English Thematic Elements of Literary Narrative Vocab

Theme
The central idea or message of a work, the insight it offers into life. The big ideas of literature and life

Mood
the overall atmosphere of a work.

Tone
The author’s attitude toward a particular text.

Motif
A recurring image, phase, word, action, idea, object, or situation used throughout a work to tie the situation to the theme.

Symbol/ symbolism
Anything that represents itself and stands for something else. Usually something concrete, such as an object, action, character, or scene, that represents something more abstract like an idea.

Irony/ironic
When things are backwards of the way they should be

Three major types of irony in language
Verbal irony, situational irony, and dramatic irony

Verbal irony
when the words literally state the opposite of the writer’s (or speaker’s) meaning

situational irony
when events end up the opposite of what is expected

dramatic irony
when the audience knows something the characters don’t

Diction
The writer’s word choices.

Denotation
The strict, literal, dictionary definition of a word. Ex. The denotation of knife: such as knife in the back: anger fear violence betrayal.

Connotation
The implied, suggested meaning of a word. Involves ideas, emotions nor attitudes.
Ex. The connotation of knife: such as knife in the back: anger of fear violence betrayal.

onomotopoeia
use of words that imitate sounds-CRASH, BANG, HISS, BUZZ

Oxymoron
When the author groups contrasting words to suggest a paradox.
Ex. “Jumbo shrimp” and “cruel kindness”

Repetition
the action of repeating something that has already been said or written. Such as sound, word, phrase, clause, or sentence.

Metaphor
Uses an implied comparison of seemingly unlike things right the substitution of one for the other.

Hyberbole
Deliberate exaggeration for effect. Often produces irony.

Personification
the giving of human qualities to an animal, object, or idea. Used to make objects appear more vivid to the reader.

Simile
A comparison using “like” or “as”

Allusion
a direct or indirect reference to a significant person, event, time, or work of literature

Imagery
Description that appeals to the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste). Can represent more than one thing.
Ex. A rose may present visual imagery while also representing the color on a woman’s cheeks/ symbolizing a degree of perfection.