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102 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
alliteration
the repetition of the initial cound in two or more words; often the repetition of an initial letter, but not always; most popular figure of speech
allegory
a story or narrative that teaches a moral or truth by using people, animals, events, etc. as symbols of that moral or truth
allusion
a passing or casual reference; an incidental mention of something, either directly or by implication
anecdote
a short account of a particular incident or event of an interesting or amusing nature, often biographical
anagnoresis
the critical moment of recognition or discovery; precedes peripetia
antagonist
a person who is opposed to, struggles against, or competes with another; opponent, adversary
aphorism
a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton)
apostrophe
a digression in the form of an address to someone not present, or to a personified object or idea, as “O Death, where is thy sting”
archetype
the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kinds are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype
aside
a part of an actor’s lines supposedly not heard by others on the stage and intended only for the audience
assonance
(also called vowel rhyme) rhyme in which the same vowel sounds are used with different consonants in the stressed syllables of the rhyming words as in penitent and reticence
atmosphere
the dominant mood or emotional tone of a work of art
autobiography
the history of a person's life as told or written by that person
ballad
a narrative poem, often of fold origin and intended to be sung, consisting of simple stanzas and usually having a refrain
biography
a written account of another person's life
blank verse
unrhymed verse, especially the unrhymed iambic pentameter most frequently used in English dramatic, epic, and reflective verse
round character
a character in fiction whose personality, background, motives, and other features are fully delineated by the author
flat character
an easily recognized character type in fiction who may not be fully delineated but is useful in carrying out some narrative purpose of the author
static character
a literary character who remains basically unchanged throughout a work
dynamic character
(also called developing character) in literature or drama, a character who undergoes a permanent change in outlook or character during the story
characterization
representation of a character or characters on the stage or in writing, especially by imitating or describing actions, gestures, or speeches
climax
(in a dramatic or literary work) a decisive moment that is of maximum intensity or is a major turning point in a plot
cacophony
the use of harsh or discordant sounds in literary composition, as for poetic effect
circular novel
when the plot of a novel begins in the present and goes back in time working back up to the present, making a full circle, such as in Kite Runner
conceit
a fanciful poetic image, especially an elaborate or exaggerated comparison; a poem passage containing such an image
internal conflict
in literature and drama, a struggle which takes place in the protagonist’s mind and through which the character reaches a new understanding or dynamic change
external conflict
in literature, a struggle between the protagonist and another character against nature or some outside force
connotation
the associated or secondary meaning of a word or expression in addition to its explicit or primary meaning
consonance
repetition of consonant sounds in a short sequence of words, like alliteration, only not restricted to the beginnings of words
conflict
opposition between characters or forces in a work of drama or fiction, esp. opposition that motivates or shapes the action of the plot
couplet
a pair of verses forming a unit, not necessarily rhyming together
denotation
the strict, literal definition of a word
description
speaking of the characteristics of something, for example what it looks, sounds, and feels like, to define it in detail
deveopment
the dynamic process of improvement, which implies a change, an evolution, growth and advancement, frequently of a theme or character over the course of a literary work
dialect
the variation on a language used by speakers in a particular geography area, it can be used to lend realism to a work
diction
the art of speaking in such a way that each word is clearly heard, or a poet’s distinctive choices in vocabulary
drama
literary work with dialogue written in verse and/or prose and spoken by actors playing characters experiencing conflict and tension
dramatic irony
when the audience of a play knows more than the characters within the play, making the plot suspenseful and dramatic
dramatic poetry
use of poetry to portray, using discourse between characters, a story or situation
dramatic monologue
a type of lyric poem, developed during the Victorian period, in which a character delivers a speech explaining his or her feelings, actions, or motives
elegy
a somber poem or song that praises or laments the dead
epic
long narrative on a serious subject chronicling heroic deeds and important events
epiphany
the moment in a drama when a character discovers his or her true identity, first found in Greek drama
epitaph
an inscription on a tomb or a written work praising a dead person; a commemoration, eulogy, or remembrance
euphony
flowing and aesthetically pleasing speech
Existentialism
a philosophical and literary movement during the 20th century, it is concerned with how there is existence before essence, and its adherents portray the concept of an essential self as illusionary
essay
a short, nonfiction composition on a single topic
exposition
the part of a story’s plot that introduces the setting and characters and presents the events and situations that it will focus on. It can also be an essay that informs but does not argue
extended metaphor
also called a conceit, these are a figure of speech found commonly in metaphysical poetry. An extended metaphor is a metaphor developed at great length, occurring frequently in or throughout a work
fable
story that teaches a lesson or a rule of living; the characters are usually animals that speak and act like humans
falling action
point after the climax of a story that shows the climax’s effects and leads up to the denouement; frequently a characteristic of tragedies and short stories
