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Literary Terms and Poetic Terms Literary terms are words or phrases that are often different from everyday language. While poetry and literature have a lot of their devices in common, there are some terms that are unique to poetry. Authors use literary elements to make comparisons, to make things more clear in literature or poetry, or to give the story or poem a fresh look or sound. Literary elements are tools that an author uses to help readers visualize what is happening in the story or poem. Literary elements can be broken into figurative language, literary devices, and sound devices. Literary Elements Antagonist The antagonist is the person or thing working against the main character (usually the bad guy or bad force). Author’s Purpose The author‟s intent or reason for writing: to explain or inform, to entertain, to persuade. Character A character is a person, or sometimes even an animal, who takes part in the action of a short story or other literary work. Character Traits Authors develop characterization by describing various aspects of the character: physical appearance; personality; speech, behavior/actions; thoughts and/or feelings, interaction with other characters Conflict The conflict is a struggle between two people or things in a short story. The main character is usually on one side of the central conflict. External conflict: a struggle between a character and an outside force Man vs. man (problem with another character) Man vs. society (problems with the laws or beliefs of a group of people) Man vs. nature (problem with the environment) Man vs. technology (problem with an invention or science) Man vs. “fate” (problem that seems uncontrollable) Internal conflict: a struggle within a character Man vs. self (problem with character‟s own actions, conflicting beliefs, etc) Dialect A representation of the language spoken by the people of a particular place, time, or social group Fiction An imaginative narrative in any form that is designed to entertain, as distinguished from writings that are meant to explain, argue, or merely describe. Foreshadowing A literary device in which the author presents hints or clues about future events Flashback The literary device opposite of foreshadowing in which the author presents information that happened in an earlier time before the events currently taking place Imagery Figurative language that appeals to the five senses: touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight; mental pictures evoked through use of simile and metaphor; sensory language Jargon Technical terms, acronyms, and language used by people of the same profession or specialized interest group Mood The feeling created in the reading, evoked through the language of the text Non-fiction Writing that concerns real events and is intended to explain, inform, persuade, or give directions Plot The action or sequence of events in a story; a plot is comprised of five basic elements: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution Point of View The perspective from which the story is told First person point of view: narrator participated in the action and refers to himself/herself as “I” Second person point of view: not frequently used; the “you” in the directions, explanations, or arguments Third person point of view: narrator is not a character in the story, and refers to the characters as “he” or “she” Third person limited: narrator relates the inner thoughts and feelings of just one character Third person omniscient: narrator is all-knowing and can relate the inner thoughts and feelings of all the characters Protagonist The protagonist is the main character of a story (usually the good guy) Setting The geographic location and time period of a story. Authors often use descriptions of landscape, scenery, building, seasons or weather to provide a strong sense of setting. Slang Informal words or phrases used in casual conversation Subplot A smaller story within a larger story Symbolism An object that holds a figurative meaning as well as its literal meaning; something that stands for something else. Theme The central idea or belief in a story that the author wants to convey. The theme is an underlying meaning, concept, or message in a text. Tone The attitude the author takes toward the subject, the characters, or audience. Story Structure Plot The action or sequence of events in a story; a plot is comprised of five basic elements: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution Exposition The first part o a plot; the author establishes the setting, introduces the main characters, and gives additional background information; the conflict is introduced during the exposition. Rising Action The series of conflicts or struggles that build a story toward its climax; the rising action often has rising suspense. Climax The high point, or turning point, of a story; the conflict comes to a head. Falling Action The action that works out the decision arrived at during the climax. Resolution Often (but not always) the ending; how the conflict is ultimately resolved. Sound Devices – Literature and Poetry Alliteration Repeated consonant sounds at the beginning of a word: “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” Assonance Repeated vowel sounds: “The cat sat on the mat.” Imagery Words or phrases that appeal to any sense or any combination of senses Internal Rhyme Rhyming within a line of poetry: “I had a good time eating a lime in the merry month of May.” Meter The recurrence of a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. Onomatopoeia Words whose sound suggests its meaning: “The bees buzzed”. Repetition The repeating of words, phrases, lines, or stanzas Rhyme Repetition of same sounds: “cat/hat”, “cow/now”. Rhyme scheme The sequence in which the rhyme occurs The first end sound is represented as the letter “a”, the second is “b”, etc. Rhyming Couplet A pair of lines which end-rhyme expressing one clear thought Rhythm Internal „feel‟ of beat and meter perceived when poetry is read aloud Figurative Language Allusion A reference to a specific person, place, or thing: “She‟s as pretty as the Mona Lisa”. Connotation The suggestive power of word; the meaning we bring to a particular word:; gold can connote wealth; a dove can connote peace. Denotation The literal dictionary meaning of words. Dialogue Conversation between two or more characters in either fiction or non-fiction. The words of the speakers are set off by [“ “]. Figurative Language A strategy that authors use to employ literary devices such as metaphor, simile, repetition, etc. Figure of Speech An example of figurative language that states something that is not literally true in order to create an effect. Genre A literary type or form. Drama is a genre of literature. Hyperbole An extravagant exaggeration for effect: “My backpack weighs a ton!” Irony A special kind of contrast between what a reader and/or the character expects and what actually happens or exists. Metaphor A comparison not using as or like when one thing is said to be another: “The book was a passport to adventure.” Oxymoron A combination of contradictory terms: “Giant shrimp.” Personification A figure of speech which gives animals, ideas, or inanimate objects human traits or abilities: “The sun peered down at me.” Simile A comparison using “like” or “as”: “As snug as a bug in a rug.”
"Figurative Language figurative language is words or phrases that "