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Praxis 0041

Objective narration A style in which the narrator reports neutrally on the outward behavior of the characters but offers no interpretation of their actions or their inner states. Ernest Hemingway pioneered this style.
Achronological plot Events are not arranged in the sequence in which they occur. For example, Homer’s Iliad is full of flashbacks and digressions that relate what happened before and after the central conflict of the poem.
Climactic plot All the action focuses toward a single climax. Aeschylus’s Agamemnon is a classic example of a climactic plot.
Episodic plot A series of loosely connected events. Cervantes’s Don Quixote is episodic.
Non sequitur plot More of an “anti-plot,” the non sequitur plot defies traditional logic by presenting events without any clear sequence and characters without any clear motivation.
Apostrophe A direct address to an absent or dead person, or to an object, quality, or idea. Walt Whitman’s poem “O Captain, My Captain,” written upon the death of Abraham Lincoln, is an example of apostrophe.
Assonance The repetition of similar vowel sounds in a sequence of nearby words. For example, Alfred, Lord Tennyson creates assonance with the “o” sound in this line from “The Lotos-Eaters”: “All day the wind breathes low with mellower tone.”
Chiasmus Two phrases in which the syntax is the same but the placement of words is reversed, as in these lines from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Pains of Sleep”: “To be beloved is all I need, / And whom I love, I love indeed.”
Cliché An expression such as “turn over a new leaf” that has been used so frequently it has lost its expressive power.
Colloquialism An informal expression or slang, especially in the context of formal writing, as in Philip Larkin’s “Send No Money”: “All the other lads there / Were itching to have a bash.”
Epithet An adjective or phrase that describes a prominent feature of a person or thing. “Richard ‘the Lionheart’ ” and “ ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson” are both examples of epithets.
Euphemism The use of decorous language to express vulgar or unpleasant ideas, events, or actions. For example, “passed away” instead of “died”; “ethnic cleansing” instead of “genocide.”
Litotes A form of understatement in which a statement is affirmed by negating its opposite: “He is not unfriendly.”
Metonymy The substitution of one term for another that generally is associated with it. For example, “suits” instead of “businessmen.”
Paradox: A statement that seems absurd or even contradictory on its face but often expresses a deeper truth. For example, a line in Oscar Wilde’s “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”: “And all men kill the thing they love.”
Parallelism: The use of similar grammatical structures or word order in two sentences or phrases to suggest a comparison or contrast between them. In Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 129”: “Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.” Parallelism also can refer to parallels between
Pathetic fallacy The attribution of human feeling or motivation to a nonhuman object, especially an object found in nature. For example, John Keats’s “Ode to Melancholy” describes a “weeping” cloud.
Allusion An implicit reference within a literary work to a historical or literary person, place, or event. For example, the title of William Faulkner’s novel The Sound and the Fury alludes to a line from Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Invocation A prayer for inspiration to a god or muse usually placed at the beginning of an epic. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey both open with invocations.
Situational irony A technique in which one understanding of a situation stands in sharp contrast to another, usually more prevalent, understanding of the same situation. For example, Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est” comments on the grotesque difference between politic
Meter the rhythmic pattern created in a line of verse
Iambic pentameter Each line of verse has five feet (pentameter), each of which consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (iamb).
Blank verse Unrhymed iambic pentameter. Blank verse bears a close resemblance to the rhythms of ordinary speech, giving poetry a natural feel. Shakespeare’s plays are written primarily in blank verse.
Ballad Alternating tetrameter and trimeter, usually iambic and rhyming. Ballad form, which is common in traditional folk poetry and song, enjoyed a revival in the Romantic period with such poems as Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”
Free verse Verse that does not conform to any fixed meter or rhyme scheme. Free verse is not, however, loose or unrestricted: its rules of composition are as strict and difficult as traditional verse, for they rely on less evident rhythmic patterns to give the poem
Internal rhyme A rhyme between two or more words within a single line of verse, as in “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins: “And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil.”
Masculine rhyme A rhyme consisting of a single stressed syllable, as in the rhyme between “car” and “far.”
Feminine rhyme A rhyme consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable, as in the rhyme between “mother” and “brother.”
Perfect rhyme An exact match of sounds in a rhyme.
Slant rhyme An imperfect rhyme, also called oblique rhyme or off rhyme, in which the sounds are similar but not exactly the same, as between “port” and “heart.” Modern poets often use slant rhyme as a subtler alternative to perfect rhyme.
