Literary DevicesWe have looked at the basic elements of the short story: setting, character, conflict,point of view, plot, and theme. In addition to considering the elements of a shortstory we need to understand the various literary devices that an author may use.These literary devices guide our interpretation and help us to better understand thestory’s complexities and overall meaning. They are IRONY, SYMBOL, FLASHBACKand FORESHADOWING.IRONYThere are several types of irony in literature. Three main types are verbal irony,dramatic irony, and situational irony.Verbal Irony: This is the contrast between what is said and what is meant. In otherwords, sarcasm.Dramatic Irony: This is the contrast between what the character thinks to be trueand what we (the reader) know to be true. Sometimes as we read we are placed inthe position of knowing more than what one character knows. Because we knowsomething the character does not, we read to discover how the character will reactwhen he or she learns the truth of the situation. Think: soap operas!A form of dramatic irony in which a character who is about to become a victim ofdisaster uses words that have one meaning to him and quite another to the spectatoror those who are aware of the real situation is called TRAGIC IRONY. In someinstances the character may not be about to become a victim, but rather theirstatement is based on partial knowledge or misunderstanding, and the spectator isaware of the truth of the situation.Situational Irony: This is the most common in literature. It is the contrast betweenwhat happens and what was expected (or what would seem appropriate). Because itemerges from the events and circumstances of a story it is often more subtle andeffective than verbal or dramatic irony.SYMBOLISMA character, an action, a setting, or an object representing something else can be asymbol. Most often, the symbol in a story is an object that represents its owner’scharacter or situation, or both. For example, a secluded, near-empty apartmentmight represent the alienation and emotional emptiness of the tenant. Symbols areusually recognizable by the amount of emphasis they receive. Objects intended tobe viewed as symbolic may be described in detail, be included in the title, be referredto frequently, or emphasized at the beginning or ending of the story. When werecognize a symbol and understand its meaning or meanings we see more clearlywhat the writer chose to emphasize.
FLASHBACK: This is a writers’ technique in which the author interrupts the plot ofthe story to recreate an incident of an earlier time (goes back in time; like giving thereader a memory). This device is often used to provide additional information to thereader.FORESHADOWING: This is a writers’ technique in which the author provides cluesor hints as to what is going to happen later in the story. It’s like the music in a scarymovie when we know that something bad is about to happen.Source: http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/engramja/litdevic.html#IRONYAccessed on: 01 March 2012Literary Analysis: Using Elements of LiteratureAllegory - narrative form in which the characters are representative of some largerhumanistic trait (i.e. greed, vanity, or bravery) and attempt to convey some largerlesson or meaning to life. Although allegory was originally and traditionally characterbased, modern allegories tend to parallel story and theme. William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily- the decline of the Old South Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- man’s struggle to contain his inner primal instincts District 9- South African Apartheid X Men- the evils of prejudice Harry Potter- the dangers of seeking “racial purity”Character - representation of a person, place, or thing performing traditionally humanactivities or functions in a work of fiction Protagonist - The character the story revolves around. Antagonist - A character or force that opposes the protagonist. Minor character - Often provides support and illuminates the protagonist. Static character - A character that remains the same. Dynamic character - A character that changes in some important way. Characterization - The choices an author makes to reveal a character’s personality, such as appearance, actions, dialogue, and motivations.Look for: Connections, links, and clues between and about characters. Ask yourselfwhat the function and significance of each character is. Make this determination
based upon the characters history, what the reader is told (and not told), and whatother characters say about themselves and others.Connotation - implied meaning of word. BEWARE! Connotations can change overtime. confidence/ arrogance mouse/ rat cautious/ scared curious/ nosey frugal/ cheapDenotation - dictionary definition of a wordDiction - word choice that both conveys and emphasizes the meaning or theme of apoem through distinctions in sound, look, rhythm, syllable, letters, and definitionFigurative language - the use of words to express meaning beyond the literalmeaning of the words themselves Metaphor - contrasting to seemingly unalike things to enhance the meaning of a situation or theme without using like or as o You are the sunshine of my life. Simile - contrasting to seemingly unalike things to enhance the meaning of a situation or theme using like or as o What happens to a dream deferred, does it dry up like a raisin in the sun Hyperbole - exaggeration o I have a million things to do today. Personification - giving non-human objects human characteristics o America has thrown her hat into the ring, and will be joining forces with the British.Foot - grouping of stressed and unstressed syllables used in line or poem Iamb - unstressed syllable followed by stressed o Made famous by the Shakespearian sonnet, closest to the natural rhythm of human speech How do I love thee? Let me count the ways Spondee - stressed stressed o Used to add emphasis and break up monotonous rhythm Blood boil, mind-meld, well- loved Trochee - stressed unstressed o Often used in children’s rhymes and to help with memorization, gives poem a hurried feeling
