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Literary Terms A-Z
Transcript of Literary Terms A-Z
A condensed version of a work. It may be done to save space or to cut out passages, which are thought unsuitable for some sections of the reading public. School editions of Shakespeare were often abridged.
Not concrete. It does not specify one person and may not be entirely true. Abstract in a visual form maybe something like a Picasso. All the shapes and colors mix to look like a human, but very well could be something else.
A word formed from of based on the initial letters or syllables of other words.
a. Examples: MADD (Moms Against Drunk Driving), PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries)
An addition or an appendix to a book. This is usually in the back of a book.
An allegory is a story with double meaning: a primary meaning or surface meaning (something obvious): and a secondary meaning or an under the surface meaning (something not obvious, but understood with more research). A story that is a symbol.
a. Examples of allegories: William Golding's Lord of the Flies, and James Cameron’s Avatar
In the allegory of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Aslan represents Christ. Aslan's death to save Edmund's life and his subsequent resurrection are clear references to the life of Christ. Lewis's novel makes some essential changes to the figure of Christ that makes Aslan more accessible to children than the Christ they learn about in church. Lewis's method worked well—he even received a letter from a very distraught little boy pleading for help because he could not help loving Aslan more than Jesus, even though he knew he was supposed to love Jesus above everything else. The very shift from a man to a lion is quite significant. Christ is a human being, which is both confusing and compelling, particularly for a child. Christ seems almost too familiar to a small child, blurring the boundary between a god who deserves reverence and a friend who deserves affection. The beauty of the figure of a lion is that a child would have no problems showing both emotions for a lion. A lion, as king of the forest, is fearful and intimidating. The lion is also a big cat, and Lewis emphasizes this side of Aslan by depicting him as romping and playing merrily with the children. A talking animal at once inspires love and respect, magic and mystery. Lewis adapts the figure of Jesus for children while still maintaining all the essential characteristics of Christ.
Prefix- A-, An-
amoral, anesthetic, apolitical, asocial
leader: demagogue, pedagogue
Consonants, at the beginning of the words, are repeated in a sentence.
Example: Sally sold seashells by the sea shore.
A reference to another work of literature, art, to a person, science, pop culture, music,
locations, or a historical event.
is the property of being ambiguous, where a word, term, notation, sign, symbol, phrase, sentence, or any other form used for communication, is called ambiguous if it can be interpreted in more than one way.
comparison made between two things to show how they are alike in some respects.
A detailed splitting up and examination of a work for literature. A close study of the various elements and the relationship between them. An essential part of criticism.
Definition: away from:
abduction, abstain, abnormal, abdicate
Examples: patricide, infanticide, herbicide, suicide, insecticide
Textual comment in a book. It may consist of a reader’s comment in the margin, or printed explanations done in note form, provided by the editor.
In drama or fiction the antagonist opposes the hero or protagonist.
Example: The Joker is the antagonist; Batman is the protagonist.
Repetition of similar vowel sounds, to achieve a particular effect in the same sentence.
The mood and feeling, the intangible quality which appeals to extra-sensory perception.
“Show, not tell” feeling.
An account of one person’s life by him- or herself. The person wrote their own nonfiction story for readers.
Definition: To, toward:
Examples: adjoin, adjacent, adduct,
Suffix- -ia & -y
Definition: act, state
Examples: amnesia, mania, democracy, anarchy
a song that tells a story, often a story about love, death, or betrayal.
A nonfiction story about someone and told by another
A list of books, essays, and monographs on a
subject; or a list of works of a particular author
Strong prejudice against a particular
group of people
This consists of unrhymed five stress lines;
properly, iambic pentameter. It has become the most widely used of English verse forms and is the one closest to the rhythms of everyday speech
Examples: neologism, neo-liberal,
Neo- The NEW one
Of, or pertaining to, place for
Examples: Factory, dormitory,
A dialogue or discussion
Comic episodes, usually in tragedy aimed to relieve the tension and heighten the tragic element by contrast. (You see this in a lot of movies where you want to cry and then something funny happens.)
The examination and analysis of the relationships and similarities of the literatures of different peoples and nations
Textbooks on this subject distinguish four kinds of prose composition: exposition, argument, description, and narrative.
Conflict: Struggle or clash between opposing characters or opposing forces.
In an external conflict: a character struggles against an outside force
In an internal conflict: a character struggles within his or her mind
against: antipathy, antiwar, antisocial
-ic, -tic, -ical, -ac:
having to do with: anthropomorphic, dramatic, biblical, cardiac
a title or explanation, usually in a brief paragraph, which is put above a picture, diagram, cartoon, or any kind of illustration.
is the method used by a writer to develop a character.
The method includes:
(1) showing the character's appearance
(2) displaying the character's actions
(3) revealing the character's thoughts
(4) letting the character speak
(5) getting the reactions of others.
Coming- of- age Story
A type of novel where the protagonist is initiated into adulthood through knowledge, experience, or both, often by a process of disillusionment. Understanding comes after the dropping of preconceptions, a destruction of a false sense of security, or in some way the loss of innocence.
