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Literary Devices

ELAR 7-12 flashcards

TermDefinition
Allegory A narrative that serves as an extended metaphor. Allegories are written in the form of fables, parables, poems, stories, and almost any other style or genre. The main purpose of an allegory is to tell a story that has characters, a setting, as well as other types of symbols, which have both literal and figurative meanings.
Alliteration Repetition of initial consonant sounds
Allusion A reference to another work of literature, person, or event
Amplification A literary device in which the writer embellishes the sentence by adding more information to it in order to increase its worth and understandability; often marked by a colon or dash.
Anagram a word or phrase spelled by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase
Analogy A comparison of two different things that are similar in some way
Anastrophe Inversion of the usual, normal, or logical order of the parts of a sentence. Purpose is rhythm or emphasis or euphony. It is a fancy word for inversion.
Anecdote A short account of an interesting or humorous incident
Anthropomorphism attributing human characteristics to an animal or inanimate object (Personification)
Antithesis A balancing of two opposite or contrasting words, phrases, or clauses.
Aphorism A concise statement made in a matter of fact tone to state a principle or opinion that is generally understood to be a universal truth.
Archetype A detail, image, or character type that occurs frequently in literature and myth and is thought to appeal in a universal way to the unconscious and to evoke a response
Assonance Repetition of a vowel sound within two or more words in close proximity
Asyndeton Commas used (with no conjunction) to separate a series of words. The parts are emphasized equally when the conjunction is omitted; in addition, the use of commas with no intervening conjunction speeds up the flow of the sentence. (Read, Write, Learn.)
Authorial Intrusion Discussions directed to the reader and constituting a substantial break in the narrative illusion of reality
Bildungsroman - German term for "formation novel." This coming of age story describes the physical maturation of a young person who also grows into an adult through a series of significant emotional, mental, social, psychological or spiritual experiences. Example - Simba in The Lion King.
Cacophony The use of harsh-sounding mixture of words, voices, or sounds that create a disturbing atmosphere.
Caesura A dramatic pause
Characterization Actions, dialogue, and narrative description that reveal a sense of a character's personality to the reader.
Chiasmus A verbal pattern in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first but with the parts reversed. Example: You can take the patriot out of the country but you cannot take the country out of the patriot.
Circumlocution A roundabout or indirect way of speaking; the use of more words than necessary to express an idea.
Conflict A struggle between opposing forces
Connotation All the meanings, associations, or emotions that a word suggests
Consonance Repetition of a consonant sound within two or more words in close proximity.
Denotation Literal meaning of a word as it appears in the dictionary
Diction An author's choice of words, phrases, sentence structures and figurative language, which combine to help create meaning and tone.
Doppelganger A device by which a character is self-duplicated; the "divided self" or ghostly double.
Ekphrastic A dramatic expression of a work of art (mostly poetry).
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.
Epithet An adjective or other descriptive phrase that is regularly used to characterize a person, place, or thing (Alexander "The Great")
Euphemism An indirect, less offensive way of saying something that is considered unpleasant
Euphony A succession of harmonious sounds used in poetry or prose; the opposite of cacophony.
Faulty Parallelism orderly construction of a sentence keeps parallel ideas in the same grammatical form, ideas in a series should be in the same grammatical form, even when the series consists of only two items, parallel ideas should be in the same grammatical form, parallel ideas are often signaled by pairs of words like either/or, neither/nor, etc.
Flashback A scene that interrupts the normal chronological sequence of events in a story to depict something that happened at an earlier time
Foil A character who is in most ways opposite to the main character (protagonist) or one who is nearly the same as the protagonist. The purpose of the foil character is to emphasize the traits of the main character by contrast only
Foreshadowing A narrative device that hints at coming events; often builds suspense or anxiety in the reader.
Hubris Excessive pride or arrogance that results in the downfall of the protagonist of a tragedy
Hyperbaton A literary device wherein the author plays with the regular positioning of words and phrases and creates a differently structured sentence to convey the same meaning. (Example: Alone he walked)
Hyperbole A figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or evoke humor
Imagery Description that appeals to the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste)
Internal Rhyme A poetic device in which a word in the middle of a line rhymes with a word at the end of the same metrical line.
Inversion A switch in the normal word order, often used to emphasis or for rhyme scheme
Irony A contrast or discrepancy between what is stated and what is really meant, or between what is expected to happen and what actually does happen.