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, Anapest - unstressed unstressed stressed o Often used in longer poems or “rhymed stories” Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house Dactyls - stressed unstressed unstressed o Often used in classical Greek or Latin text, later revived by the Romantics, then again by the Beatles, often thought to create a heartbeat or pulse in a poem Picture yourself in a boat on a river, With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.The iamb stumbles through my books; trochees rush and tumble; while anapest runslike a hurrying brook; dactyls are stately and classical.Imagery - the author’s attempt to create a mental picture (or reference point) in themind of the reader. Remember, though the most immediate forms of imagery arevisual, strong and effective imagery can be used to invoke an emotional, sensational(taste, touch, smell etc) or even physical response.Meter - measure or structuring of rhythm in a poemPlot - the arrangement of ideas and/or incidents that make up a story Foreshadowing - When the writer clues the reader in to something that will eventually occur in the story; it may be explicit (obvious) or implied (disguised). Suspense - The tension that the author uses to create a feeling of discomfort about the unknown Conflict - Struggle between opposing forces. Exposition - Background information regarding the setting, characters, plot. Rising Action - The process the story follows as it builds to its main conflict Crisis - A significant turning point in the story that determines how it must end Resolution/Denouement - The way the story turns out.Point of View - pertains to who tells the story and how it is told. The point of view ofa story can sometimes indirectly establish the authors intentions. Narrator - The person telling the story who may or may not be a character in the story. First-person - Narrator participates in action but sometimes has limited knowledge/vision. Second person - Narrator addresses the reader directly as though she is part of the story. (i.e. “You walk into your bedroom. You see clutter everywhere and…”)
Third Person (Objective) - Narrator is unnamed/unidentified (a detached observer). Does not assume characters perspective and is not a character in the story. The narrator reports on events and lets the reader supply the meaning. Omniscient - All-knowing narrator (multiple perspectives). The narrator knows what each character is thinking and feeling, not just what they are doing throughout the story. This type of narrator usually jumps around within the text, following one character for a few pages or chapters, and then switching to another character for a few pages, chapters, etc. Omniscient narrators also sometimes step out of a particular character’s mind to evaluate him or her in some meaningful way.Rhythm - often thought of as a poem’s timing. Rhythm is the juxtaposition ofstressed and unstressed beats in a poem, and is often used to give the reader a lensthrough which to move through the work. (See meter and foot)Setting - the place or location of the action. The setting provides the historical andcultural context for characters. It often can symbolize the emotional state ofcharacters. Example – In Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, the crumbling oldmansion reflects the decaying state of both the family and the narrator’s mind. Wealso see this type of emphasis on setting in Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice.Speaker - the person delivering the poem. Remember, a poem does not have tohave a speaker, and the speaker and the poet are not necessarily one in the same.Structure (fiction) - The way that the writer arranges the plot of a story.Look for: Repeated elements in action, gesture, dialogue, description, as well asshifts in direction, focus, time, place, etc.Structure(poetry) - The pattern of organization of a poem. For example, aShakespearean sonnet is a 14-line poem written in iambic pentameter. Because thesonnet is strictly constrained, it is considered a closed or fixed form. An open or freeform poem has looser form, or perhaps one of the author’s invention, but it isimportant to remember that these poems are not necessarily formless.Symbolism - when an object is meant to be representative of something or an ideagreater than the object itself. Cross - representative of Christ or Christianity Bald Eagle - America or Patriotism Owl - wisdom or knowledge Yellow - implies cowardice or rot
Tone - the implied attitude towards the subject of the poem. Is it hopeful, pessimistic,dreary, worried? A poet conveys tone by combining all of the elements listed aboveto create a precise impression on the reader.Source: http://www.roanestate.edu/owl/ElementsLit.htmlAbridge- To reduce the scope; to shorten by means of the omission or words withoutsacrificing their meaningAccent- in poetry, the vocal force or emphasis placed on a syllable or word. Theregular, orderly repetition of accent contributes to the poetic quality of writing andfixes the rhythm of the line.Acronym- A word formed from the initial letters or syllables of other words; forexample, radar (Radio Detecting and Ranging)Action- The events that take place in a work of literature. In drama, stage actionrefers to any event that occurs on the stage. The action of a novel, short story ornarrative poem is usually both external and internal. External action comprises thosephysical events that actually occur in relation to the characters, actions that affectthem or in which they participate. Internal action refers to a character’s thoughts andfeelings as they are reported by the authorActs- Divisions of plays or operas. On the contemporary stage, the three-act play ismost common.
