Literary Terms and Concepts

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1. An allusion occurs when an author makes a reference to a time, place, or character from another literary work. In Sinclair Lewis' "The Hack Driver" Lewis makes many references and comparisons. Specifically, he makes two allusions. The first allusion is to Heaven's gate and St. Peter. Lewis (1996) says of Bill, "When he gets to Heaven's gate he'll call St. Peter ‘Pete'" (P. 58). Lewis' second allusion is to the Amazon River while describing Lutkins' mother. His allusion is used to connote her size and strength while acting as a metaphor to compare the well built woman to a fierce raging body of water.

2. A connotation is an inferred meaning that can be negative or positive. However, the negative or positive aspect is not always referenced and is not necessary for a connotation to exist. In Lewis' "The Hack Driver" Lewis positively connotes individuals from rural (less populated) areas as friendly and welcoming to strangers (Lewis, 1997).

3. A dictionary definition is considered a denotation. Denotations are literal meanings. Many terms are used to describe the characters in the various short stories. For example, the word scoundrel is used to mean a wicked person. Denotations are very common in literary work.

4.Figurative Language is a colorful figure of speech that has many forms. Similes, metaphors, symbols, hyperboles, and personifications are all considered figurative language.

5. A simile is a comparison used in literary work using the terms "like" or "as". Similes are effective when they compare two unassociated objects. In Marge Piercy's "To Be of Use" a simile is used to compare a hard worker's strength and dedication to getting the job done to that of a water buffalo pulling a load (Piercy, 1996). Piercy(1996) says, "I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart, who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience, who strain in the mud and muck to move things forward, who do what has to be...
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