Literary work in which characters, events, objects, and ideas have
secondary or symbolic meanings
One of the most popular allegories of the 20th Century was George
Orwell's Animal Farm, about farm animals vying for power. On the
surface, it is an entertaining story that even children can enjoy.
Beneath the surface, it is the story of ruthless Soviet
Repetition of initial consonant sounds
But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound into
saucy doubts and fears. –
Reference to a historical event or to a mythical or
Describing someone as a "Romeo" makes an allusion
to the famous young lover in Romeo and Juliet by
A word, phrase, or sentence formed from another by
rearranging its letters: “Angel” is an anagram of
Example: "President Saddam Hussein" anagrams to
"Human disaster dispensed".
Metrical foot composed pf two short syllables followed by
one long one
“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the
house” (Clement Clarke Moore)
Repetition of a word, phrase, or clause at the
beginning of word groups occurring one after the
For everything there is a season . . . a time to be born,
and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up
what is planted.
A little story, often amusing, inserted in an essay or a
speech to help reinforce the thesis
A character in a writing who goes against the hero
Provides the story’s conflict
Placement of contrasting or opposing words, phrases,
clauses, or sentences side by side
I am tall; you are short.
The world will little note nor long remember what we say here,
but it can never forget what they did here.
–Abraham Lincoln, "Gettysburg Address"
Not the punctuation mark
Addressing an abstraction or a thing, present or
absent; addressing an absent entity or person;
addressing a deceased person.
Frailty, thy name is woman.
Also known as imperfect rhyme, near rhyme, slant
rhyme, or oblique rhyme.
A term used for words in a rhyming pattern that have
some kind of sound correspondence but are not
perfect rhymes. Often words at the end of lines at first
LOOK like they will rhyme but are not pronounced in
Emily Dickinson’s poems are famous for her use of
A universally understood symbol or termor pattern
of behavior, a prototype upon which others are
copied, patterned, or emulated
Sometimes noted as stereotype
The Hero The Trickster
The Wise Old Man The Devil/Satan
Repetition of vowel sounds
preceded and followed by different
consonant sounds. Use of "bite"
and "like" in a line of poetry would
There are no tricks in plain and
simple faith. –
The omission of conjunctions in
sentence constructions in which
they would usually be used
Someone’s opinions or
something, especially as
shown by their behavior
Song or poem, especially
a traditional one or one in
a traditional style, telling
a story in a number of
short regular stanzas,
often with a refrain
A four line stanza (quatrain)
Consisting of alternating four
and three stress lines.
Usually only the second and
fourth lines rhyme
Often used in hymns
A type of poetry
Has a regular meter, but
often use this writing
Definition: A mix of annoying sounds;
Harsh letters/syllables arranged by a
poet to make the poem sound angry
A pause or interruption in a line of verse
Usually marked in the poem by a comma, a semicolon,
a full stop, a dash.
Used to make a specific rhyming pattern or a
significant portion of the poem.
Picture or description that extremely exaggerates the
peculiarities or defects of a person or thing
Means to “seize the day” or enjoy the day
Often used as a theme in literature
Characteristic of ordinary or familiar conversation
rather than formal speech or writing
In literature, fanciful or unusual image in which apparently
dissimilar things are shown to have a relationship
Petrarchan conceit, used in love poetry, exploits a particular set of images for
comparisons with the despairing lover and his unpitying but idolized mistress
the lover is a ship on a stormy sea, and his mistress "a cloud of dark disdain"; or
else the lady is a sun whose beauty and virtue shine on her lover from a distance
Metaphysical conceit is characteristic of seventeenth-century writers influenced by
John Donne, and became popular again in this century after the revival of the
metaphysical poets. This type of conceit draws upon a wide range of knowledge, from
the commonplace to only be understood or meant for the select few who have special
knowledge or interest
John Donne's comparison of two souls with two bullets in "The Dissolution"
• An association that comes along with a
• Relate not to a word's actual meaning but
rather to the ideas or qualities that are
implied by that word.
The word "snake" simply denotes a
reptile. But it has the connotation of
someone who can not be trusted.
The repetition of the same consonant two
or more times in short succession
A pair of successive lines of verse
Decorator Hermit Crab
There was a little hermit crab
Who thought his tank was rather drab
At first he didn't know what to do
Then decorated with pink and blue.
Now he is no longer crabby
With his new home, he's rather happy!