Adage- a proverb or wise saying made familiar by long useAdaptation- 1) The rewriting of a work written in a different genre or medium than itwas originally written. For example, turning a novel into a play would be anADAPTATION 2) the translation of a work from one language to anotherAddress- a speech or written statement, serious in intent and somewhat formal instyle. Frequently, for example, the political head of a nation gives an address to thecountry’s citizens.Allegory- Prose or verse in which the objects, events or people are presentedsymbolically, so that the story conveys a meaning other than and deeper than theactual incident or characters described. Often, the form is used to teach a morallesson.Alliteration- The repetition of the initial letter or sound in two or more closelyassociated words or stressed syllables. Alliteration is not restricted to poetry.Allusion- A figure of speech making casual reference to a famous historical orliterary figure or event.Ambiguity- The expression of an idea in such a way that more than one meaning ispossibleAnachronism- The utilization of an event, a person, an object, language in a timewhen that event, person, or object was not in existence.Analogy- An extended comparison showing the similarities between two things.Anagram- A word or phrase made by transposing the letters of another word orphrase.Example: cask in an anagram of sackArgument- A form of discourse in which reason is used to influence or changepeople’s ideas or actionsAside- Words spoken by a character in a play, usually in an undertone, not intendedto be heard by other characters on stage.Assonance- The repetition of similar vowel sounds, usually close together, in agroup of words.Autobiography- A person’s account of his or her own life.
Ballad- A story told in verse and usually meant to be sung. The earliest ballads,known as folk ballads or popular ballads, were composed anonymously andtransmitted orally for generations.Biography- An account of a person’s life written by another person.Blank Verse- Verse written in unrhymed iambic pentameter, where each line usuallycontains ten syllables and every other syllable is stressed.Catastrophe- The tragic denouement, or unknotting of a play or story.Characterization- The personality a character displays; also, the means by which anauthor reveals that personalityCharacters- Persons-or animals, things, or natural forces presented as person-appearing in a short story, novel, play, or narrative poem.Climax- That point of greatest emotional intensity, interest, or suspense in anarrative.Comedy- In general, a literary work that is amusing and ends happily.Complication- A series of difficulties forming the central action in a narrative.Conflict- A struggle between two opposing forces or characters in a short story,novel, play, or narrative poem. Conflict can be internal or external, and it can takeone of these forms: 1. Person against another person 2. Person against society 3. A person against nature 4. Two elements or ideas struggling for mastery within a person 5. Person against supernaturalConnotation- The emotion or association that a word or phrase may arouse.Connotation is distinct from denotation, which is the literal or dictionary meaning of aword or phrase.Conventions- Unrealistic devices or procedures that the reader (or audience) agreesto accept.Couplet- Two consecutive lines of poetry that rhymeCrisis or Turning Point- A point of great tension in a narrative that determines howthe action will come out.
