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WGU Literature terms

QuestionAnswer
The repetition of the same sounds in initial consonants or stressed syllables in a sequence of words. Alliteration
The repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds in a sequence of words. Assonance
Usually the repetition occurs in the stressed syllables and the vowel sound is followed by different consonant sounds. Assonance
The effect of _________ is thought to be euphony. Assonance
The impression that a word gives beyond its defined meaning. This may be universally understood or may be significant only to a certain group. Connotation
An idea that is implied or suggested. It's created when you mean something else, something that might be initially hidden. Connotation
When words appearing at the ends of two or more verses have similar final consonant sounds but have final vowel sounds that differ, as with "stuff" and "off." Consonance
This is when you mean what you say, literally. Denotation
A long, formal narrative poem with elevated style. Epic
_______ narrate a story of national importance based on the life and actions of a hero. Frequently the fate of the nation depends upon the hero and his actions. Often the hero is either descended from or protected by the gods. Epic's
A divine manifestation Epiphany
This is the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. Epiphany
The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has an ah ha moment or has new information or experience, often insignificant by itself, that illuminates a deeper foundational frame of reference. Epiphany
French for "type." Genre
This is used to classify literature according to form, style, or content. Sonnet, novel, tragedy, and elegy are all examples of this. Genre
In contemporary usage, This refers to a moderately short (usually 12-30 lines) poem expressing one speaker's emotions and thoughts. Lyric
These poems are not limited to a specific meter or form but are almost always about emotion, frequently concerning themes of love and grief. Lyric
This is a “dramatic sketch performed by one actor”. Monologue
This is an extended, uninterrupted speech or poem by a single person. Monologue
The reasons or explanations for why a character acts in the ways he or she does in response to events of the plot. Motivation
This is part of characterization, or how an author uses description, action, dialogue, and emotion to convey the complexities of a character. Motivation
A significant element that recurs either in a specific literary work, in a group of literary texts, or in literature as a whole. Motif
This can be plots, imagery, symbols, themes, ideas, narrative details, or characters. In a specific literary work, This usually relate and contribute to the work's larger themes. Motif
The telling of true or fictitious events by a narrator. Narrative
This can be either verse or prose and focus on the depiction of events or happenings. Narrative
Also called echoism Onomatopoeia
Broadly, it refers to words or passages in which the sound echoes the sense, or the words or passages sound like the words they describe either in terms of movement or sound. Onomatopoeia
more specifically, this is when the sound of a word closely resembles or echoes the sound it conveys, such as “buzz” or “hiss.” Onomatopoeia
This refers to the first-person voice or character an author uses to convey the story in a narrative. Persona
Originally referring to the masks worn by actors in ancient drama Persona
Refers to the location, historical moment, social context, or circumstances in which a literary work or scene is set. Setting
In drama, it also includes the scenery and props and is often referred to as décor or mise en scène. Setting
One of several categories within a particular genre. Subgenres
A division within the category of a genre; novel, novella, and short story are ______ of the genre fiction. Subgenres
An extended piece of fictional prose that is distinguished from short stories and novellas by its length. Novel
The reasons or explanations for why a character acts in the ways he or she does in response to events of the plot. Motivation
This is part of characterization, or how an author uses description, action, dialogue, and emotion to convey the complexities of a character. Motivation
A significant element that recurs either in a specific literary work, in a group of literary texts, or in literature as a whole. Motif
This can be plots, imagery, symbols, themes, ideas, narrative details, or characters. In a specific literary work, This usually relate and contribute to the work's larger themes. Motif
The telling of true or fictitious events by a narrator. Narrative
This can be either verse or prose and focus on the depiction of events or happenings. Narrative
Also called echoism Onomatopoeia
Broadly, it refers to words or passages in which the sound echoes the sense, or the words or passages sound like the words they describe either in terms of movement or sound. Onomatopoeia
more specifically, this is when the sound of a word closely resembles or echoes the sound it conveys, such as “buzz” or “hiss.” Onomatopoeia
This refers to the first-person voice or character an author uses to convey the story in a narrative. Persona
Originally referring to the masks worn by actors in ancient drama Persona
Refers to the location, historical moment, social context, or circumstances in which a literary work or scene is set. Setting
In drama, it also includes the scenery and props and is often referred to as décor or mise en scène. Setting
One of several categories within a particular genre. Subgenres
A division within the category of a genre; novel, novella, and short story are ______ of the genre fiction. Subgenres
