Unit 2#1 Literary Terms

Stereo type
Conventional character, plot, or setting—predictable. Example: used car salesman with slicked back hair and plaid jacket. Example: “the butler did it” murder mystery

Anastrophe
Inverted word order for emphasis, rhyme, or rhythm. Example: “Wrecked is the ship of pearl…” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The Chambered Nautilus”

Synecdoche
Figurative language in which a part is used for the whole or the whole is used for a part. Example: “the dying year” used for “autumn”. Example: “Wall Street” used for the “money market” or the “financial affairs of the entire United States”

Rhythm
Arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry. Example: iambic pentameter

Irony
The term used to describe a contrast between what appears to be and what really is

Verbal irony
When a character says one thing but means something else

Irony of situation
An occurrence that is different from what is expected

Dramatic irony
When there is a contradiction between what a character thinks and what the audience knows to be true

Understatement
A fact is expressed less emphatically than it could be

Characterization
Method used to describe characters by revealing physical traits and personality

Alliteration
Repetition of initial consonant sounds. Example: “The road was a ribbon of moonlight…” ~Alfred Noyes, “The Highwayman” Example: The river rose rapidly with a roaring sound. ~Tongue Twister

Assonance
Repetition of similar vowel sounds followed by different consonant sounds. Example: made/mail

Consonance
Repetition of consonant sounds preceded by different vowel sounds. Example: bear/more—letter/mutter—frail/feel

Onomatopoeia
Words whose sounds imitate the natural wounds of an object or animal. Example: hiss/mew

Classicism
A movement or tendency in art, literature, and music reflecting the principles manifested in the art of the ancient Greece and Rome. Classicism emphasizes the traditional and the universal, placing value on reason, clarity, balance, order. Example: Declaration of Independence

Romanticism
A movement the flourished in literature, philosophy, music, and art in Western culture during most of the 19th century, beginning as a revolt against classicism. Romanticism essentially upholds feeling and the imagination over reason and fact. It favors the picturesque, the emotional, the exotic, and the mysterious. Example: lit that glorifies nature and upholds the notion that people are basically good and perfectible, as in the transcendentalism of Emerson and Thoreau. Example: lit that investigates the dark side of the human soul, as in stories of Poe

Blank verse
Verse written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. Example: William Cullen Bryant’s “Thanatopsis”

Free verse
Unrhymed verse that has either no metrical pattern or an irregular pattern. Example: Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”

Caesura
A break or pause in a line of poetry which contributes to the rhythm of the poem. Example: William Cullen Bryant’s “Thanatopsis”: “Go forth,// under the open sky,// and list…”

Internal rhyme
Rhyme that occurs within a line of poetry. Example: Poe’s “The Bells”: “To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!…”

Allegory
A tale in prose or verse in which characters, actions, or settings represent abstract ideas or moral qualities—has two meanings, a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning. Example: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” and “Young Goodman Brown” or Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”

Symbol
Any object, person, place, or action that has a meaning in itself and that also stands for something larger than itself, such as a quality, an attitude, a belief, or a value. Example: a rose is a symbol of love or beauty

Figures of speech
A word or expression that is not meant to be interpreted in a literal sense (more than 200 types)

Hyperbole
A figure of speech using exaggeration, or overstatement for special effect. Example: Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”. Example: “… And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels…”

Metonymy
A figure of speech in which something very closely associated with a thing is used to stand for or suggest the thing itself. Example: “Three sails came into the harbor”

Oxymoron
A figure of speech that combines opposite or contradictory ideas. Example: “sweet sorrow”

Folklore
Traditional songs, myths, legends, fables, fairy tales, proverbs, and riddles, composed anonymously and either written or passed down orally

Conflict
A struggle between two opposing forces or characters in a short story, novel, play, or narrative poem

External conflict
Between two persons, between a person and society, between a person and nature. example: Jack London’s “To Build a Fire”

Internal conflict
Between two elements struggling for mastery within a person. Example: Bernard Malamud’s “The First Seven Years”

Personification
The representation of an inanimate object, animal, or idea as a human being by giving it human qualities. Example: The sun smiled on the earth