Denotation- The literal or "dictionary" meaning of a wordDescription- Any careful detailing of a person, place, thing, or event. Description isone of the for major forms of discourse. Descriptions re-create sensory impressions:sights, sounds, smells, textures, tastes.Dialect- A representation of the speech patterns of a particular region or socialgroup. Dialect, naturally, changes from location to locationDiction- A writer’s choice of words, particularly for clarity, effectiveness, andprecision. A writer’s diction can be formal or informal, abstract or concrete. Inattempting to choose the "right word", writers must think of their subject and theiraudience. Words that are appropriate in informal dialogue would not always beappropriate in a formal essay.Drama- A story acted out, usually on a stage, by actors and actresses who take theparts of specific characters. Dramas are usually divided into two types, those beingtragedies (serious play in which the central characters meet an unhappy ordisastrous end) and comedies (humorous plays that end happily). The stories aretold through dialogue and stage directions, which tell the actors how they shouldmove and react to certain happenings.Dramatic Irony- A device whereby the audience (or reader) understands more of asituation or of what is being said than the character is aware of. Such speech oraction has great significance to the audience or reader and little significance to thecharacter speaking or performing the action.Dramatic Poetry- Poetry in which one or more characters speakDynamic Character- A character who undergoes an important and basic change inpersonality or outlook.Epic- A long narrative poem that relates the deeds of a hero. Epics incorporate myth,legend, folk tale, and history, and usually reflect the values of the society from whichthey originate.Epithet- A descriptive adjective or phrase used to characterize someone orsomething.Essay- A piece of prose writing, usually short, that deals with a subject in a limitedway and expresses a particular point of view.Exposition- The kind of writing that is intending primarily to present information
Fable- A brief story or poem that is told to present a moral, or practical lesson. Thecharacters in fables are often animals who speak or act like human beings.Falling Action- All of the action in a play that follows the turning point. The fallingaction leads to the resolution or conclusion of the play.Farce- A type of comedy based on a farfetched humorous situation, often withridiculous or stereotyped characters.Fiction- Anything that is invented or imagined, especially a prose narrative. Althoughfiction may be based on actual events or personal experiences, its characters andsettings are invented. Even if a story is set in an actual place and involvesrecognizable characters or details, we understand the story itself to be fictitious.Figurative Language- Language that is not intended to be interpreted in a literalsense. Figurative language always makes use of a comparison between differentthings. By appealing to the imagination, figurative language provides new ways oflooking at the world.Figure of Speech- A term applied to a specific kind of figurative language, such as ametaphor or simile. Everyday language abounds with many different figures ofspeech, in which we say one thing and mean another.Flashback- A scene in a short story, novel, play, or narrative poem that interrupts theaction to show an event that happened at an earlier time.Foil- A character who sets off another character by contrast. For example, having anangry character talking to a happy one.Folk Ballad- A story told in verse that is by an unknown author and meant to besung.Folk Tale- An account, legend, or story that is passed along orally from generation togeneration. Folk talks are of unknown authorship.Foreshadowing- The use of hints or clues in a narrative to suggest what action is tocome. Foreshadowing helps to build suspense in a story because it suggests what isabout to happen.Framework Story- A narrative that contains another narrative. Both the frameworkstory and the inner story add meaning to one another, and one is usually important tothe outcome of the other. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is a famous example ofseveral stories within a story.
Free Verse- Poetry that has no fixed meter or pattern and that depends on naturalspeech rhythms. Free verse may rhyme or not rhyme; its lines may be of differentlengths; and like natural speech, it may switch suddenly from one rhythm to another.Heroic Couplet- Two consecutive lines of rhyming poetry that are written in iambicpentameter and that contain a complete thought. In a heroic couplet, there is usuallyone pause at the end of the first line, and another heavier pause at the end of thesecond line.Homeric Simile- An extended comparison that mounts in excitement and usuallyends in a climax. The Homeric simile is also known as the epic simile.Iambic Pentameter- The most common verse line in English poetry. It consists offive verse feet, with each foot an iamb-that is, an unstressed syllable followed by astressed syllable. Shakespeare’s plays are written almost exclusively in iambicpentameter.Imagery- Language that appeals to any sense or any combination of the senses.Inversion- A reversal of the usual order or words to receive some sort of emphasis.Irony- A contrast or an incongruity between what is stated and what is really meant,or between what is expected to happen and what actually does happen. Two kinds ofirony are: 1) verbal irony, in which a writer or speaker says one thing and meanssomething entirely different; and 2) dramatic irony in which a reader or audiencemember perceives something that a character in the story does notLiteral Language- A fact or idea stated directly. When a writer intends something tobe understood exactly as it is written, he or she is using literal language.Literary Ballad- A story told in verse in which a known writer imitates a folk ballad.Lyric Poetry- Poetry that expresses a speaker’s personal thoughts or feelings. Theelegy, ode, and sonnet are forms of the lyric.Metaphor- A comparison between two unlike things with the intent of giving addedmeaning to one of them. Metaphor is one of the most important forms of figurativelanguage. Unlike a simile, a metaphor does not use a connective word such as like,as, than, or resembles to state a comparison.Meter- A generally regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry.Monologue- A long, uninterrupted speech (in a narrative or drama) that is spoken inthe presence of other characters. Unlike a soliloquy and most aides, a monologue isheard by other characters.
