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35 Cards in this Set

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Metaphor
A figure of speech in which one thing, idea, or action is referred to by a word or expression
normally denoting another thing, idea, or action, so as to suggest some common quality shared by
the two. This resemblance is assumed as an imaginary identity rather than directly stated as a
comparison.
Simile
A figure of speech which is an explicit comparison between to different things, actions, or
feelings, using the words ‘as’ or ‘like.’ Very common in both prose and verse, simile is more
tentative and decorative than metaphor.
Denotation
literal meaning
Connotation
The range of further associations that a word or phrase suggests in addition to its
straightforward literal meaning found in the dictionary; or one of these secondary meanings. A
connotation may be perceived and understood by almost everyone if it is a product of or reflects
broad cultural associations, or it may be recognized by comparatively few readers or listeners
who have certain knowledge or experience.
Personification
A figure of speech that bestows human characteristics upon anything nonhuman.
allusion
an indirect or passing reference to some person, event, place or artistic work, the nature and
relevance of which is not explained by the writer but relies on the reader’s familiarty with what is
thus mentioned. The technique of allusion is an economical means of calling upon the history or
the literary tradition that author and reader are assumed to share, although some poets allude to
areas of quite specialized knowledge.
apostrophe
a rhetorical figure in which the speaker addresses a dead or absent person or an abstraction or
inanimate object.
hyperbole
deliberate exaggeration for the sake of emphasis in a figure of speech not meant literally.
onomatopoeia
the use of words that seem to imitate sounds they refer to; or any combination of words in
which the sound gives the impression of echoing the sense. This figure of speech is often found in
poetry, sometimes in prose. It relies on more conventional associations between verbal and nonverbal
sounds than on the direct duplication of one by the other.
assonance
the repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds in the stressed syllables (and sometimes in
the subsequent unstressed syllables) of neighboring words; it is distinct from rhyme in that the
consonants differ although the vowels or dipthongs match.
alliteration
the repetition of the same sounds – usually initial consonants of words or of stressed syllables
(consonance) – in any sequence of neighboring words.
scansion
the analysis of poetic meter in verse lines, by displaying stresses, pauses, and rhyme patterns
with conventional visual symbols.
meter
the pattern of measured sound-units recurring more or less regularly in lines of verse. Poetry may
be composed according to one or four principal metrical systems.
iamb
- /
trochee
s un
anapest
- - /
dactyl
/ - -
spondee
substituted /
pyrrhic
substituted - -
foot
a group of syllables taken as a unit of poetic meter in traditional prosody, regardless of wordboundaries.
As applied to English verse, the foot is a certain fixed combination of syllables each
of which is counted as being either stressed ( ΄ ) or unstressed ( ˘ ). A metrical verse line
comprising feet all of a kind is considered according to the number of stresses within the line:
names of 1-8 feet/line
1 monometer
2 dimeter
3 trimeter
4 tetrameter
5 pentameter
6 hexameter
7 heptameter
8 octameter
blank verse
Unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter, blank verse should not be confused with free verse,
which has no regular meter.
free verse
a kind of poetry that does not conform to any regular meter: the length of its lines is irregular,
as is its use of rhyme – if employed at all. Instead of a regular metrical pattern it uses more
flexible cadences or rhythmic groupings.
stanza
a group of verse lines forming a section of a poem and sharing the same structure as all or some of
the other sections of the same poem, in terms of the lengths of the lines, its meter, and usually its
rhyme scheme. In printed poems, stanzas are separated by spaces. Stanzas are often loosley
referred to as ‘verses,’ but this usage causes serious confusion and is best avoided, since a verse,
strictly speaking, is a single line.
couplet / heroic couplet
a pair of rhyming verse lines, usually of the same length. A heroic couplet is a rhyming pair of
lines in iambic pentameter. A couplet may stand alone as an epigram or form part of a larger
stanza or round off an English (Shakespearean) sonnet or a dramatic scene.
quatrain
a verse stanza of four lines, rhymed or (less often) unrhymed.
octave
a group of eight verse lines, most often found comprising the first part of an Italian (Petrarchan)
sonnet.
sestet
a group of six verse lines, most often found comprising the second (and last) part of an Italian
(Petrarchan) sonnet.
sonnet
a lyric poem comprising fourteen rhyming lines of equal length, iambic pentameter in English,
and following two basic rhyming patterns (outlined below). The standard subject matter of early
sonnets was the torments of sexual (yet conventionally courlty) love, but in the 17th century John
Donne extended the sonnet’s scope to religion, while John Milton extended it to politics.
English (Shakesperean) Sonnet
comprises three quatrains and a final couplet, rhyming ababcdcdefefgg.
An important variant is the Spenserian sonnet, which links the quatrains by rhyme, in the
sequence ababbabccdcdee. In either form, the ‘turn’ or volta comes with the final couplet, which
may sometimes achieve the neatness of an epigram.
Italian (Petrarchan) Sonnet
comprises an eight-line ‘octave’ of two quatrains, rhymed abbaabba,
followed by a six-line ‘sestet’ usually rhymed cdecde or cdcdcd. The transition from octave to
sestet usually coincides with a ‘turn’ (Italian, volta) in the argument or mood of the poem. The
volta can be delayed, and the rhyme scheme has variations. The Italian pattern has remained the
most widely used in English and other languages.
Villanelle
a poem composed of an uneven number (usually five) of tercets (three-line stanza) rhyming
aba, with a final quatrain rhyming abaa. In the French ‘fixed’ form, used chiefly for pastoral songs, the
whole first (A1) and third (A2) lines of the opening tercet are repeated alternately as the third lines of ever
other succeding tercet and together as the final couplet of the quatrain. Representing these lines in
capitals, with subset 1 and subset 2, the rhyme may be displayed thus: A1bA2 abA1 abA2 abA1 abA2
abA1A2.
dramatic monologue
a kind of poem in which a single fictional or historical character other than the poet
speaks to a silent ‘audience’ of one or more persons. Such poems reveal not the poet’s own
thoughts but the mind of the impersonated character, whose personality is revealed unwittingly;
this distinguishes a dramatic monologue from a lyric, while the implied presence of an auditor
distinguishes it from a soliloquy. The speaker thus provides information not only about his
personality but also about the time, the place, the key events, and any other characters involved in
the situation.
speaker
the narrative voice in a poem, usually a lyric.
persona
Generally, the assumed identity or fictional ‘I,’ ‘we,’ etc. assumed by a writer in a
literary work, thus the ‘speaker’ or ‘narrator.’ The term derives from the Latin word for ‘mask’
and literally refers to that through which sound passes. Although the persona serves as the ‘voice’
of the author, it nonetheless should not be confused with the author, for the persona may not
accurately reflect the author’s personal opinions, feelings, or perspective on a subject.