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Literary Terms
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Literary Terms


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  • 1. • a work in which the characters and events are to be understood as representing other things, usually a deeper, often spiritual, moral, or political meaning.• Ex. The Lord of the Flies
  • 2. • is the repetition of sounds in words of close prximity • generally more than 2 wordsEx. I stood still and stopped the sound of feet -from Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost
  • 3. • a brief reference to a person, event, or place, real or fictitious, or to a work of art.• used to create a deeper meaning or understanding Ex. He has the patience of Job.
  • 4. • a similarity in some respects between things otherwise unlike• like a metaphor, but with more elaboration
  • 5. • the method used by a writer to develop a character. • point of view • actions • personality • values • physical attributes
  • 6. • a struggle between opposing forces• conflict may be internal or external • man vs. self (internal) • man vs. man • man vs. nature • man v.s society• a conflict is essential in a story
  • 7. • a writer‟s choice of words, phrases, sentence structures, and figurative language which combine to help create meaning
  • 8. • hints about what will come later in the story
  • 9. • an obvious exaggeration used for effect • Ex. I called you a million times today.
  • 10. • language that evokes one or all of the five senses • Imagery is typically used to create a deeper understanding of theme, characters, setting,etc.Ex. "A host of golden daffodils; / Beside the lake, beneath the trees, / Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.” -I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, William Wordsworth
  • 11. • The disconnect between what actually happens and what might be expected to happen.Situational: when and event is opposite of what would be expectedDramatic: when the audience or reader is aware of something important but the characters in the story are not aware.Verbal: what is said and what is meant are opposite
  • 12. • a comparison of two unlike things• Often uses "to be“ verbs (is, am, are, was, were, etc.) instead of using „like‟ or „as‟• Ex. Her eyes are crystal lakes.• Ex. I am an abandoned house.
  • 13. • the emotional and/or physical atmosphere created by the setting and descriptions
  • 14. • an important and sometimes recurring theme or idea
  • 15. • putting two contradictory words together Ex. Deafening silence, a wise fool
  • 16. • a statement, proposition, or situation that seems to be absurd or contradictory, but in fact is or may be true. Ex. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” A Tale of Two Cities
  • 17. • a piece of writing that deliberately copies or imitates another work in order to comment or critique it. Ex. Tina Fey does a parady of Sarah Palin.
  • 18. • human qualities are attributed to inanimate objects• abstract concepts are represented as a person.Ex. The flowers danced in the wind.Poseidon is the personification of the sea
  • 19. • sequence of events in a story Includes: Rising action Climax Falling Action Resolution
  • 20. • the person or entity through whom the reader experiences the story• Perspectives include: 1st person 2nd person 3rd person (limited, omniscient, objective)
  • 21. • is the use of wit, especially irony, sarcasm, and ridicule, to critique politics and society.
  • 22. • the time and place where a story occurs• setting can also be a character (Castaway, Into the Wild)
  • 23. • a comparison between two unlike things• most often uses „like‟ or „as‟Ex. “My love is like a red, red rose.”
  • 24. • the use of something concrete to represent something abstractEx. A dove symbolizes peace.
  • 25. • the main idea or message of a piece • Theme is NEVER just one word. “Love” isn‟t a theme “Love endures all things” is a themeEx. The idea that human beings are essentially brutal,savage creatures provides the central theme of the novel
  • 26. • the attitude of the speaker/narrator as established through the language of the pieceEx. The poem has a bitter tone, revealing the speaker‟s anger and resentment.