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Literary Techniques

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  • September 2010
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Name| Type| Notes|
Alliteration| Poetic| Repeating the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words| Anthropomorphism| Personification| Form of personification that applies human-like characteristics to animals or objects| Aphorism| | Concise statement that contains a cleverly stated subjective truth or observation—aphorisms typically use alliteration, anaphora, and rhyme. The aphorism is considered a compressed poetic genre in itself.| Author surrogate| Character| Character who speaks for the author—sometimes an intentionally or unintentionally idealized version of the author. A well known variation is the Mary Sue or Gary Stu (self-insertion).| Back-story| Background exposure| Story that precedes events in the story being told—past events or background that add meaning to current circumstances| Bathos| | Mood that overstates its own pathos or drama.| Breaking the fourth wall| | An author or character addresses the audience directly (also known as direct address). This may acknowledge to the reader or audience that what is being presented is fiction, or may seek to extend the world of the story to provide the illusion that they are included in it.| Chekhov's gun| Plot| Insertion of an apparently irrelevant object early in a narrative for a purpose only revealed later. See foreshadowing and repetitive designation.| Cliff-hanger| Plot| The narrative ends unresolved, to draw the audience back to a future episode for the resolution.| Conceit| | An extended metaphor associated with metaphysical poetry that pushes the imagination's limits to portray something indescribable.| Cut-up technique| | The cut-up technique is an aleatory literary technique in which a text is cut up and rearranged to create a new text. Most commonly, cut-ups are used to offer a non-linear alternative to traditional reading and writing.| Defamiliarization| | Forcing the reader to recognize common things in an...

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