Narration- The kind of writing or speaking that tells a story.Narrative Poetry- Poetry that tells a story. One kind of narrative poem is the epic, along poem which sets form the heroic ideals of a particular society.Narrator- One who narrates or tells, a story. A writer may choose to have a story toldby a first person narrator, someone who is either a major or minor character. Or, awriter may choose to use a third person narrator, someone who is not in the story atall. Third person narrators are often omniscient, or "all knowing"- that is, they are ableto enter into the minds of all the characters in the story.Nonfiction- Any prose narrative that tells about things as they actually happened orthat posses factual information about something. Autobiography and biography arethe most common forms.Novel- A fictional narrative in prose, generally longer than a short story. The author isnot restricted by historical facts but rather is free to create fictional personalities in afictional world.Octave- The first eight lines of a Petrarchan (or Italian) sonnet.Onomatopoeia- The use of a word whose sound in some degree imitates orsuggests its meaning. The names of some birds are onomatopoetic, imitating the cryof the bird named. For instance, cuckoo, whippoorwill, owl, crow. Parallelism- The use of phrases, clauses, or sentences that are similar orcomplementary in structure or in meaning.Paraphrase- A summary or recapitulation of a piece of literature. A paraphrase doesnot enhance a literary work. It merely tells in the simplest form what happened.Personification- A figure of speech in which an animal, an object, a natural force, oran idea is given personality, or described as if it were human.Persuasion- The type of speaking or writing that is intended to make its audienceadopt a certain opinion or pursue an action or do both.Petrarchan Sonnet- A fourteen-line lyric poem consisting of two parts: the octave (orfirst eight lines) and the sestet (or last six lines). The Petrarchan, or Italian sonnet,originated in Italy in thirteenth century and was much used by the Italian poetFrancesco Petraarch. Its rhyme scheme is abbaabba cdecde.Plot- The sequence of events or happenings in a literary work. Plots may be simpleor complex, loosely constructed or close-knit. But every plot is made up a series ofincidents that are related to one another.
Poetry- Traditional poetry is language arranged in lines, with a regular rhythm andoften a definite rhyme scheme. Nontraditional poetry does away with regular rhythmand rhyme, although is usually is set up in lines. The richness of its suggestions, thesounds of its words, and the strong feelings evoked by its line are often said to bewhat distinguish poetry from other forms of literature. Poetry is difficult to define, butmost people know when they read it.Point of View- The vantage point from which a narrative is told.Pun- Usually, the humorous use of a word or phrase to suggest two or moremeanings at the same time.Quatrain- Usually a stanza or poem of four lines. However, a quatrain may also beany group of four lines. Unified by a rhyme scheme. Quatrains usually follow anabab, abba, or abcb rhyme scheme.Refrain- A word, phrase, line, or group of lines repeated regularly in a poem, usuallyat the end of each stanza.Repetition- The return of a word, phrase, stanza form, or effect in any form ofliterature. Repetition is an effective literary device that may bring comfort, suggestorder, or add special meaning to a piece of literature.Resolution- The outcome of the conflict in a play or story. The resolution concludesthe falling action.Rhyme- The repetition of sounds in two or more words or phrases that usuallyappear close to each other in a poem. For example: river/shiver, song/long,leap/deep. If the rhyme occurs at the ends of lines, it is called end rhyme.Rhyme Scheme- The pattern of rhymes in a poem. The rhyme scheme is indicatedby a different letter of the alphabet for each new rhyme of the stanza.Rhythm- The arrangement of stressed an unstressed syllables into a pattern.Rhythm is most apparent in poetry, though it is part of all good writing.Rising Action- Those events in a play that lead to a turning point in the action.Satire- A kind of writing that holds up to ridicule or contempt the weaknesses andwrongdoing of individuals, groups, institution, or humanity in general.Sestet- The last six lines of a Petrarchan (or Italian) sonnet. The sestet, from theLatin word for six, usually has a rhyme scheme of cdecde. A thought or idea that isintroduced in the first eight lines, octave, of the poem is sometimes further developedin the sestet.
