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Literary terms with examples



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  • 1. HN English 918 September 2012
  • 2. Where future events in a story, or perhaps theoutcome, are suggested by the author before theyhappen.
  • 3. A device that allows the writer to present eventsthat happened before the time of the currentnarration.
  • 4. The quality of a literary work that makes thereader or audience uncertain or tense about theoutcome of the events.From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: “I knew it,” he murmured.“There’s summat in here that shouldn’t be.” “A werewolf?” Harry suggested. “That wasn’t no werewolf an’ itwasn’ no unicorn, neither,” said Hagridgrimly. “Right, follow me, but careful,now.” They walked more slowly, earsstraining for the faintest sound. Suddenly,in a clearing ahead, something moved.
  • 5. A recurring important idea or image, which can beexpressed as a single word or a fragmentaryphrase.
  • 6. A tangible object which symbolizes or representsan idea or feeling.
  • 7. Language which describes something indetail, using words to substitute for and createsensory stimulation.From The Hobbit:It had a perfectly round door like aporthole, painted green, with a shinyyellow brass knob in the exact middle. Thedoor opened on a tube-shaped hall like atunnel: a very comfortable tunnel withoutsmoke, with paneled walls, and floors tiledand carpeted, provided with polishedchairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hatsand coats. . . . The best rooms were all onthe left-hand side (going in), for these werethe only ones to have windows, deep-setround windows looking over his garden,and meadows beyond, sloping down to theriver.
  • 8. A direct comparison where one thing or ideasubstitutes for another.Types of metaphors:  Direct  Indirect/Implied  Extended
  • 9. When an author assigns human characteristics oremotions to inanimate objects or abstractconcepts.
  • 10. An indirect comparison where one thing or idea isdescribed as being similar to another.From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’sStone:. . . There was a face, the most terribleface Harry had ever seen. It was chalkwhite with glaring red eyes and slits fornostrils, like a snake.
  • 11. The author’s attitude, stated or implied, toward asubject.