Couplet Two successive rhymed lines that are equal in length. A heroic couplet is a pair of rhyming lines in iambic pentameter. In Shakespeare’s plays, characters often speak a heroic couplet before exiting, as in these lines from Hamlet: “The time is out of join
Quatrain A four-line stanza. The most common form of English verse, the quatrain has many variants. One of the most important is the heroic quatrain, written in iambic pentameter with an ABAB rhyme scheme.
Tercet A grouping of three lines, often bearing a single rhyme.
enjambment a sentence or clause runs onto the next line without a break. as in John Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale”: “Thy plaintive anthem fades / Past the near meadows, over the still stream.”
Sonnet A single-stanza lyric poem containing fourteen lines written in iambic pentameter. In some formulations, the first eight lines (octave) pose a question or dilemma that is resolved in the final six lines (sestet). There are three predominant sonnet forms.
Shakespearean sonnet Also called the English sonnet or Elizabethan sonnet, this poetic form, which Shakespeare made famous, contains three quatrains and a final couplet. The rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.
Didactic literature Literature intended to instruct or educate. For example, Virgil’s Georgics contains farming advice in verse form.
Dirge A short poetic expression of grief. A dirge differs from an elegy (see below) in that it often is embedded within a larger work, is less highly structured, and is meant to be sung. Ariel’s song “Full fathom five thy father lies” in Shakespeare’s The Tempe
Dystopic literature A genre of fiction that presents an imagined future society that purports to be perfect and utopian but that the author presents to the reader as horrifyingly inhuman.
Eclogue A short pastoral poem (see below) in the form of a soliloquy (see below) or dialogue between two shepherds. Virgil’s Eclogues is the most famous example of this genre.
Elegy A formal poem that laments the death of a friend or public figure, or, occasionally, a meditation on death itself.
Epigram A succinct, witty statement, often in verse. For example, William Wordsworth’s observation “The child is the father of the man.”
Legend A story about a heroic figure derived from oral tradition and based partly on fact and partly on fiction. The terms legend and myth (see below) are often used interchangeably, but legends are typically rooted in real historical events, whereas myths are p
Lyric A short poetic composition that describes the thoughts of a single speaker. Most modern poetry is lyrical (as opposed to dramatic or narrative), employing such common forms as the ode and sonnet.
Memoir An autobiographical work. Rather than focus exclusively on the author’s life, it pays significant attention to the author’s involvement in historical events and the characterization of individuals other than the author. A famous example is Winston Church
Metafiction Fiction that concerns the nature of fiction itself, either by reinterpreting a previous fictional work or by drawing attention to its own fictional status. Examples of the former include John Gardner’s Grendel, which retells the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf
Noir A fiction genre, popularized in the 1940s, with a cynical, disillusioned, loner protagonist. Noir often involves crime or the criminal underworld. The term stems from “film noir,” which describes films of similar style and content. Classic examples of noi
Novella A work of fiction of middle length, often divided into a few short chapters, such as Henry James’s Daisy Miller.
Ode A serious lyric poem, often of significant length, that usually conforms to an elaborate metrical structure. An example is William Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality.”
Parable: A short narrative that illustrates a moral by means of allegory (see above).
Pastiche A work that imitates the style of a previous author, work, or literary genre. Alternatively, the term may refer to a work that contains a hodgepodge of elements or fragments from different sources or influences.
Farce A form of high-energy comedy that plays on confusions and deceptions between characters and features a convoluted and fast-paced plot. Farce often incorporates buffoonery, slapstick, and stock characters to provoke uproarious laughter.
Propaganda A work of didactic literature that aims to influence the reader on a specific social or political issue
Prose Any composition not written in verse. The basic unit of prose is the sentence, which distinguishes it from free verse (see poetry, above), in which the basic unit is a line of verse. Prose writing can be rhythmic, but on the whole, rhythm in prose is less
Romance A nonrealistic story, in verse or prose, that features idealized characters, improbable adventures, and exotic settings.
Chivalric romance A romance that describes the adventures of medieval knights and celebrates their strict code of honor, loyalty, and respectful devotion to women. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an example of a chivalric romance.
Short-short story A particularly compressed and truncated short story. Short-short stories are rarely longer than 1,000 words.
Soliloquy A speech, often in verse, by a lone character. Soliloquies are most common in drama, perhaps the most famous example being the “To be or not to be” speech in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Aestheticism (c. 1835–1910) art as an end in itself. Aesthetes such as Oscar Wilde and Walter Pater rejected the view that art had to posses a higher moral or political value and believed instead in “art for art’s sake.”
