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Literature terms

Alliteration The repetition of initial identical CONSONANT sounds or any vowel sounds in successive or closely related syllables, especially stressed syllables.
Assonance patterning of vowel sounds without regard to consonants
Connotation The emotional implications and associations that words may carry, as distinguished from their denotative meanings
Denotation The basic meaning of a word, independant of its emotional coloration or associations
Epic A long narrative poem in elevated style presenting characters of high position in adventures forming an organic whole through their relation to a central heroic figure and through their development of episodes important to the history of a nation or race.
an intuitive flash grasp of reality achieved in a quick flash of recognition in which something, usually simple and commonplace, is seen in a new light. Epiphany
Genre Used to designate the types or categories into which literary works are grouped according to form, technique, or , sometimes, subject matter.
implies that there are groups of formal or technical characteristics among works of the same generic kind regardless of time or place of composition, author, or subject matter Genre classification
Lyric A brief subjective poem strongly marked by imagination, melody, and emotion, and creating a single, unified expression.
Monologue A composition giving the discourse of one speaker; Represents what someone would speak aloud in a situation with listeners, although they do not speak
Motivation The reasons, justifications, and explanations for the action of a character; Results from a combination of character's moral nature with the circumstances in which the character is placed
Motif A simple element that serves as a basis for expanded narrative; or, less strictly, a conventional situation, device, interest, or incident.
Helps determine what the character does, says and feels or fails to feel Motivation
Narrative An account of events; anything that is narrated
Onomatopoeia Words that by their sound suggest their meaning
Persona a mask. Widely used to refer to a "second self" created by an author and through whom the narrative is told
can not be a character, but "an implied author"; that is, a voice not directly the author's but created by the author and through which the author speaks Persona
Setting The background against which action takes place.
The geographical location, its topography, scenery and such physical arrangements as the location of the windows and doors in a room Element of a setting
Novel used to designate any extended fictional narrative almost always in prose.
Element of a setting the occupations and daily manner of living of the characters
The time or period in which the action takes place Element of a setting
Fiction Narrative writing drawn from the imagination rather than from history or fact
the general environment of the characters, for example, religious, mental, moral, social and emotional conditions Elements of a setting
Nonfiction a historical event is described in a way that exploits some of the devices of fiction, including nonlinear time sequence and access to inner states of mind and feeling not commonly present in historical writing.
Apprenticeship Novel A novel that recounts the youth and young adulthood of a sensitive protagonist who is attempting to learn the nature of the world, discover its meaning and pattern, and acquire a philosophy of life and "the art of living."
Epistolary Novel A novel in which the narrative is carried forward by letters written by one or more of the characters.
Novella A tale or short story.
Subplot A subordinate or minor story in a piece of fiction; has a direct relation to the main plot, contributing to it interest and in complication
Exposition One of the four chief types of composition; it's purpose is to explain something. In drama, it is the introductory material that creates the tone, gives the setting, introduces the characters and supplies other facts neccessary to understanding
Foreshadowing The presentation of material in a work in such a way that later events are prepared for; can result from the establishment of a mood or atmosphere.
Conflict The struggle that grows out of the interplay of two opposing forces; provides interest, suspense and tension
Recognition A plot in which the principle REVERSAL or PERIPETY results from someone's acquisition of knowledge previously withheld but which, now know, works a decisive change.
may result in either tragedy or comedy Recognition plot
Rising action The part of a dramatic plot that has to do with the complication of the action. It begins with the exiciting force, gains in interest and power as the opposing groups come into conflict and proceeds to climax
Crisis The point at which the decisive action on which a plot willopposing forces that create the conflict interlock in the turn.
Climax a rhetorical term for a rising order of importance in the ideas of expressed.
Falling Action The second half or resolution of a dramatic plot. It follows the climax, beginning often with a tragic force, exhibits the failing fortunes of the hero and the successful efforts of the counterplayers, and culminates in the catastrophe.
Denouement Literally,"unknotting." The final unraveling of a plot; the solution of a mystery; an explanation or outcome.
Protagonist The chief character in a work.