An over- used expression which is life-less. A very large number of idioms have become clichés through excessive use.
The part of a story or play, at which a crisis/debacle/problem is reached.
up, back, again
analogy, anatomy, anagram
The suggestion of implication evoked by a word or phrase, or even quite a long statement of any kind, over and above what they mean or actually denote.
Example: If you say… “That girl is cool.”
Connotation: She is a nice girl.
Denotation: She is cold (as in temperature).
The juxtapositions of disparate or opposed images, ideas, or both, to heighten or clarify a scene, theme or episode. Contrast is to show differences.
Example: Light vs Dark, Good vs Evil
Until the middle of the 16th century authors had little or no protection against plagiarism, or downright filching and pirating. When this became a serious problem printers’ guilds were granted rights to protect their members. The first English copyright law dates from 1709. Under the 1956 Act the copyright covers a author’s life-time and 50 years thereafter.
A poetic term of two successive rhyming lines. A Heroic Couplet is two rhyming lines at the end of a poem.
A detailed review and assessment of a literary work.
a turning down
Things having to do with
Eg: Optics, Physics
The most literal and limited meaning of a word, regardless of what one may feel about it or the suggestions and the ideas of connotes. Opposite of connotation.
Example: If someone says, “That’s chill.”
Denotation: Something is cold in temperature.
Connotation: That is good.
Type of writing intended to create a mood or emotion or to re-create a person, a place, a thing, an event, or an experience.
He holds the world in his hands.
Way of speaking that is characteristic of a particular region or a particular group of people.
The conversation between characters in a story or play
when a character reveals his or her innermost thoughts and feelings, those that are hidden throughout the course of the story line, through a poem or a speech. This speech, where only one character speaks, is recited while other characters are present onstage.
with, together: communal, community
the belief in: pacifism, terrorism, socialism, communism
Long story told in elevated language (usually poetry), which related the great deeds of a larger-than-life hero who embodies the values of a particular society.
a piece of writing at the end of a work of literature or drama, usually used to bring closure to the work. The writer or the person may deliver a speech, speaking directly to the reader, when bringing the piece to a close, or the narration may continue normally to a closing scene.
Adjective or descriptive phrase that is regularly used to characterize a person, place, or thing.
Example: We speak of “Honest Abe,” and “America the Beautiful.”
is the substitution of an agreeable or less offensive expression in place of one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the listener; or in the case of doublespeak, to make it less troublesome for the speaker.
against: contradict, contravene
one who believes in: pacifist, terrorist, socialist, communist
Type of writing that explains, gives information, defines, or clarifies an idea.
A brief story illustrating human tendencies through animal characters. Fables often include talking animals or animated objects as the principal characters. The interaction of these animals or objects reveals general truths about human nature, i.e., a person can learn practical lessons from the fictional antics in a fable.
a type of language that varies from the norms of literal language, in which words mean exactly what they say. Also known as the "ornaments of language," figurative language does not mean exactly what it says, but instead forces the reader to make an imaginative leap in order to comprehend an author's point. Some popular examples of figurative language include a simile and metaphor.
action that interrupts to show an event that happened at an earlier time which is necessary to better understanding.
a simplified character who does not change or alter his or her personality over the course of a narrative, or one without extensive personality and characterization. The term is used in contrast with a round character.
not: illegitimate, illicit, illegal, illegible, immoral, imitation
condition of, quality of
is a character that contrasts another character, often the protagonist, that therefore highlights certain qualities of the protagonist (or whoever the foil may be)
is the use of hints or clues to suggest what will happen later in literature.
the category that a work of literature is classified under. Give major genres in literature are nonfiction, fiction, poetry, drama, and myth.
are traditionally written in three lines to equate to the three metrical phrases of a haiku in Japanese that consist of five syllables, seven syllables, and five
The red blossom bends
and drips its dew to the ground.
Like a tear it falls
is a term used in modern English to indicate overweening pride, self-
confidence, superciliousness, or arrogance, often resulting in fatal retribution
Definitions: through, across:
Examples: diameter, division, diamond, divided, diametric
Definition: one connected with
Examples: meteorite, polite, cosmopolite
Wimpy is a foil character to __________.
Write a sentence using FANBOYS describing what type of genre of literature you are reading now.
Hi Ms. Nightingale
How are doing today?
I am fine. Thank you.
A Haiku By Ms. N's Little Brother
one connected with the universe
is exaggeration or over statement.
expression peculiar to a particular language that means something different from the literal meaning of each word. Example: “it’s raining cats and dogs”
is language that evokes one or all of the five senses: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching.
is an implied discrepancy between what is said and what is meant.
Three kinds of irony:
verbal irony is when an author says one thing and means something else.
dramatic irony is when an audience perceives something that a character the literature does not know.
irony of situation is a discrepency between the expected result and actual results.
two random objects moving in parallel, a technique intended to stimulate creativity
apart, not: disengage, discord, discomfort
study field of:
biology, geology, etymology, cardiology
Can you come up with your own word using the prefix dis-?
Entymology- the study of insects
Geology- the study of earth