Enlightenment (c. 1660–1790): An intellectual movement in France and other parts of Europe emphasized the importance of reason, progress, and liberty. The Enlightenment, sometimes called the Age of Reason,associated with nonfiction writing, such as essays and philosophical treatises.
Elizabethan era (c. 1558–1603) A flourishing period in English literature, particularly drama, that coincided with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and included writers such as Francis Bacon, Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Sir Philip Sidney, and Edmund Spenser.
Gothic fiction (c. 1764–1820): brooding, mysterious settings and plots and set the stage for what we now call “horror stories.” Later, the term “Gothic” grew to include any work that attempted to create an atmosphere of terror or the unknown, such as Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories.
Harlem Renaissance (c. 1918–1930): African-American literature, art, and music during the 1920s in New York City. W. E. B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk anticipated the movement, which included Alain Locke’s anthology The New Negro, Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching Go
Middle English (c. 1066–1500): The transitional period between Anglo-Saxon and modern English. a flowering of secular literature, including ballads, chivalric romances, allegorical poems, and a variety of religious plays. Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is the most celebrated work of th
Modernism (1890s–1940s): Major themes of this period include the attack on notions of hierarchy; experimentation in new forms of narrative, such as stream of consciousness; doubt about the existence of knowable, objective reality; attention to alternative viewpoints and modes of
Realism (c. 1830–1900) honest portrayal over sensationalism, exaggeration, or melodrama. Technically, realism refers to a late-19th-century literary movement—primarily French, English, and American—that aimed at accurate detailed portrayal of ordinary, contemporary life
Dickens, George Eliot, Gustave Flaubert, Leo Tolstoy Realists
Romanticism (c. 1798–1832) reacted against the restraint and universalism of the Enlightenment. Jane Austen, William Blake, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and William Wordsworth.
Transcendentalism (c. 1835–1860) An American philosophical and spiritual movement, based in New England, that focused on the primacy of the individual conscience and rejected materialism in favor of closer communion with nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” and Henry David Thore
Victorian era (c. 1832–1901) strict social, political, and sexual conservatism and frequent clashes between religion and science, the period also saw prolific literary activity and significant social reform and criticism.
Victorian era (c. 1832–1901) Authors Brontë sisters, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, William Makepeace Thackeray, Anthony Trollope, and Thomas Hardy, while prominent poets include Matthew Arnold; Robert Browning; Elizabeth Barrett Browning; Gerard Manley Hopkins; Alfred, Lord Tennyson; and Ch
Syntax the study of the patterns of formation of sentences and phrases from words.
Inversion Yoda
invective vehement accusation or denunciation, esp of a bitterly abusive or sarcastic kind
orthography a part of language study that deals with letters and spelling
circumlocution the use of an unnecessarily large number of words to express an idea
Elison The cutting off or suppression of a vowel or syllable, for the sake of meter or euphony; esp., in poetry, the dropping of a final vowel standing before an initial vowel in the following word, when the two words are drawn together.
masculine rhyme a rhyme of a single stressed syllable as in disdain, complain.
forced rhyme reworking the sentence order so that the ending lines in a poem rhyme. First they ran and hid, then search for them they did.
Schema abstract mental structures which represent one's understanding of the world.
graphophonic cues cues based on sound-symbol correspondences to help readers decode.
Comma splice Joining two complete sentences with a comma. Sara obviously named that one, she was a sucker for those old “Happy Days” reruns. (wrong)
dangling modifier a word or phrase that modifies a word not clearly stated in the sentence. Having arrived late for practice, the team captain needed a written excuse.
split infinitive puts an adverb between the two parts of the full infinitive. “To generously sprinkle” is a split infinitive because “generously” splits the word “to” from the word “sprinkle.”
full infinitive to go, to sprinkle, to run, to split
Etymology the study of origins of words
A simple sentence also called an independent clause, contains a subject and a verb, and it expresses a complete thought
A compound sentence contains two independent clauses joined by a coordinator. The coordinators are as follows: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
A complex sentence has an independent clause joined by one or more dependent clauses. A complex sentence always has a subordinator such as because, since, after, although, or when or a relative pronoun such as that, who, or which
Complex sentences can also contain adjective clauses, aka dependent clauses. The woman *who my mom talked to* sells cosmetics.
structural clues to words roots, prefixes, suffixes
Created by: mrspreston
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