Metrical foot consisting of one
long and two short syllables or
of one stressed and two
unstressed syllables (as in
Word that names or signifies something
specific; a word’s literal meaning
The “dictionary definition”
The word "snake" simply denotes a reptile. But
it has the connotation of someone who can not
In French it means the "unraveling" or "unknotting" of
The outcome or resolution of the plot, occurring after
A regional or social variety of a language
distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or
vocabulary, especially a way of speaking that differs
from the standard variety of the language
South: "Y'all“ South: “Howdy”
North: "You guys“ North: “Hello”
South: "Fixin' to“ South: “Twixt”
North: "About to“ North: “Between”
Style of speaking or writing as dependent
upon choice of words
When a character speaks
out loud that reveals
his/her thoughts are
addressed to the reader
or a presumed listener.
A somber poem or song
that praises or laments
Rhymes that occur at the
end of a verse.
The continuation from one line or couplet of a poem to
the next with no pause.
This you couldn’t believe. It was a man
Who didn’t think for himself, and never had a plan.
An epic is a narrative poem that tells the story of a
character who has heroic traits. In the lengthened
poem, the hero takes on values of a society.
An example of an epic is The Odyssey by Homer.
Term used in argumentative/persuasive writing
Ethos (Greek for 'character') refers to the
trustworthiness or credibility of the writer or speaker.
Ethos is often conveyed through tone and style of the
message and through the way the writer or speaker
refers to differing views. It can also be affected by the
writer's reputation as it exists independently from the
message--his or her expertise in the field, his or her
previous record or integrity, and so forth. The impact
of ethos is often called the argument's 'ethical appeal'
or the 'appeal from credibility.'
A euphony is a series of words that are pleasing to the
ear. They are usually in harmony.
An exposition is when the reader is exposed to the
background needed to understand the novel.
It explains the setting, characters, and the problems.
An extended metaphor is different from a normal
metaphor because it is explained in a few lines with
more than one example.
A brief story illustrating human tendencies
through animal characters. Unlike the parables,
fables often include talking animals or animated
objects as the principal characters. The
interaction of these animals or objects reveals
general truths about human nature.
“The Tortoise and the Hare” is an example of a
The sequence of events that follow the climax and end
in the resolution
A farce is a form of low comedy designed to provoke
laughter through highly exaggerated caricatures of
people in improbable or silly situations.
Traits of farce include
(1) physical bustle such as slapstick
(2) sexual misunderstandings and mix-ups
(3) broad verbal humor such as puns
A method of narration in which present action is
temporarily interrupted so that the reader can
witness past events--usually in the form of a
character's memories, dreams, narration, or even
Flashback allows an author to fill in the reader
about a place or a character, or it can be used to
delay important details until just before a
• The use of hints and clues in order to suggest an
upcoming plot event
• Very proper choice of words and phrases following
the rules of grammar and etiquette closely. Used
to convey a lofty tone
Form of poetry characterized by its natural
rhythms and cadence rather than having a fixed
• Term used to classify forms of literature into
• E.g. novel, essay, comedy, etc
Is an intentional exaggeration used for effect.
“My sister uses so much makeup, she has to use a
sandblaster to get it off at night”
of, relating to, consisting of, or using an iamb or
iambs (a foot of two syllables, the first short or
unstressed, the second long or stressed.)
The da-DUM of a human heartbeat is the most
common example of this rhythm
The use of vivid or figurative language to
represent objects, actions, or ideas.
“From the family tree of old school hip hop
Kick off your shoes and relax your socks
The rhymes will spread just like a pox
Cause the music is live like an electric shock”
(Latin)- In or into the middle of a sequence of
events, as in a literary narrative.
A murder story starts after the person is murdered.
The story then gradually reveals why and how the
murder took place.
Language that is not as structured or formal; it is more
like everyday speech.
Ex. Abbreviating words or
shortening them like T.V.
Using I, me, my, etc.
Rhyme that occurs within a line.
Ex. The cat sat on the mat.
An outcome of events or words contrary to what was,
or might have been, expected
There are three types: situational, dramatic, verbal
Ex. In 1912, the Titanic was said to
be unsinkable, but on its maiden
voyage, it sank.
Jargon is the special language of a certain group or
profession, such as psychological jargon, legal jargon,
or medical jargon.
Ex. An example of internet jargon
would be OMG or BTW.
“Juxtaposition” literally means to place side by side.
In a literary sense it has the same idea, but it is the act of
positioning close together words, phrases, or ideas in order to
compare or contrast.
The purpose of this literary device is to accentuate the
relationship between the two ideas and to create an insightful
“Wealth and poverty, guilt and grief, orange and apple, God and Satan;
let us settle ourselves and work and wedge our feet downward through
the mud and the slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and
delusion, and appearance..”
