Literary Terms

Topics: Linguistics, Literature, Fiction, Writing, Short story, Management / Pages: 16 (3784 words) / Published: Feb 11th, 2012
Literary Terms Packet

The terms in this packet will be used throughout the semester in literature discussions and on exams. Please memorize and be able to use and identify all terms in papers and on exams.
Some information in this packet came from Modern English by Arnold Lazarus, et.al. and A Dictionary of Literary, Dramatic, and Cinematic Terms by Sylvan Barnet, et.al.

Allusion
A reference to someone or something that is known from history, literature, religion, politics or some other branch of culture. An example is Sandra Cisneros' "Straw into Gold," which is an allusion to the folktale about Rumpelstiltskin.
Example: "I have seen my head . . . brought in upon a platter" is an allusion to the execution of St. John the Baptist. Example: "In the room women come and go, talking of Michelangelo" is an allusion the famous artist Michelangelo. Example: "No, I am not Prince Hamlet" is an allusion to Shakespeare's play, Hamlet.

Please write two sentences, each of which uses an allusion. the allusion and then share with a neighbor. __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________

Underline

Ambiguity
A technique by which a writer suggests deliberately two or more different and sometimes conflicting meanings in a work. Writers use ambiguity to make us think. Example: In "Mystery of Heroism," Stephen Crane ends his story by not telling us if Collins came back with water or not. Example: In "Weary Blues," Langston Hughes doesn't tell us exactly what happens to the blues player at the end.

Aphorism
A brief, cleverly worded statment that makes a wise observation about life. Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack is a book of aphorisms. We see them also in the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
Example: "Let us die trying."--from Two Old Women. Exampe: "Comedy is a tragedy plus time." Carol Burnett Example: "Whoso would be a

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