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Literary Terms

By soycabron Jan 22, 2013 1529 Words
Estancia High School – Comp/Lit II
10th Grade Literary Terms to Know

CA 9/10 Content Standards: Reading/Literary Response and Analysis 3.3 – students apply their understanding of content-area terminology during narrative analyses of grade-level literary texts ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This sheet includes the most common literary terms used to support the discussion of literature at the sophomore level. These terms appear in writing prompts, reading selections and assignments, quizzes and exams. They also appear on the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) and the Content Standards Test (CST) both taken in the spring semester.

1. allegory – a story with two or more levels of meaning – a literal level and one or more symbolic levels; for example, Of Mice and Men, The Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, War and Peace, A Tale of Two Cities

2. alliteration – when two or more words in a poem begin with the same letter or sound.

Example of alliteration: “Caring cats cascade off”

3. allusion – an allusion is a reference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art; writers often make allusions to the Bible, William Shakespeare’s plays, Roman and Greek mythology, and major historical events or battles; when speaking, a person can make an allusion to someone or something (an indirect reference)

4. antagonist – the character who opposes the protagonist

5. aside – a short speech delivered by an actor in a play, which expresses the character’s thoughts; traditionally, the aside is directed to the audience and is presumed inaudible to the other characters; for example, on the television series Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm uses asides when he speaks to the audience eye to eye

6. atmosphere/mood – the feeling created in a reader by a literary work or passage

7. author’s purpose – an author’s motivation for writing about a given topic

8. autobiography – a form of nonfiction in which a person tells his or her own life story

9. blank verse (iambic pentameter) – poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter; a form of verse frequently used by William Shakespeare

10. characterization – (direct characterization) the author directly states a character’s traits; (indirect characterization) a character’s personality is developed or reflected in his or her actions, words, thoughts, appearance, emotions, or through another character’s observations and reactions

11. conflict – a struggle between opposing forces; (external conflict) the main character struggles against an outside force; (internal conflict) when a character is in conflict with himself or herself

12. connotation - the connotation of a word is the set of ideas associated with it in addition to its explicit meaning

13. couplet – two rhyming lines in a work of poetry

14. denotation – the literal or exact meaning of a word; a dictionary contains the denotations of words in any language

15. diction –word choice; a writer’s use of one word over another to be more precise or descriptive; a thesaurus is the ideal resource when selecting the most appropriate word to convey an idea

16. drama – a story written to be performed by actors

17. dramatic irony – a contradiction between what a character thinks and what the reader or audience know to be true

18. dramatic monologue – a poem or speech in which a fictional character addresses a silent listener

19. exposition – writing or speech that explains a process or presents information about a topic; in fictional works, exposition refers to the early chapters in the book where the setting is established, characters are named, and the reader is given a preview of the conflict to be developed in the plot

20. figurative language – writing or speech not meant to be interpreted literally (includes idioms, metaphors, similes, and personification)

21. foil – a character who provides a contrast to another character

22. foreshadowing –the use of clues in a literary work that suggest events have yet to occur

23. genre – a category or type of literature; the three most common genres are poetry, prose, and drama

24. hyperbole – an exaggerated statement

25. imagery – the descriptive or figurative language used in literature to create word pictures for readers

26. irony – the general term for literary techniques that portray differences between appearance and reality; (verbal irony) when words are used to suggest the opposite of what is meant

27. metaphor – a figure of speech in which two things are compared not using like or as

28. monologue – a speech by one character in a play, story, or poem; it may be addressed to another character or to the audience

29. motivation – a reason that explains or partially explains a character’s thoughts or actions

30. narration/narrative – writing that tells a story

31. narrator – a speaker or character who tells a story; the narrator can be a character or speak as an outside observer

32. onomatopoeia – the use of words that imitate sounds, such as thud, sizzle, brrrr, shhhh

33. parallel structure (or parallelism) - Parallel structure means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance. This can happen at the word, phrase, or clause level. EXAMPLES OF PARALLEL STRUCTURE:

With the -ing form (gerund) of words:
Parallel: Mary likes hiking, swimming, and bicycling.

With infinitive phrases:
Parallel: Mary likes to hike, to swim, and to ride a bicycle. OR
Mary likes to hike, swim, and ride a bicycle.
34. personification – a figure of speech in which a non-human subject is given human-like characteristics

35. plot – the sequence of events in a literary work

36. point of view – (1st person) the narrator uses the pronoun “I”; (2nd person) the narrator uses the pronoun “you”; (3rd person limited) the narrator is someone outside the action and tells the thoughts and feelings of one character; (3rd person omniscient) the “all knowing” point of view wherein the narrator knows more about the characters and events than any one character can know

37. prose – the ordinary form of written language

38. protagonist – the main character in a work of fiction (the character readers would like to see succeed)

39. resolution – at the end of the story, in which an insight has been made or a conflict resolved

40. rhyme scheme – the regular pattern of rhyming words in a poem; for example, in an aabb stanza, line 1 rhymes with line 2 and line 3 rhymes with line 4

41. simile – a figure of speech that uses like or as in a comparison between two different things

42. soliloquy – a long speech expressing the thoughts of a character alone on stage

43. speaker – the imaginary voice assumed by the writer of a poem; fiction and nonfiction use the term narrator, but poetry uses the term speaker

44. stanza – the formal division, or grouping, of lines in a poem

45. suspense – the feeling of uncertainty about the outcome of events in a literary work

46. symbol, or symbolism – anything that represents or stands for something else: an object, a person, a color, time of day, etc.

47. theme - a unifying idea, image, or motif, repeated or developed throughout a work

48. thesis statement - that sentence or two in a student’s introduction that contains the focus of the essay and tells your reader what the essay is going to be about. It should be succinct, clear and concise. Each body paragraph analyzes and develops an aspect identified in the thesis statement.

49. tone – the author’s underlying attitude toward a particular subject or topic

50. tragedy – a drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances.

51. writing process – (1) pre-writing, (2) drafting, (3) revising, (4) editing, (5) proofreading and publishing

Persuasion and Persuasive Devices
Persuasion is writing or speech that attempts to convince the reader to adopt a particular opinion or course of action. The following are rhetorical, or persuasive devices, commonly used by writers and public speakers to establish rapport and credibility with their audiences. |These terms will be discussed |Analogy – Speakers often use figures of speech or comparisons (simile, metaphor, personification) for | |during our class reading of The|desired emphasis. | |Tragedy of Julius Caesar by |Appeal to Authority (association) – A speaker may mention an important event or person to lend importance| |William Shakespeare. |or credibility to his/her argument/message. | | |Emotional Appeal (pathos) – Writers may appeal to fear, anger or joy to sway their readers. They may also| | |add climax or excitement. | | |Ethical Appeal (ethos) – Speaker refers to beliefs and morality (such as nationalism, freedom, religion, | | |etc.) to support his position. | | |Logical Appeal (logos) – Speaker uses logic or reason to persuade the audience. Appeals to facts, | | |figures, generally accepted truths. | | |Repetition –Speaker repeats a word, phrase or several sentences for emphasis. | | |Rhetorical Question – Sometimes a speaker will ask a question to which no answer is required or expected.| | |The speaker implies that the answer is obvious; the audience has no choice but to agree with the | | |speaker’s point. | | |Word Choice (diction) – Speakers reinforce their arguments/messages by choosing words which will | | |influence their audience’s perception of an item or issue. Diction may also help to establish a writer’s | | |“Voice” and “Tone”. |

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