--Henry David Thoreau
Used in argumentative/persuasive writing
Logos (Greek for 'word') refers to the internal
consistency of the message--the clarity of the
claim, the logic of its reasons, and the
effectiveness of its supporting evidence. The
impact of logos on an audience is sometimes
called the argument's logical appeal.
A limited point of view only follows one character, in
either first or third person point of view.
Due to the limited view, the reader does not know
what the other characters are thinking and can only
follow the narrator.
A figure of speech, and also a form of irony, where an
understatement is expressed by negating the opposite.
“They aren’t the happiest people around” would be an
A song-like poem written mainly to express the
feelings of emotions or thought from a particular
Lyric poems are generally short and express vivid
imagination as well as emotion.
Comparing one thing to an unlike thing without using
like, as or than.
The assignment was a breeze.
Her home is a prison.
In verse and poetry, meter is a recurring
pattern of stressed (accented, or long)
and unstressed (unaccented, or short)
syllables in lines of a set length
That time | of year | thou mayst | in me | behold
iambic pentameter (5 iambs, 10 syllables)
Tell me | not in | mournful | numbers
trochaic tetrameter (4 trochees, 8 syllables)
A figure of speech in which something
closely related to an object is substituted
for the object itself.
• Ex.: The history department needs
new blood (instead of new teachers).
The atmosphere or feeling that the
reader experiences when reading a
Suggested by descriptive details
A recurring subject, theme, idea, etc. in
a literary work
Structural framework that underlies
the order and manner in which a
narrative is presented to a reader
A person who tells the story in a certain piece of
Poem written for a particular occasion, such as a
dedication, birthday, or victory
In ancient Greece, a lyric poem on a serious subject
that develops its theme with dignified language
intended to be sung
Omniscient" means "all-knowing."
An omniscient narrator can see and report everything.
The telling of the story can reveal actions performed
by any character, tell the thoughts of any character,
and show events from the perspective of any character.
The reader might be able to see inside the mind and
motivations of all the characters.
Figure of speech in which
(1) a word mimics a sound
(2) an arrangement of words in a rhythmic pattern
suggests a sound or an image
burp, varoom, oink, crackle, moo, hiss, gong, thud,
splash, zip, creak, boom, slurp, crunch, quack, twitter,
honk, hoot, squeak, buzz, and zoom
These two terms are closely related and often confused.
It’s like telling the difference between a crocodile and an
Follow the definitions and examples of these two terms to be
able to note the difference
Phrases that often contradict themselves
Almost always consist of at least two words
Look at the first word and then the second and see if they
mean two completely different things
Paradoxes are much, much different, in that they often
require many words, even a whole paragraph to explain them.
A self-contradictory and false proposition
"If there is an exception to every rule, then every rule must
have at least one exception; the exception to this one being
that it has no exception."
A short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some
truth, religious principle, or moral lesson
The Good Samaritan
Uses the same patterns of words to show that two or more
ideas have the same level of importance.
Usual way to join parallel structures is with the use of
coordinating conjunctions such as “and” or “or”.
A humorous or ironic imitation of a serious piece of
literature or writing
Weird Al Yankovich’s song “Eat It” poked fun at
Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”
Used in argumentative/persuasive writing
[P]athos (Greek for 'suffering' or 'experience') is often associated
with emotional appeal. But a better equivalent might be 'appeal
to the audience's sympathies and imagination.' An appeal to
pathos causes an audience not just to respond emotionally but to
identify with the writer's point of view--to feel what the writer
feels. In this sense, pathos evokes a meaning implicit in the verb
'to suffer'--to feel pain imaginatively.... Perhaps the most
common way of conveying a pathetic appeal is through narrative
or story, which can turn the abstractions of logic into something
palpable and present. The values, beliefs, and understandings of
the writer are implicit in the story and conveyed imaginatively to
the reader. Pathos thus refers to both the emotional and the
imaginative impact of the message on an audience, the power
with which the writer's message moves the audience to decision
A line of verse containing five metrical feet
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
....1.............. 2.................3..............4................ 5
the narrator of or a character in a literary work,
sometimes identified with the author
A figure of speech (generally considered a type of
metaphor) in which an inanimate object or abstraction
is given human qualities or abilities.
"Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping
the lead into the boxing gloves."
"Oreo: Milk’s favorite cookie."
The events that unfold in a story; the action
and direction of a story; the story line.