Setting- The time and place of action in a narrative. In short stories, novels, poetry,and nonfiction, setting is generally created by description. In drama, setting is usuallyestablished by stage directions and dialogue. Setting can be of great importance inestablishing not only physical background but also mood or emotional intensity. Inturn, the mood contributes to the plot and theme of the narrative.Shakespearean Sonnet- A fourteen-line lyric poem consisting of three quatrains(four line stanza) and a concluding couplet (two rhyming lines). The Shakespearean,or English, sonnet was NOT invented by William Shakespeare, but is named for himbecause he is its most famous practitioner. Its rhyme scheme is abab cdcd efef gg.Short Story- Narrative prose fiction that is shorter than a novel. Short stories vary inlength. Some are no longer than five hundred words; other run to forty or fiftythousand words. An extended short story is sometimes referred to as a novelette, orwhen slightly longer, as a novella. The major difference between a short story andlonger fictional forms, such as the novel, is that the main literary elements-plot,setting, characterization- are used with greater compression in the short story than inthe longer forms.Simile- A comparison made between two dissimilar things through the use of aspecific word of comparison such as Like, as, than, or resembles. The comparisonmust be between two essentially unlike things.Soliloquy- A speech, usually lengthy, in which a character, alone on stage,expresses his or her thoughts aloud. The soliloquy is a very useful dramatic device,as it allows the dramatist to convey a character’s most intimate thoughts and feelingsdirectly to the audience.Sonnet- A fourteen-line lyric poem, usually written in rhymed iambic pentameter (inlines of ten syllables with a stress on every other syllable). Sonnets vary in structureand rhyme scheme, but are generally of two types: the Petrarchan, or Italian, sonnetand the Shakespearean, or English sonnet. Sonnets usually attempt to express asingles theme or idea.Speaker- The voice in a poem. The speaker may be the poet or a character createdby the poet. The speaker may also be a thing or an animal.Stanza- A group of lines forming a unit in a poem. Many stanzas have a fixedpattern-that is, the same number of lines and the same rhyme scheme." A stanzamay be as short as the couplet, two rhyming lines. A favorite form of many Englishpoets has been the heroic couplet, two rhyming lines of iambic pentameter. Thetriplet is a stanza of three lines often with one rhyme. The quatrain is a four linestanza with many patterns of rhyme and rhythm. In ballads, the second and fourthlines are usually rhymed while the first and third lines are unrhymed.