fantasy
a genre of writing that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting
fiction
storytelling of imaginary events, as opposed to real ones
figurative language
language containing figures of speech (words, phrases or sentences that (1) present a “figure” to the mind of the reader, (2) present an imaginative or unusual use of words that the reader is not to take literally, or (3) present a special arrangement or use of words or word sounds that create an unusual effect)
flashback
device in which a writer describes significant events of an earlier time or actually returns the plot to an earlier time, allowing the writer to inform the reader of significant past events
foreshadowing
device a writer uses to hint at a future course of action
frame story
tale with a plot structure wherein an author uses two or more characters to present the action (like in Frankenstein)
free verse
describes poetry not written using strict meter or rhyme, but still identifiable as poetry due to its patterns
Freytag's pyramid
analysis of drama dividing it into five parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement
genre
type or kind, as applied to literature or film
haiku
a mode of Japanese poetry following a strict format of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables; traditionally invoking an aspect of nature or the seasons
harmartia
tragic flaw
hubris
excessive pride
hyperbole
a figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect
idyll
poem focusing on the simplicity and tranquility or rural life, or prose work with a similar focus
image
a literal and concrete representation of a sensory experience or of an object that can be known by one or more of the senses; a portion of the essence of meaning of the literary work, not just decoration; may be either literal or figurative, (a literal image being one that involves no necessary change or extension in the obvious meaning of the words, one in which the words call up a sensory representation of the literal object or sensation)
imagery
the use of images in literature
in medias res
Latin phrase for in the middle of things; meaning that a story begins in the middle of the plot, usually at an exciting part
irony
(1) saying the opposite of what is meant (2) result or ending that is the opposite (3) situation in which the audience attending a dramatic presentation grasps the incongruity of a situation before the actors do
legend
an unverified story handed down from earlier times, esp. one popularly believed to be historical, or a romanticized/popularized myth of modern times
litotes
creation of a positive or opposite idea through negation, like “I am not unaware of your predicament”
local color
a type of writing particularly attentive to the dialect and customs of regional cultures thought to be vanishing in the face of the modern corporation
lyric poem
a brief poem that expresses the personal emotions and thoughts of a single speaker – the sonnet, elegy, and ode fit into this category
metaphor
an analogy identifying one object with another and ascribing to the first object one or more of the qualities of the second
metonymy
substitution of one word or phrase for a word or phrase similar in meaning
meter
a recurring pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables
Modernism
A trend of thought during the late 19th and early 20th centuries affirming the power of human beings to make, improve, deconstruct and reshape their built and designed environment, with the aid of scientific knowledge, technology and practical experimentation
monologue
a speech made by one person speaking his or her thoughts aloud or directly addressing a reader, audience or character
mood
the atmosphere or pervading tone of a place or situation in a literary work
moral
a message conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader or viewer to determine for themselves, or may be explicitly encapsulated in a maxim
motif
any recurring element that has symbolic significance
motivation
reason or reasons behind a character’s actions; what induces a character to do what he does; motives
myth
a body of stories linked to the religious life of a culture, often in ancient times
narration
recounting of the events making up a story
narrative
a story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious
narrative poem
a poem that tells a story
narrator
someone who tells a story
nonfiction
the branch of literature comprising works of narrative prose dealing with or offering opinions or conjectures upon facts and reality, including biography, history, and the essay
novel
a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes
novella
a fictional prose narrative that is longer and more complex than a short story; a short novel; a short prose tale often characterized by moral teaching or satire
octave
a rhythmic group of eight lines of verse
ode
a lyric poem typically of elaborate or irregular metrical form and expressive of exalted or enthusiastic emotion; lyric poem of some length, usually of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated style and formal stanzaic structure
onomatopoeia
the official term for words that sound like what they mean (buzzed, crackled, wheezed, drones, whimpered, shrieked, crunched, thundered, babbled, roared, hummed, popped, etc.)
oral tradition
a community's cultural and historical traditions passed down by word of mouth or example from one generation to another without written instruction
oxymoron
the blending of two contradictory terms; oxy means sharp and moros means stupid, so it is a sharp-stupid saying
parable
a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson
paradox
a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth
personification
giving human characteristics to inanimate objects
plot
storyline; the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work
point of view
the position of the narrator in relation to the story, as indicated by the narrator's outlook from which the events are depicted and by the attitude toward the characters; outlook of a character or narrator
prose
the ordinary form of spoken or written language, without metrical structure, as distinguished from poetry or verse
protagonist
main character in a drama or other literary work; In ancient Greek drama, the first actor to engage in dialogue with the chorus, in later dramas playing the main character and some minor characters as well; leader of a cause