An extended piece of fictional prose that is distinguished from short stories and novellas by its length. Novel
A literary work based on the imagination and not necessarily on fact. Fabrication: a deliberately false or improbable account. Fiction
Is an account or representation of a subject which is presented as fact. Nonfiction
This presentation may be accurate or not; that is, it can give either a true or a false account of the subject in question. However, it is generally assumed that the authors of such accounts believe them to be truthful at the time of their composition. Nonfiction
Biographical novel that concentrates on an individual’s youth and his social and moral initiation into adulthood. Apprenticeship Novel
Narrate a story of national importance based on the life and actions of a hero. Frequently the fate of the nation depends upon the hero and his actions. Often the hero is either descended from or protected by the gods. Epic Novel
A novel, or extended piece of fictional prose, told through the characters’ writing and exchange of letters. The reliance on subjective points of view makes it the forerunner of the modern psychological novel. Epistolary Novel
A novel, or extended piece of fictional prose, that features the realistic and episodic adventures of a likeable yet flawed roguish hero. Usually a first-person narrative. Picaresque Novel
A prose fiction work of about 50-100 pages. Shorter than a novel and longer than a short story, this possesses formal and stylistic elements of those two prose genres. Unlike a short story, this is long enough to be published as an individual volume. Novella
This is a secondary plot strand that is auxiliary to the main plot. This may connect to main plots, in either time and place or in thematic significance. This often involve supporting characters. Subplot
This is the primary sequence of events. Plot
This is to inform, the readers about the plot, character, setting, and theme of the essay/story. Exposition
Suggestions of what is to come later on in a narrative. Foreshadowing
This is to create narrative cohesion, build suspense, and develop plot. Foreshadowing
Because this hints at what is to come, it helps an author prepare readers for an ending, thus helping to create resolutions that do not seem contrived. Foreshadowing
The struggle between two forces in a literary work that constitutes the foundation of plot, or the arrangement of events, actions, and situations in a narrative work. Conflict
______ conflict between a character and the natural or physical world. Physical
______ conflict between a character and another character, or characters and society or a segment of society. Social
______ conflict between a character and his or her thoughts, ideas, actions, or beliefs. Psychological
______ conflict between a character and fate or a deity. Metaphysical
Conflict that pits one person against another. Man vs. man
A run-in with the forces of nature. On the one hand, it expresses the insignificance of a single human life in the cosmic scheme of things. On the other hand, it tests the limits of a person’s strength and will to live. Man vs. nature
The values and customs by which everyone else lives are being challenged. The character may come to an untimely end as a result of his or her own convictions. Man vs. society
Internal conflict. Not all conflict involves other people. Sometimes people are their own worst enemies. Man vs. self
The point at which a character understands his or her situation as it really is. Recognition
A set of conflicts and crises that constitute the part of a play's or story's plot leading up to the climax. Rising Action
The conflict reaches a turning point. At this point the opposing forces in the story meet and the conflict becomes most intense. Crisis
This occurs before or at the same time as the climax. Crisis
This is the result of the crisis. Climax
It is the high point of the story for the reader. Frequently, it is the moment of the highest interest and greatest emotion. The point at which the outcome of the conflict can be predicted. Climax
The events after the climax which close the story. Falling Action
Also referred to as resolution Denouement
This is what follows the climax of a narrative and is usually the final scene in a play or the final chapter or section in a narrative or novel. Denouement
French for "unknotting" Denouement
This is the final untying or clearing up a plot where its mysteries, confusions, or uncertainties are resolved. Denouement
This can be applied to tragedy and comedy but catastrophe is usually used to describe the final resolution in tragedy. Denouement
This dénouement refers to endings where the author leaves several unresolved issues or loose threads for the reader to consider Open dénouement
This dénouement refers to endings where all or almost all of the uncertainties are resolved, leaving very few loose threads. Rounds out and concludes the action. Closed dénouement
This is the process of conveying information about characters in fiction or conversation. Characters are usually presented by description and through their actions, speech, and thoughts. Characterization
The main character in a play or narrative, often in conflict with the antagonist. Usually the plot revolves around, or is set into action by, this. Protagonist
The most significant character or force that opposes the protagonist in a narrative. Antagonist
A central character in a work of literature who lacks traditional heroic qualities such as courage, physical prowess, and fortitude. Antihero
This typically distrust conventional values and are unable to commit themselves to any ideals. They generally feel helpless in a world over which they have no control. Antihero