Static Character- A character who remains the same throughout a narrative. Staticcharacters do not develop or change beyond the way in which they are firstpresented.Subplot- Secondary action that is interwoven with the main action in a play or story.Several subplots are not uncommon in a novel. The effect of one or more subplotsmaybe to provide some comic relief from a more serious main plot, or to create acertain atmosphere or mood, such as suspense or intrigue.Suspense- That quality of a literary work that makes the reader or audienceuncertain or tense about the outcome of events. Suspense makes the reader ask"What will happen next?". Suspense is greatest when it focuses attention on asympathetic character. Thus, the most familiar kind of suspense involves a characterhanging form the lee of a tall building, or tied to a railroad tracks as a trainapproaches.Syllabus- An outline or abstract containing the major points included in a book, acourse of lectures, an argument or a program of study.Symbol- Any object, person, place, or action that has a meaning in itself and thatalso stands for something larger than it does, such as a quality, an attitude, a belief,or a value. For instance, a rose is often a symbol love and beauty while a skull isoften a symbol of death.Synecdoche- A form of the metaphor in which the part mentioned signifies thewhole. A good synecdoche is based on an important part of the whole, the part mostdirectly associated with the subject under discussion.Syntax- The arrangement of words to form phrases, clauses and sentences;sentence construction. Syntax is also both the patterns of the aforementionedarrangements and the function of a word, phrase, or clause within a sentence.Synthesis- The combination of two or more elements into a unified whole. Synthesisis the opposite of analysis, which involves detailed consideration of the separateelements or parts of a work. Synthesis is also the outcome of the dialectic process:thesis and antithesis combine to produce a synthesis.Tale- A simple narrative. A tale is a more general term than a short story, since thelatter is applied to a narrative that follows a fairly technical pattern, and the formerdenotes any short narrative.Terza Rima- A three-line stanza form borrowed from the Italian poets. The rhymescheme is: aba, bcb, cdc, ded, etc.Tetrameter- A line of verse containing four feet
Tetrapody- A group of words or a line of verse containing four feetTheme- The main idea or the basic meaning of a literary work. The theme of a workis not the same as the works’ subject. Not all literary works can be said to express atheme. Theme generally is not a concern in those works that are told primarily forentertainment; it is of importance in those literary works that comment on or presentsome insight about the meaning of life. In some literary works the theme is expresseddirectly, but more often, the theme is implicit-that is, it must be dug out and thoughtabout. A simple theme can often be stated in a single sentence. But sometimes aliterary work is rich and complex, and a paragraph or even an essay is needed tostate the theme.Thesis- An attitude or position on a problem taken by a writer or speaker with thepurpose of proving or supporting it.Tome- A volume forming part of a larger workTone- The attitude a writer takes toward his or her subject, characters, and readers.Through tone, a writer can amuse, anger, or shock the reader. Tone is createdthrough the choice of words and details.Tragedy- In general, a literary work in which the central character meets an unhappyor disastrous end. Unlike comedy, which often portrays a central character of weaknature, tragedy often involves the problems of a central character of dignified orheroic stature. Through a related series of events, this main character, the tragic heroor heroine, is brought to a final downfall. The causes of the character’s downfall vary.In traditional dramas, the cause is often an error in judgement or a combination ofinexplicable outside forces that overwhelm the character. In modern dramas, thecauses range from moral or psychological weaknesses to the evils of society. Thetragic hero or heroine, though defeated, usually gains a measure of wisdom and/orself-awareness. There may be more than one central character in a tragedy.Transition- In a piece of writing, the passing from one subject or division of acomposition to another. A good prose style accomplishes transition betweensentences; paragraphs and chapters by proceeding smoothly and logically from onepoint to the next, so that the relationships appear clear and natural.Triad- A group of three. More specifically, the strophe, antistrophe, and epode of thePindaric ode.Trilogy- A literary composition, usually a novel or a play, written in three parts, eachof which is a complete unit in itself.Trimeter- A line of verse consisting of three feet.
Tristich- A stanza of three lines.Trochee- A metrical foot consisting of an accented and an unaccented syllable, as inthe word "happy". The trochee is often used as the meter for the supernatural.Understatement- A form of irony in which something is intentionally represented asless than it is in fact.Utopia- A place in which social, legal, and political justice and perfect harmony exist.Vernacular- The domestic or native language of the people of a particular country orgeographical area.Verse- A line of poetry. "Verse" is a general term for metrical composition.Verse Drama or Verse Play- A play written mostly or entirely in verse. Verse playsare often written in blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter).Vice- An evil habit or wicked tendency present in characters in a literary work orpoem.Whimsical- A critical term for writing what is fanciful or expresses odd notions. Xanaduism- Research to discover the sources that have contributed to a work ofart.Xenophanic- A term used to describe a wandering poet who writes witty, satiricalverse. Xenophanes was a Greek poet who lived in the sixth century B.C., traveledwidely throughout the Greek world and wrote verse satirizing Homer’s mythology.Yarn- A tale or story. Yarns are usually improbable and most likely exaggerated.Zeitgeist- The characteristic thought, preoccupation or spirit of a particular period.