Lit Terms

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1. Allegory – a continuous parallel between two (or more) levels of meaning in a story, so that its persons and events correspond to their equivalents in a system of ideas or a chain of events external to the tale.

Context – “’The story is, there was one, just one, who ever came back, and he told what happened on the train, and where the train went and what happened after’”(207). – A Mother’s Tale by James Agee

2. Alliteration – the repetition of the same sounds – usually initial consonants of words or of stressed syllables – in any sequence of neighboring words.

Context – “I took my hat, and, after a four miles’ walk, arrived at Heathcliff’s garden gate just in time to escape the first feathery flakes of a snow shower” (5). – Wuthering Heights 3. Antagonist – the most prominent of the characters who oppose the protagonist or hero(ine) in a dramatic or narrative work.

Context – “Love? His affections do not that way tend…whereon his brains still beating puts him thus from 4. Allusion – an indirect or passing reference to some event, person, place, or artistic work, the nature and relevance of which is not explained by the writer but relies on the reader’s familiarity with what is thus mentioned.

Context – “’I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osborn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil’” (Act I, page 189)! – The Crucible 5. Ambiguity – openness to different interpretations; or an instance in which some use of language may be understood in diverse ways.

Context – “’I’ve got out at last,’ said I, ‘in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back’” (778)! – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman fashion of himself” (3.2.176-189). – Hamlet by Shakespeare 6. Apostrophe – a rhetorical figure in which the speaker addresses a dead or absent person, or an abstraction or inanimate object.

Context – “’Come in! come in!’ he sobbed. ‘Cathy, do come. Oh do – once more! Oh! my heart’s darling! hear me this time – Catherine, at last’”(20)! – Wuthering Heights

7. Archetype – a symbol, theme, setting, or character-type that recurs in different times and places that it embodies some essential element of ‘universal’ human experience.

Context – “’Maybe it’s all men an’ all women we love; maybe that’s the Holy Sperit – the human sperit – the whole shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of’” (32-33). – Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 8. Aside – a short speech or remark spoken by a character in a drama, directed either to the audience or to another character, which by convention is supposed to be inaudible to the other characters on stage.

Context – “A little more than kin and less than kind” (1.2.67). – Hamlet by Shakespeare 9. Characterization – the representation of persons in narrative and dramatic works.

Context – “He was the only man of us who still ‘followed the sea.’ The worst than could be said of him was that he did not represent his class. He was a seaman, but he was a wanderer too, while most seamen lead, if one may so express it, a sedentary life” (9). – Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

10. Climax – any moment of great intensity in a literary work, or a figure of speech in which a sequence of terms is linked by chain-like repetition through three or more clauses in ascending order of importance.

Context – “Tom leaped silently. He wrenched the club free. The first time he knew he had missed and struck a shoulder, but the second time his crushing blow found the head, and as the heavy man sank down, three more blows found his head” (527). – Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 11. Connotation – the range of further associations that a word or phrase suggests in addition to its straightforward dictionary meaning, or one of these secondary meanings.

Context – “Get thee to a nunnery, farewell. Or if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what...
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