Literary Terms and Figurative Language for Praxis II Flashcards

Language
Terms Definitions
Allegory
A story in which people (or things or actions) represent an idea or a generalization about life. Allegories usually have a strong lesson or moral.
Alliteration
The repetition of initial consonant sounds in words, such as "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers."
Allusion
A reference to a familiar person, place, thing, or event--for example, Don Juan, brave new world, Everyman, Machiavellian, utopia.
Analogy
A comparison of objects or ideas that appear to be different but are alike in some important way.
Anapestic meter
Meter that is composed of feet that are short-short-long or unaccented-unaccented-accented, usually used in light or whimsical poetry, such as a limerick.
Anecdote
A brief story that illustrates or makes a point.
Antagonist
A person or thing working against the hero of a literary work (the protagonist).
Aphorism
A wise saying, usually short and written.
Apostrophe
A turn from the general audience to address a specific group of persons (or a personified abstraction) who is present or absent. For example, in a recent performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet, Hamlet turned to the audience and spoke directly to one woman about his father's death.
Assonance
A repetition of the same sound in words close to one another--for example, white stripes.
Blank verse
Unrhymed verse, often occurring in iambic pentameter.
Caesura
A break in the rhythm of language, particularly a natural pause in a line of verse, marked in prosody by a double vertical line (' ').
Characterization
A method an author uses to let readers know more about the characters and their personal traits.
Cliche
An expression that has been used so often that it loses its expressive power.
Consonance
Repetition of the final consonant sound in words containing different vowels--for example, "stroke of luck."
Couplet
A stanza made up of two rhyming lines.
Diction
An author's choice of words based on their clearness, conciseness, effectiveness, and authenticity.
Diction:Archaic
Old-fashioned words that are no longer used in common speech, such as thee, thy, and thou.
Diction:Colloquialisms
Expressions that are usually accepted in informal situations or regions, such as "wicked awesome."
Diction:Dialect
A variety of language used by people from a particular geographic area.
Diction: Jargon
Specialized language used in a particular field or content area.
Diction: Profanity
Language that shows disrespect for others or something sacred.
Diction: Slang
Informal language used by a particular group of people among themselves.
Diction: Vulgarity
Language widely considered crude, disgusting, and oftentimes offensive.
End rhyme
Rhyming of the ends of lines of verse.
Enjambment
Also known as a run-on line in poetry, this occurs when one line ends and continues onto the next line to complete meaning. Ex:
"My life has been the poem I would have writ," and the second line completes the meaning-- "but I could not both live and utter it."
Existentialism
A philosophy that values human freedom and personal responsibility. Jean-Paul Sartre is the front runner, others include Albert Camus, Freidrich Nietzsche, Franz Kafka, and Simone de Beauvoir.
Flashback
A literary device in which the author jumps back in time in the chronology of a narrative.
Foot
Defined as one stressed syllable and a number of unstressed syllables (from zero to as many as four).
One foot
Monometer
Two feet
Dimeter
Three feet
Trimeter
Four feet
Tetrameter
Five feet
Pentameter
Six feet
Hexameter
Seven feet
Septameter
Eight feet
Octameter
Foreshadowing
A literary technique in which the author gives hints or clues about what is to come at some point later in the story.
Free verse
Verse that contains an irregular metrical pattern and line length; also known as vers libre.
Genre
A category of literature defined by its style, form, and content.
Genre
A category of literature defined by its style, form, and content.
Heroic couplet
A pair of lines of poetic verse written in iambic pentameter.
Hubris
The flaw that leads to the downfall of a tragic hero; this term comes from the Greek word hybris, which means "excessive pride."
Hyperbole
An exaggeration for emphasis or rhetorical effect.
Imagery
The use of words to create pictures in the reader's mind.
Internal rhyme
Rhyme that occurs within a line of verse.
Irony
The use of a word or phrase to mean the exact opposite of its literal or expected meaning.
Dramatic Irony
The reader sees a character's errors, but the character does not.
Verbal Irony
The writer says one thing and means another.
Situational Irony
The purpose of a particular action differs greatly from the result.
Malapropism
A type of pun, or play on words, that results when two words become mixed up in the speaker's mind--for example, "Bushisms" : "We need an energy bill that encourages consumption."
Metaphor
A figure of speech in which a comparison is implied but not stated, such as "This winter is a bear."
Meter
A rhythmical pattern in verse that is made up of stressed and unstressed syllables.
Mood
The feeling a text evokes in the reader, such as sadness, tranquility, or elation.
Moral
A lesson a work of literature is teaching.
Narration
The telling of a story.
Onomatopoeia
The use of sound words to suggest meaning, as in buzz, click, or vroom.
Oxymoron
A phrase that consists of two contradictory terms--for example, "deafening silence."
Paradox
A contradictory statement that makes sense--for example, Hegel's "Man learns from history that man learns nothing from history."
Personification
A literary device in which animals, ideas, and things are represented as having human traits.
Point of View
The persepective from which a story is told.
First person
The story is told from the point of view of one character.
Third person
The story is told by someone outside the story.
Omniscient
The narrator of the story shares the thoughts and feelings of all the characters.
Limited omniscient
The narrator shares the thoughts and feelings of one character.
Camera view
The narrator records the action from his or her point of view, unaware of any of the other characters' thoughts or feelings. This perspective is also known as the objective view.
Refrain
The repetition of a line or phrase of a poem at regular intervals, particularly at the end of each stanza.
Repetition
The multiple use of a word, phrase, or idea for emphasis or rhythmic effect.
Rhetoric
Persuasive writing.
Rhythm
The regular or random occurrence of sound in poetry.
Setting
The time and place in which the action of a story takes place.
Simile
A comparison of two unlike things, usually including the word like or as.
Style
How the author uses words, phrases, and sentences to form ideas.
Symbol
A person, place, thing, or event used to represent something else, such as the whtie flag that represents surrender.
Tone
The overall feeling created by an author's use of words.
Transcendentalism
During the mid-19th century in New England, several writers and intellectuals worked together to write, translate works, and publish. Their philosophy focused on protesting the Puritan ethic and materialism. The valued individualism, freedom, experimentation, and spirituality. Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau, and Longfellow were popular transcendentalists.
Verse
A metric line of poetry. A verse is named based on the kind and number of feet composing it.
Voice
Distinctive features of a person's speech and speech patterns.
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