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Literary

Terms
Alliteration

The repetition of
sounds in a group
of words as in
“Peter Piper Picked
a Peck of Pickled
Peppers.”
Allusion
A reference to a person,
place, or thing--often
literary, mythological, or
historical. The infinitive of
allusion is
to allude.
e.g. Romeo alludes to the
mythological figure Diana
Antagonist

A major character
who opposes the
protagonist in a
story or play.
Assonance

The repetition of vowel


sounds as in
“And so, all the night-tide,
I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling,
my life and my bride.
--Edgar Allan Poe,
Atmosphere

The overall feeling


of a work, which is
related to tone and
mood.
Audience
The audience for a
piece of literature
may be a single
person or a group of
people. To what
Characterization
The means by which an
author establishes
character. An author
may directly describe
the appearance and
personality of character
or show it through
action or dialogue.
Climax

The point at which


the action in a
story or play
reaches its
emotional peak.
Conflict

The struggle in the story.


Traditionally, there are four
main conflicts:
person vs. self (internal)
person vs. person (external)
person vs. society (external)
person vs. nature (external)
Consonance

The repetition of
consonant sounds as in
“The fair breeze blew, the
white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;”
To explain how two
things differ. To
compare and
contrast is to
explain how two
things are alike and
Denotation
1)The definition of a word
found in the dictionary.
2)Literal meaning of a
word.
3) The verb form is “to
denote” which means “to
mean.”
Connotation
1)The definition of a word
found outside the dictionary.
2)Figurative meaning of a
word.
3) The verb form is “to
connote” which means “to
suggest or imply a meaning
beyond the literal meaning
End rhyme
Rhyming words
that are at the ends
of their respective
lines—what we
typically think of as
normal rhyme.
A story that
illustrates a moral
often using animals
as characters

e.g. The Tortoise and


Whenever you describe
something by comparing it with
something else, you are using
figurative language. Any
language that goes beyond the
literal meaning of words in order
to furnish new effects or fresh
insights into an idea or a subject.

e.g. Whenever you call


Foreshadowing

A technique in
which an author
gives clues about
something that will
happen later in the
Free Verse

Poetry with no set


meter (rhythm) or
rhyme scheme.
Genre

A term used to
describe a particular
category or type of
literature. Some
literary genres are
mysteries, westerns,
Hyperbole
An extreme
exaggeration.
e.g. To say that it
took you hours to
walk home when in
reality it was only
10 mins would be a
helps the reader imagine how
something looks, sounds, feels,
smells, or tastes. Most of the
time, it refers to appearance.

e.g. “Tita was so sensitive to


onions, any time they were
being chopped, they say she
would just cry and cry; when
she was still in my great-
grandmother’s belly her sobs
were so loud that even Nacha,
conveys a certain
idea by saying just
the opposite.

e.g. Saying that you


love someone’s shirt
when you really think
Literal Language

Language that
means exactly
what it says.
Metaphor
A comparison of two
unlike things using any
form of the verb “to
be”–-i.e. am, are, is,
was, were.

Ex: “This chair is a


rock,” or
Monologue

A long speech by
one character in a
play or story.
The feeling created in
the reader by a
literary work or
passage.  The mood
may be suggested by
the writer's choice of
words, by events in
Myth

A legend that
embodies the
beliefs of people
and offers some
explanation for
natural and social
Onomatopoeia

The use of words


that sound like
what they mean
such as “buzz,”
“bang,” or “tic-
tock.”
Parody

A humorous,
exaggerated
imitation of a work
of literature.
Personification
Giving inanimate
objects human
characteristics.

e.g. “The wind


howled through the
Plot

The series of
events that form
the story.
Writing organized
into sentences and
paragraphs that is
not poetry.

e.g. Novels and


short stories are
Protagonist

The main character


of a novel, play, or
story.
Comparing two
unlike things using
“like” or “as.”

e.g. “I’m as hungry


as a pig,” or “Your
eyes are like stars
A major subdivision
in a poem. A stanza
of two lines is
called a couplet; a
stanza of three
lines is called a
tercet; a stanza of
Theme

The central idea of


a work.
The author’s attitude
toward the subject of
the work. Usually
positive or negative.

e.g. The tone of a


piece of literature
Haiku
A three-line poem
with five syllables
in the first line,
seven syllables in
the second line