Narrator an internal narrator who consistently refers to himself or herself using the first-person pronouns I or we
Third Person Narrator uses third person pronouns such as she, he, they, it and so on; almost always external narrators
Internal Narrator when the narrator is a character within the work, telling the story to an equally fictional auditor or listener
External Narrator when the narrator is not a character in the story
Hero a character in a literary work, especially the leading male/female character, who is especially virtuous, usually larger than life, sometimes almost godlike
Villain a character who not only opposes the hero or heroine, but is also characterized as an especially evil person or "bad guy"
Direct Characterization when a narrator explicitly tells us what a character is like
Indirect Characterization when a character's traits are revealed implicitly through his or her speech, behavior, thoughts, appearance, and so on
Round Characters complex and multifaceted and act in a way that readers might not expect but accept as possible
Flat Characters relatively simple, have few dominant traits and tend to be predictable
Dynamic Characters characters that change
Static Characters characters that don't change
Stock Characters represent familiar types that recur frequently in literary works, especially of a particular genre
Magical Realism a type of fiction that involves the creation of a fictional world in which the kind of familiar, plausible action and characters one might find in a more straightforwardly realist fiction coexist with utterly fantastic ones straight out of myths or dreams
Archetype a character, ritual, symbol, or plot pattern that recurs in the myth and literature of many cultures
Allegory a literary work in which characters, actions, and even settings have two connected levels of meaning
Myth originally and narrowly, a narrative explaining how the world and humanity developed into their present form and unlike a folktale, generally considered to be true by the people who develop it
Figure of Speech/Figurative Language any word or phrase that creates a "figure" in the mind of the reader by effecting an obvious change in the usual meaning or order of words, by comparing or identifying one thing with another
Imagery broadly defined, any sensory detail or evocation in a work; more narrowly the use of figurative language to evoke a feeling, to call to mind an idea, or to describe an object
Rhetoric the art and scholarly study of effective communication, whether in writing or speech
Irony a situation or statement characterized by a significant difference between what is expected or understood and what actually happens or is meant
Metaphor a figure of speech in which two unlike things are compared implicitly without using like or as
Metonymy a figure of speech in which the name of one thing is used to refer to another associated thing
Oxymoron a figure of speech that combines two apparently contradictory elements
Personification a figure of speech that involves treating something nonhuman, such as an abstraction, as if it were a person by endowing it with humanlike qualities
Simile a figure of speech involving a direct explicit comparison of one thing to another usually using the words like or as
Synechdoche a type of metonymy in which the part is used to name or stand in for the whole
Arena Stage a stage design in which the audience is seated all the way around the acting area; actors make their entrances and exits through the auditorium
Ampitheatre a theatre consisting of a stage area surrounded by a semicircle of tiered seats
Chorus a group of actors in a drama who comment on and describe the action
Drama a literary genre consisting of works in which action is performed and all words are spoken before an audience by an actor or actors impersonating the characters
Dramatic Irony when there is a gap between what an audience knows and what a character believes or expects
Foil a character that serves as a contrast to another
High/Verbal Comedy refers to either a particular type of comedy or to a sort of humor found within any literary work that employs subtlety and wit and usually represents high society
Low/Physical Comedy a type of comedy that involves burlesque, horseplay, and the representation of unrefined life
Monologue a long speech, usually in a play but also in other genres, spoken by one person and uninterrupted by the speech of anyone else or an entire work consisting of this sort of speech
Orchestra in classical Greek theatre, a semicircular area used mostly for dancing by the chorus
Prop in drama, an object used on the stage
Proscenium Arch an arch over the front of a stage
Set the design, decoration, and scenery of the stage during a play
Skene a low building in the back of the stage area in classical Greek theatres; it represents the palace or temple in front of which the action took place
Soliloguy a monologue in which the character in a play is alone onstage and thinking out loud, as in the famous Hamlet speech that begins "to be or not to be"
Subplot a secondary plot in a work of fiction or drama
Thrust Stage a stage design that allows the audience to sit around three sides of the major acting area
Created by: baileafholmez