What are the four types of conflict? Man vs Man; Man vs. Nature; Man vs. Self; Man vs. Society
Antagonist The character directly opposed to the protagonist. A rival, opponent, or enemy of the protagonist
Hero The central character in a work; the character who is the focus of interest
Antihero A protagonist of a modern play or novel who has the converse of most of the traditional attributes of the hero. This hero is graceless, sometimes stupid, sometimes dishonest
Foil Literally, a "leaf" of bright metal placed under a jewel to increase its brilliance. In literature the term is applied to any person who through contrast underscores the distinctive characteristics of another.
Stock Character Conventional character types.
Flat Character E.M. Forster's term for a character constructed around a single idea or quality. This character is immediately recognizable and can usually be represented by a single sentence
Round Character A term used by E.m. Forster for a character sufficiently complex to be able to surprise the reader without losing credibility
Verbal Irony A figure of speech in which the actual intent is expressed in words that have the opposite meaning
Figurative Language Intentional departure from the normal order, construction, or meaning of words; It embodies one or more figures of speech
Apostrophe A figure of speech in which someone, some abstract quality, or a nonexistant personage is directly addressed as though present.
Conceit Implies something conceived in the mind; the term designates fanciful motion, usually expressed through an elaborate analogy and pointing to a striking parallel between ostensibly dissimilar things
Hyperbole Exaggeration. The figure may be used to heighten effect, or it may be used for humor
Metaphor An analogy identifying one object with another and ascribing to the first object one or more qualities of the second.
Metonymy The substitution of the name of an object closely associated with a word for the word itself. Ex: refering to the Monarch as the "crown", an object closely associated with royalty being made to stand for it
Paradox A statement that although seemingly contradictory or absurd may actually be well founded or true; it teases the mind and tests the limits of language.
Personification A figure that endows animals, ideas, abstractions, and inanimate objects with human form; the representing of imaginary creatures or things as having human personalities, intelligence and emotions
Simile Comparing two things using the words "like" or "as"
Synecdoche A trope in which a part signifies the whole or the whole signifies the part. ex: saying "threads" for clothes
Transferred Epithet An adjective used to limit a noun that it really does not logically modify.
Understatement A common figure of speech in which the literal sense of what is said falls detectably short of the magnitude of what is being talked about.
Diction The use of words on oral or written discourse. Includes vocabulary which generally means words one at a time, and syntax, which generally means word order
Tone The attitudes toward the subject and toward the audience implied in a literary work. May be: formal, informal, intimate, solemn, somber, playful, serious, ironic, condescending, or many other possible attitude. Attitude of the author toward the audience
Mood In a literary work it is the emotional-intellectual attitude of the author toward the subject.
Symbolism the use of one object to represent or suggest another; or in literature, the serious and extensive use of symbols.
Theme A central idea
Imagery the collection of images in a literary work
Allegory A form of extended metaphor in which objects, persons and actions in a narrative are equated with meanings that lie outside of the narrative itself; it represents one thing in the guise of another-an abstractionin that of a concrete image
Allusion a figure of speech that makes brief reference to a historical or literary figure, event or object
Aside a dramatic convention by which an actor directly addresses the audience but is not supposed to be heard by the other actors on the stage.
Convention any device or style or subject matter which has become, in its time and by reason of its habitual usage, a recognized means of literary expression, an accepted element in technique.
Deus ex Machina The employment of some unexpected and impropable incident to make things turn out right
In media res A term from Horace, literally meaning "in the midst of things." It is applied to the literary technique of opening a story in the middle of the action and then supplying information about the beginning of the action through flashbacks and other devices.
Satire A work or manner that blends censorious attitude with humor and wit for improving human institutions or humanity
Soliloquy A speech delivered while the speaker is alone (solus), calculated to inform the audience of what is passing through the character's mind.
Sonnet A poem almost invariably of fourteen lines and following one of several set rhyme schemes
Italian Sonnet distinguished by its division into the octave asn sestet: The octave rhyming "abbaabba". The octave presents a narrative, states a proposition, or raises a question; the sestet drives home the narrative by making an abstract comment.
English or Shakespearean Sonnet Four divisions are used: three quatrains( each with a rhyme scheme of its own, usually rhyming alternate lines) and a rhymed concluding couplet. Links rhymes amoung the quatrains. ( abab cdcd efef gg) or (bcbc cdcd ee)
Created by: racm
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