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Literary Terms Vocab

Stack #31571

Alliteration repetition of consonant sounds in words that are close to one another
Allusion a reference to a statement, person, place, event, or thing that is known from literature, history, religion, mythology, politics, sports, science, or popular culture
Antagonist character or force who comes into conflict with the protagonist
Antithesis a contrast of ideas expressed in a grammatically balanced statement; ex. "and wretches hang that jurymen may dine"
Aphorism a concise, sometimes witty saying that expresses a principle, truth, or observation about life; ex. "to err is human, to forgive, divine"
Apostrophe a figure of speech where a speaker directly addresses an absent or dead person, an abstract quality, or something nonhuman as if it were present and capable of responding
Aside private words that a character in a play speaks to the audience or to another character that are not supposed to be overheard by the others onstage
Assonance the repetition of similar vowel sounds followed by different consonant sounds in words that are close together; ex. face and fade
Blank Verse poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter
Character an individual in a story or play
Cliche an expression that was fresh and apt when first coined but is now so overused that it has become hackneyed and stale; ex. busy as a bee
Climax the point of greatest emotional intensity or suspense within the plot
Complication/Crisis part of the story where the main character takes some sort of action to resolve the conflict and meets with problems or complications
Conceit a fanciful and elaborate figure of speech that makes a suprising connection between two seemingly dissimilar things
Conflict a struggle or clash between opposing characters, forces, or emotions
Consonance the repetition of final consonant sounds after different vowel sounds; ex. turn and torn
Dead Metaphor a metaphor that has become so common that we no longer even notice that it is a figure of speech; ex. foot of the bed
Diction a writer's or speaker's choice of words that expresses the writer's style; wording can be flowery (boutique), modern (pharmacy), old-fashioned (apothecary), general (sandwich), or specific (grilled cheese on rye)
Direct Characterization when a writer tells us what the character looks like
Dramatic Irony occurs when the audience or the readers know something important that a character in a play or story doesn't know (or has just found out about)
Dynamic Character a character who changes in an important and believable way during the course of the story
Epigram a brief, clever, and usually memorable statement; ex. "we think our fathers fools, so wise we grow, our wiser sons, no doubt, will think us so" or "early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise"
Epitaph an inscription on a tombstone or a commemorative poem written about a dead person
Extended Metaphor a metaphor that is extended, or developed, over several lines of writing or even throughout an entire poem
External Conflict when the character struggles against some outside force: another person, society, natural disasters, etc
Falling Action all the action following the turning point of the plot
Figurative Language language that intentionally departs from the normal construction or meaning of words in order to create a certain effect or to make an analogy between two seemingly dissimilar things
Figure of Speech a word or phrase that describes one thing in terms of another and is not meant to be understood on a literal level
First-Person Point of View the narrator is a character in the story
Flat Character a character with only 1 or 2 key personality traits and can be described in a single sentence
Foil a character who sets off another character by strong contrast; emphasizes the differences between two characters
Foreshadowing the use of clues to hint at what is going to happen later in the plot
Hyperbole a figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion or create a comic effect (overstatement)
Iamb a metrical foot or unit of measure
Imagery language that appeals ot the senses
Implied Metaphor words that imply a comparison between two objects; ex. molt and wings imply a comparason between time and a bird shedding his feathers
Indirect Characterization when we interpret the character for ourselves by observing his appearance, speech, private thoughts, effect on other characters, and accounts
Internal Conflict struggles against opposing needs, desires, or emotions within the character himself
Irony a contrast or discrepancy between expectation and reality - between what is said and what is really meant, what is expected and what really happens, or what appears to be true and what is really true
Kenning a metaphorical phrase or compound word used to name a person, place, thing, or event indirectly; ex. "whale-road"
Limited Third-Person the narrator is outside the story but tells the story from the vantage point of only one character
Metaphor figure of speech that makes a comparison between two seemingly unlike things without using a connective word "like", "as", "than", or "resembles"
Metonymy a figure of speech where something closely related to a thing or suggested by it is substituted for the thing itself; ex. the judiciary = "the bench, the king = "the crown"
Mixed Metaphor the incongruous mixture of two or more metaphors
Motif a word, character, object, image, metaphor, or idea that recurs in a work
Omniscient the person telling the story knows everything going on in the story, even the person's personal thoughts and feelings
Onomatopoeia the use of a word whose sound imitates or suggests its meaning; ex. BANG!
Oxymoron a figure of speech that combines apparently contradictory or incongruous ideas; ex "bittersweet"
Paradox apparent contradiction that is actually true; "Lesser than Macbeth and Greater", "Fair is foul and foul is fair", "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."
Pentameter a poem with 5 iambs per line
Personification a kind of metaphor where a nonhuman thing or quality is talked aout as if it were human
Plot a series of related events connected together like links in a chain
Point of View the vantage point from which a writer tells a story
Protagonist the main character
Puns a play on the multiple meanings of a word or of two words that sound alike but have different meanings; ex. Why was Cleopatra so negative? Because she was the queen of denial!
Resolution occurs at the very end of the story, when all the conflicts are resolved
Rhymed Couplet two lines that rhyme in a poem
Rising Action all the action leading up to the turning point of the plot
Round Character a more complex character with more sides to their personality
Setting when and where a story takes place
Simile figure of speech that makes a comparison between two seemingly unlike things by using a connective word "like", "as", "than", or "resembles"
Epic Simile (Homeric Simile) extended simile in which many parallels are made between two dissimilar things
Single-Word Implied Mataphor a metaphor said in a single word that is implied
Situational Irony when things turn out differently from what is expected
Soliloquy a long speech where a character, usually alone onstage, expresses his or her private thoughts or feelings; ex. "To be, or not to be..."
Static Character a character that is exactly the same from the beginning of the story to the end of the story
Stock Character a character who fits our preconceived notions about a "type"
Style the manner in which writers or speakers say what they wish to say; can be formal, casual, plain, ornate, abstract, concrete, comic, poetic, forceful, journalistic, etc
Symbol a person, place, thing, or even event that stands for both itself and something beyond itself; ex. lion= power, dove = peace (these are sometimes called public symbols)
Synaesthesia a term used for descriptions of one kind of sensation in terms of another; ex. tasting of flora and the country green, dance, and provencal song, and sunburnt mirth"
Theme the central idea or insight of a work of literature
Tone the attitude a writer takes toward the reader, a subject, or a character (conveyed through the writer's choice of words and details)
Tragedy a play, novel, or narrative depicting serious and important events, in which the main character comes to an unhappy end
Tragic Flaw an error in judgement or a weakness in a dignified, courageous, and often high ranking character
Understatement a figure of speech that consists of saying less than what is really meant or saying something with less force than is appropriate; ex. "it's only a little wet out there" when hurricanes are being dumped on you
Verbal Irony when you say the opposite of what you really mean; sarcasm
Synecdoche a figure of speech where a part stands for the whole; ex. "our daily bread" = food
Created by: moviefreak82
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