A character whose qualities or actions are in stark contrast with those of another character, usually the protagonist. These are often used to convey or develop the protagonist's character. Foil
- Specific types of characters, or fictional or imagined people in a narrative or literary text, so commonly seen in literature that they are seen as stereotypical types. Stock Character
Fairy tales have perhaps the most recognizable ______, including fairy godmothers, cruel stepmothers, and prince charmings. Stock Character
_______ doesn’t change in the text, distinguishing it from a round character. Flat Character
This is typically a minor character with a single outstanding trait and is often based on a stock character, or a common, stereotypical character. Flat Character/static character
This is usually one of the main characters, is presented in a complex and detailed manner, and usually undergoes a significant change in response to the events or circumstances described in the plot. Round (also called dynamic) character
In contrast to static characters who do not change, this changes during the course of a literary work. Dynamic/ Round character
A mental position from which things are viewed. Point of View
The narrator of a story told from the perspective of a persona who uses "I" or "me" to recount the story’s events. First Person
Usually this person is involved in the plot, but not always. First Person
The narrator is a character in the story who can reveal only personal thoughts and feelings and what he or she sees and is told by other characters. He can’t tell us thoughts of other characters. First Person
The narrator is an outsider who can report only what he or she sees and hears. This narrator can tell us what is happening, but he can’t tell us the thoughts of the characters. Third Person Objective
The narrator is an outsider who sees into the mind of one of the characters. Third Person Limited
The narrator is an all-knowing outsider who can enter the minds of more than one of the characters. Third Person Omniscient
A figure of speech wherein a thing, place, abstract idea, dead or absent person is addressed directly as if present and capable of understanding and responding. Apostrophe
A clever and fanciful metaphor, usually expressed through elaborate and extended comparison that presents a striking parallel between two seemingly dissimilar things— for example, elaborately comparing a beautiful woman to an object like a garden. Conceit
This was a popular device throughout the Elizabethan Age and Baroque Age and was the principal technique of the seventeenth-century English metaphysical poets. Conceit
An exaggerated statement used to heighten effect. It is not used to mislead the reader, but to emphasize a point. Example: She’s said "so on" several million occasions. Hyperbole (Overstatement)
A figure of speech which uses exaggeration for comic, ironic, or serious effect. Hyperbole
Its opposite is understatement or meiosis. Hyperbole
A figure of speech which involves an implied comparison between two relatively unlike things using a form of be. The comparison is not announced by like or as. Example: The road was a ribbon of moonlight. Metaphor
A figure of speech that replaces the name of one thing with the name of another closely related thing. For example, "the crown" is used to signify the monarchy. Metonymy
A statement that, on the surface, appears to be self-contradictory but, upon analysis, reveals an underlying truth, significance, or meaning. Paradox
An oxymoron, or two opposite or contradictory words juxtaposed for effect or emphasis, is a kind of this. Paradox
A figure of speech through which inanimate objects, ideas, concepts, or animals is given human characteristics, or is referred to as if human. This is broader and distinct from the pathetic fallacy. Personification
A figure of speech that is a comparison of two different things or ideas using "like" or "as." Simile
These are used to illustrate or enhance an idea or an image. Simile
A figure of speech where a part of something is used to represent the whole (for example, "hands" to refer to manual labor) or where the whole is used to represent the part (for example, "Montréal" is used to refer to the Montréal Canadiens). Synecdoche
A kind of metonymy. Synecdoche
a device of emphasis in which a characteristic (as opposed to a name or label [metonymy] or a part [synecdoche]) of one thing is attributed to another closely associated to it. Transferred Epithet
A word or phrase that often is disparaging or abusive, and that expresses a character trait of someone or something. Epithet
"The Napoleon of crime" is an ____ applied to Professor Moriarty, arch-rival of Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle's series of detective stories. Epithet
Also known by its Greek term “meiosis”. Understatement
This is describing something in terms less grand or important than it deserves or merits, typically to minimize its importance. Understatement
Its opposite is hyperbole, a figure of speech which uses exaggeration for comic, ironic, or serious effect. Understatement
The author's choice of words or vocabulary in a literary work Diction
A performer's manner or style of speaking, including phrasing and punctuation. Poetic diction refers specifically to the choice and phrasing of words suitable to verse. Diction
The author's attitude toward the audience or reader in a literary text (i.e., familiar, formal) (or toward the subject itself) (i.e., satiric, celebratory, ironic) Tone
The feeling or emotion created specifically through elements of the setting. Mood
also called atmosphere Mood
This is more specific than tone, which is established by a variety of elements, including symbolism, imagery, diction, meter, rhyme, alliteration, and assonance. Mood