Juxtaposition Placement of two things closely together to emphasize comparisons or contrasts
Kennings Phrases that are an elaborative and indirect way of naming persons, places things (nouns). Ex "the pathless deep"= the sea; "soul's prison house"= the body; "wave-skimmer"=ship
Litote A type of understatement in which an idea is expressed by negating its opposite (describing a particularly horrific scene by saying, "It was not a pretty picture.")
Malapropism A blunder in speech caused by the substitution of a word for another that is similar in sound but different in meaning.
Metaphor A direct comparison between two unlike things, saying one thing is another, using the "to be" verb, not "like" or "as."
Metonymy A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated (such as "crown" for "royalty").
Mood Feeling or atmosphere that a writer creates for the reader
Motif A recurring theme, subject or idea
Negative Capability a theory of the poet John Keats describing the capacity for accepting uncertainty and the unresolved.
Nemesis 1. Due punishment for evil deeds (from Nemesis, goddess of vengeance) 2. One who inflicts such punishment
Onomatopoeia A figure of speech in which natural sounds are imitated in the sounds of words. Simple examples include such words as buzz, hiss, hum, crack, whinny, and murmur. If you note examples in an essay passage, note the effect.
Oxymoron A figure of speech consisting of two apparently contradictory terms (...a cold fire in his eyes)
Paradox A statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
Pathetic Fallacy Assigning human feelings to nature. Ex. A cold, lonesome wind. Strong powerful mountain. This is a type of personification.
Periodic Structure A sentence in which the main clause or predicate is withheld until the end. Despite the heavy winds and nearly impenetrable ground fog, the landed safely.
Periphrasis A round-about or long-winded way of expressing something
Personification A figure of speech in which an animal, an object, or an idea is given human form or characteristics
Plot Also called storyline. the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, novel, or short story
Point of View Perspective from which a story is told.
Polysyndeton Deliberate use of many conjunctions in close succession, especially where some might be omitted. Hemingway and the Bible both use extensively. Ex. "he ran and jumped and laughed for joy"
Portmanteau a new word formed by joining two others and combining their meanings
Prologue Can be understood to be a sort of introduction to a story that usually sets the tone for the story and acts as a bit of a backgrounder or a "sneak peek" into the story. Typically a narrative 'spoken' by one of the characters and not from the part of the author.
Puns A humorous play on words, using similar-sounding or identical words to suggest different meanings.
Rhyme Scheme A regular pattern of rhyme that is consistent throughout the poem. It is labeled according to their rhyme sounds.
Rhythm & Rhyme refer to the recurrence of similar sounds in prose and poetry, creating a musical, gentle effect.
Satire A literary tone used to ridicule or make fun of human vice or weakness. Sarcasm
Setting Time, place, atmosphere/weather, time of year/season, time of day, and particular historical moment of a literary work.
Simile A direct comparison made between two unlike things, using a word of comparison such as like, as, than, such as, or resembles.
Spoonerism (n.) verbal error in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often to humorous effect; word play; slip of the tongue
Stanza A group of consecutive lines in a poem that form a single unit; a division of a poem that is often referred to as a "paragraph of poetry"
Stream of consciousness A style of writing that attempts to imitate the natural flow of a character's thoughts, feelings, reflections, memories, and mental images as the character feels them.
Suspense A felling of excitement, curiosity, or expectation about the outcome of a work of fiction.
Syllepsis A construction in which one word is used in two different senses ("After he threw the ball, he threw a fit.")
Symbol An object or action in a literary work that means more than itself, that stands for something beyond itself
Synecdoche A figure of speech in which a part is used to represent the whole (for example, ABCs for alphabet) or the whole for a part ("England won the World Cup in 1966")
Synesthesia Describing one kind of sensation in terms of another "a loud color, a sweet sound"
Syntax Language rules that govern how words can be combined to form meaningful phrases and sentences
Theme A central idea or statement that unifies and controls an entire literary work.
Tone A writer's attitude toward his or her subject matter revealed through diction, figurative language, and organization on the sentence and global levels.
Tragedy A genre of literature in which there is a downfall of the hero due to a tragic flaw or personal characteristic and that results in an unhappy, melancholic, or tragic ending
Understatement ..., A statement that is restrained in ironic contrast to what might have been said, the opposite of exaggeration. It is a technique for developing irony and/or humor where one writes or says less than intended.
Verisimilitude (n.) the quality of appearing to be true, real, likely, or probable
Verse A single metrical line of poetry, or poetry in general (as opposed to prose).
Created by: OneTrueSintence