The leader character
A hero or heroine of a drama or other literary work
Stanza or poem of four lines, usually with alternate rhymes
Usually has a rhyme scheme, such as abab, abba, or abcb
The Mountain (Donna Brock)
The mountain frames the sky
As a shadow of an eagle flies by.
With clouds hanging at its edge
A climber proves his courage on its rocky ledge.
A literature movement that stressed the presentation
of life as it is, without embellishment or idealization
Chiefly concerned with the commonplaces of everyday
life among the middle and lower classes, where
character is a product of social factors and
environment is the integral element in the dramatic
Group of words repeated at key intervals in a poem
The Cruel Sister
There lived a lady by the North Sea shore,
Lay the bent to the bonny broom
Two daughters were the babes she bore.
Fa la la la la la la la la.
As one grew bright as is the sun,
Lay the bent to the bonny broom
So coal black grew the other one.
Fa la la la la la la la.
A question that is not expected to be answered.
“Do bears live in the woods?”
“Is the Pope Catholic?”
A pattern established by the arrangement of
rhymes in a stanza of a poem or a song.
FOR EXAMPLE: ABAB indicates a four line stanza
where the first and third lines rhyme, and the
second and fourth rhyme.
Bid me to weep,
While I have eyes to see.
And having none, yet I will keep.
A heart to weep for thee.
A continuous and reoccurring beat
Rhythm is most the most important element in
Shows significance in poems because poetry is
intense and sometimes emotional.
A series of events that lead to the climax of a
Usually the conflicts of the protagonist
- - - An ironic remark used to mock or taunt
“Oh, a sarcasm detector.
That’s a really useful
(Comic Book Guy, The Simpsons)
- - - A play, novel, etc. that uses irony to ridicule
Joseph Heller’s Catch-
22 ridicules things such
as war, military, and
- - - Identifying a poem’s rhyme and
Rhythms: Monometer, Dimeter, Trimeter,
Tetrameter, Pentameter, Hexameter,
Heptameter, or Octometer
Meters: Iambic, Anapest, Trochaic, Dactyl
A flaw in a literary work or film in which the author
relies on tear-jerking or heart-wrenching scenes rather
than writing talent or cinematic skill to evoke a
response in readers
a poem of six, six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy,
originally without rhyme, in which each stanza repeats the
end words of the lines of the first stanza, but in different
order, the envoy using the six words again, three in the
middle of the lines and three at the end.
“Homes” by Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
the locale or period in which the action of a novel, play,
film, etc., takes place
The foggy air made the malevolent mood of the night
carry out through the mysterious woods.
A verse shaped in a way that it works with the other
verses to make a physical object
Figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly
compared using “like” or “as”
Joseph’s cheeks turned red like the skin on an apple.
Recitation in a play in
which a character reveals
his thoughts to the
audience but not to other
characters in the play
Form of lyric poetry
invented in Italy that has 14
lines with a specific rhyme
Person who tells the story
to the audience
Term usually associated
Lines that form a division or unit of a poem
It is like a paragraph of a poem
Character who thinks or acts according to certain
unvarying patterns simply because of his or her racial,
ethnic, religious, or social background
Usually an image that society projects or imposes on
every member of a group as a result of prejudice or
A familiar character who is the same type in every play
These characters are based on what it has done or said
in a previous play
The hero, the villain, the clever servant, the fool, and
the heroine are expected to look and act the same in
Framework of a work of literature; the organization or
over-all design of a work
The way an author writes a literary work
The choice of words and phrases
The structure of sentences
The length of paragraphs
The tone of the work, etc.
Person, place, thing or idea that represents something
The substitution of a part for the whole
(or vice versa).
Ex.: Five hundred hands were needed to
build the bridge.
The study of the
patterns of formation
of sentences and
phrases from words
Idea or message about
life, society, or human
Rarely stated; mostly
The attitude that an
author takes toward the
audience, the subject, or
Conveyed through the
author's words and
Verse drama written in elevated
language in which a noble
protagonist falls to ruin during a
struggle caused by a flaw in his
character or an error in his rulings or
A kind of metrical foot. A trochee (the
adjective is "trochaic") is a stressed syllable
followed by an unstressed one:
Róund abóut the cáuldron gó,
Ín the póisoned éntrails thrów.
A verse form of French origin consisting
of 19 lines arranged in five tercets and a
The first and third lines of the first tercet
reoccur alternately at the end of each
subsequent tercet and both together at
the end of the quatrain
Example: “The House on the Hill”
Edgar Arlington Robinson
Voice is the author's style, the
quality that makes his or her writing
unique, and which conveys the
author's attitude, personality, and