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Lit Terms

Poetry Terms for University High School

TermMeaning
alliteration repeating of first consonant sound in multiple words
allusion stylistic, indirect/passing mention
ballad story by song
bildungsroman coming-of-age story
blank verse Unrhymed iambic pentameter (like Shakespeare's poems)
caricature a representation, exaggerated for comic effect
conflict fight, actual or figurative, between protagonist and antagonist
connotation emotional associations with a word (as opposed to denotation)
dialect usage of a language characteristic of a specific group of people
dramatic irony a contrast between the main character's and the audience's knowledge
foreshadowing subtle hinting about later events in the story
haiku a small poem, of 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively, intended to capture a moment, often in nature
iambic the meter used sometimes in old poetry; "iamb" refers to a pattern "short-long" (syncopated meter)
inference an assumption based on circumstantial evidence and earlier conclusions (as opposed to a hypothesis)
irony the incongruity between a speaker/writer's words and the general understanding of the situation
metaphor a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity
naive narrator a narrator too innocent to fully understand the story
octave an eight-line poem
paradox a statement or situation that contradicts itself
personification representing an object or idea as having some human qualities (as opposed to anthropomorphism, which is making objects "human")
point of view the perspective from which a story is told
pun a humorous play on words (example not included, for it is too punny for a flashcard)
quatrain a four-line stanza or a four-line poem
scansion An analysis of a poem, often by marking stressed/unstressed syllables
simile a figure of speech connecting two different things, almost always using "like" or "as"
social criticism writing to criticise or for social improvement (like Machiavelli's "The Prince")
sonnet a verse form using 14 lines, each with ten syllables in iambic form (iambic pentameter), with a fixed rhyme scheme
symbol something tangible associated with something intangible, so that an object represents an idea, for example