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23 Cards in this Set

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allusion

a brief reference to a person, a thing, an event, or an idea in history or literature

ambiguity

allows for two or more simultaneous interpretations of a word, phrase, action, or situation, all of which can be supported by the context of a work.

apostrophe

an address, either to someone who is absent and therefore cannot hear the speaker or to something nonhuman that cannot comprehend

Carpe diem

The Latin phrase meaning "seize the day." This is a very common literary theme, especially in lyric poetry, which emphasizes that life is short, time is fleeting, and that one should make the most of present pleasures.

Connotation

Associations and implications that go beyond the literal meaning of a word, which derive from how the word has been commonly used and the associations people make with it. For example, the word eagle connotes ideas of liberty and freedom that have little to do with the word's literal meaning.

Denotation

The dictionary meaning of a word. See also connotation.

Diction

A writer's choice of words, phrases, sentence structures, and figurative language, which combine to help create meaning.

Extended metaphor

Is a sustained comparison in which part or all of a poem consists of a series of related metaphors.

Figures of speech

Ways of using language that deviate from the literal, denotative meanings of words in order to suggest additional meanings or effects.

Hyperbole

A boldly exaggerated statement that adds emphasis without intending to be literally true, as in the statement


"He ate everything in the house."

Image

A word, phrase, or figure of speech (especially a simile or a metaphor) that addresses the senses, suggesting mental pictures of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, feelings, or actions.

Implied metaphor

a more subtle comparison; the terms being compared are not so specifically explained. For example, to describe a stubborn man unwilling to leave, one could say that he was "a mule standing his ground."

Lyric (Poem)

A type of brief poem that expresses the personal emotions and thoughts of a single speaker.

Metaphor

A figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unlike things, without using the word "like" or "as."

Metonymy

A type of metaphor in which something closely associated with a subject is substituted for it. In this way, we speak of the "silver screen" to mean motion pictures, "the crown" to stand for the king, "the White House" to stand for the activities of the president.

Narrative Poem

Tells a story, may be short or long, and the story it relates may be simple or complex.

Persona

Literally, a mask. In literature, a it is a speaker created by a writer to tell a story or to speak in a poem; not a character in a story or narrative, nor does it necessarily directly reflect the author's personal voice; it is a separate self, created by and distinct from the author, through which he or she speaks

Personification

A form of metaphor in which human characteristics are attributed to nonhuman things. Offers the writer a way to give the world life and motion by assigning familiar human behaviors and emotions to animals, inanimate objects, and abstract ideas.

Pun

A play on words that relies on a word's having more than one meaning or sounding like another word.


Ex. "Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man."

Synecdoche

A kind of metaphor in which a part of something is used to signify the whole, as when a gossip is called a "wagging tongue," or when ten ships are called "ten sails."


Sometimes, refers to the whole being used to signify the part, as in the phrase "Boston won the baseball game." Clearly, the entire city of Boston did not participate in the game; the whole of Boston is being used to signify the individuals who played and won the game.

Theme

The central meaning or dominant idea in a literary work. Provides a unifying point around which the plot, characters, setting, point of view, symbols, and other elements of a work are organized.

Tone

The author's implicit attitude toward the reader or the people, places, and events in a work as revealed by the elements of the author's style. May be characterized as serious or ironic, sad or happy, private or public, angry or affectionate, bitter or nostalgic, or any other attitudes and feelings that human beings experience.

Understatement

Refers to a figure of speech that says less than is intended. Usually has an ironic effect, and sometimes may be used for comic purposes, as in Mark Twain's statement, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."