The use of symbols or a set of related symbols or a sustained use of symbols. Symbolism
was also a literary movement in late-nineteenth-century France as a reaction to realist impulses in literature; Symbolists often developed their own independent and subjective systems of this. Symbolism
A significant abstract idea emerging from a literary work or the statement the work appears to make about its subject. Theme
Usually these are indirectly suggested and are generally conveyed through figurative language, imagery, symbols, or motifs. Theme
Themes that are overt or explicitly stated are called ________. Didactic
Collective form of image. Imagery
Depictions of objects or qualities perceived by the five senses Imagery
The figurative language used to convey abstract ideas concretely Imagery
The depiction of visual objects or scenes. Imagery
This is what makes language and literature concrete and not abstract. Imagery
A narrative in which abstract concepts are represented as something concrete, typically major elements in the story, such as characters, objects, actions, or events. Allegory
It possesses two parallel levels of meaning and understanding: a literal level, where a surface level story is recounted, and a symbolic level, which addresses abstract ideas. Allegory
These are often considered extended metaphors: the surface level story helps to convey moral, religious, political, or philosophical ideas. Allegory
An indirect reference in a literary text to a well-known person or place, or to an historical, political, or cultural event. The reference can also be to a literary, religious, or mythological text. Allusion
The reference can also be to a literary, religious, or mythological text. These are not usually identified, as it is assumed the reader will make the connection. Allusion
A short remark or speech spoken by a character to the audience or to another character. According to convention, it is assumed that this is not heard by the other characters. Aside
This tends to reveal insight into plot, character, or emotion. Aside
A character, plot, device, image, theme, or motif used frequently in literature. Convention
An unrealistic device, such as an aside, that an audience or reading public has agreed to tolerate. Convention
The representation of spoken exchanges between or among characters. Dialogue
A literary work where characters discuss or debate a particular subject. Dialogue
Latin for "god out of a machine." Deus ex machina
The practice in Greek drama of a god descending into the play from a crane-like machine in order to solve a problem in the plot and thus enable the play to end. Deus ex machina
An unexpected, contrived, or improbable ending or solution in a literary text. Deus ex machina
A scene used to show events that occur before the opening scene. Flashback
These are used to provide insight into or background about events, settings, characters, or context and can take the form of a character's dreams, remembrances, or reflections or a narrator's comments. Flashback
Also called analepsis Flashback
Suggestions of what is to come later on in a narrative. Foreshadowing
This can be created through imagery, dialogue, diction, events, or actions. Foreshadowing
Authors use this to create narrative cohesion, build suspense, and develop plot. Because this hints at what is to come, it helps an author prepare readers for an ending, thus helping to create resolutions that do not seem contrived. Foreshadowing
Latin for "into the midst of affairs. In media res
Refers to a literary and artistic technique where the narrative starts in the middle of the story instead of from its beginning. In media res
The characters, setting, and conflict are often introduced through a series of flashbacks or through characters relating past events to each other. In media res
Prose, verse, or dramatic works which seek to expose the failings of individuals, institutions, ideas, communities, or society in general. Satire
The tone of this can range from mildly humorous to a bitter indictment; there are frequently elements of scorn, indignation, or contempt. Often there is a corrective element since these often function as social critique or as a spark for social change. Satire
Ridicules human weakness and folly; criticizes people's manners or morals. Satire
A monologue in a play spoken by one character who is alone or believes himself or herself to be alone on the stage. Soliloquy
In this, the character describes thoughts, emotions, or ideas to himself or herself or reveals important information to the audience. Soliloquy
This is a form of monologue, but a monologue is not necessarily this. If other characters are present, a monologue is not a this. Soliloquy
A one-stanza lyric poem of fourteen lines in iambic pentameter with a specific rhyme scheme. Sonnet
This kind of Sonnet has two main parts: an octave (eight lines) with a rhyme scheme of abba abba followed by a sestet (six lines) with a rhyme scheme of cde cde (or sometimes cdc cdc). Italian (or Petrarchan)
This sonnet usually uses the octave to state or describe a problem and the sestet to resolve it. Italian
This sonnet has three quatrains (4 lines) and a concluding couplet (two lines) with an abab cdcd efef gg rhyme scheme. English
This sonnet offers a variant rhyme scheme of abab bcbc cdcd ee. Spenserian
In this sonnet, the sestets describe a problem or situation that is repeated in each sestet with some variation; the remaining couplet offers a summary, usually with a turn of thought. Shakespearean
An elaborate and, sometimes, far-fetched image, which extends a metaphor into as many layers of meaning as it will bear. Conceit
Created by: ldepaepe