Figurative Language and the Canterbury Tales

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1. allegory: a literary work that has a second meaning beneath the surface, often relating to a fixed, corresponding idea or moral principle. 2. alliteration: repetition of initial consonant sounds. It serves to please the ear and bind verses together, to make lines more memorable, and for humorous effect. • Already American vessels had been searched, seized, and sunk. -John F. Kennedy • I should like to hear him fly with the high fields/ And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land. -Dylan Thomas, “Fern Hill” 3. allusion: A casual reference in literature to a person, place, event, or another passage of literature, often without explicit identification. Allusions can originate in mythology, biblical references, historical events, legends, geography, or earlier literary works. Authors often use allusion to establish a tone, create an implied association, contrast two objects or people, make an unusual juxtaposition of references, or bring the reader into a world of experience outside the limitations of the story itself. Authors assume that the readers will recognize the original sources and relate their meaning to the new context. • Brightness falls from the air/ Queens have died young and fair/Dust hath closed Helen’s eye. -from Thomas Nashe’s “Litany in Time of Plague;” refers to Helen of Troy. 4. alter ego: A literary character or narrator who is a thinly disguised representation of the author, poet, or playwright creating a work. 5. anaphora: repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginnings of successive clauses. • The Lord sits above the water floods. The Lord remains a King forever. The Lord shall give strength to his people. The lord shall give his people the blessings of peace. -Ps. 29 • “Let us march to the realization of the American dream. Let us march on segregated housing. Let us march on segregated schools. Let us march on poverty. Let us march on ballot boxes.... --Martin Luther King, Jr.

• Mad world ! Mad king! Mad composition !
6. antagonist: the character or force opposing the protagonist in a narrative; a rival of the hero 7. apostrophe: addressing an absent or dead person or a personified abstraction • “Eloquent, just, and mighty Death ! whom none could advise....” • O WORLD, I cannot hold thee close enough!

8. approximate rhyme: also known as imperfect rhyme, near rhyme, slant rhyme, or oblique rhyme. A term used for words in a rhyming pattern that have some kind of sound correspondence but are not perfect rhymes. Often words at the end of lines at first LOOK like they will rhyme but are not pronounced in perfect rhyme. Emily Dickinson’s poems are famous for her use of approximate rhyme. 9. assonance: the repetition of vowel sounds

• The child of mine was lying on her side. [i]
• "Over the mountains / Of the moon, / Down the valley of the shadow, / Ride, boldly ride,/The shade replied,-- / "If you seek for Eldorado!" [o sound] 10. asyndeton: deliberate omission of conjunctions between series of related clauses. • I came, I saw, I conquered. -- Julius Caesar

• The infantry plodded forward, the tanks rattled into position, the big guns swung their snouts toward the rim of the hills, the planes raked the underbrush with gunfire. • ..and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. -Abraham Lincoln

11. aubade: a poem about dawn; a morning love-song; or a poem about the parting of lovers at dawn 12. ballad: a song, transmitted orally, which tells a story. Usually narrator begins with a climactic or traumatic episode, tells the story tersely by means of action and dialogue and tells it without self-reference or the expression of personal attitudes or feelings. Many ballads employ (1) stock repetitive phrases such as “blood-red wine” and “milk white steed,” (2) a refrain in each stanza, and (3) incremental repetition, in which a line or stanza is repeated,...
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