Allegory - a story in which characters represent abstract qualities or ideas. In the fabel, "The Grasshopper and the Ant," the grasshopper represents flightiness, while the ant represents industriousness.

    Alliteration – repetition of the initial consonant sounds of words: “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”

    Allusion – an indirect reference to something well-known that exists outside the literary work: Herculean effort, Achilles' heel

    Antagonist - character that is the source of conflict in a literary work

    Aside – a dramatic device in which a character makes a short speech intended for the audience but not heard by the other characters on stage

    Assonance – repetition of vowel sounds followed by different consonant sounds: “Anna’s apples,” “the pond is long gone”

    Characterization - the manner in which an author develops characters and their personalities. Direct characterization is when the author tells you what a character is like. Indirect characterization is when the author allows you to draw your own conclusions about a character by showing you what a character is like.

    Climax - the turning point in a literary work

    Conflict - struggle between two or more opposing forces (person vs. person; nature; society; self; fate/God.  

    Dialogue - direct speech between characters in a literary work

    Diction - word choice to create a specific effect

    Exposition - the essential background information at the beginning of a literary work

    Falling action - results or effects of the climax of a literary work

    Figurative Language – language that represents one thing in terms of something dissimilar (non-literal language). Includes simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, and symbol.

    Flashback - the method of returning to an earlier point in time for the purpose of making the present clearer

    Foreshadowing - hint of what is to come in a literary work

    Genre – type or category to which a literary work belongs

    Hyperbole – extreme exaggeration to add meaning or make a point

    Imagery – descriptive language that appeals to the five senses

    Irony -  the expression of a certain idea by saying or showing just the opposite

                 Dramatic… when the reader or audience knows something a character does not

                 Situational…   when there is a disparity between what is expected and what actually occurs

                 Verbal…   when the speaker says one thing but means the opposite

    Metaphor – an implied comparison between dissimilar objects:   “Her talent blossomed”

    Motif - a recurring feature of a literary work that is related to the theme

    Onomatopoeia – use of a word whose sound imitates its meaning: “hiss”

    Oxymoron – phrase that consists of two words that are contradictory: “living dead” or “jumbo shrimp”

    Paradox - two or more words or ideas that apparently contradict one another: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"

    Personification – figure of speech in which non-human things are given human characteristics

    Plot - The sequence of events in a literary work

    Point of view - the vantage point or perspective from which a literary work is told

              first-person point of view- the narrator is a character in the story ans refers to himself or herself as "I"

              third-person point of view- the narrator is outside of the story and refers to all characters as "he" or "she"

              omniscient third-person point of view- the narrator also refers to characters as "he" or "she," but reveals information about the characters that a                   limited third-person narrator would not know, such as what the characters are thinking

    Protagonist - the main character in a literary work, the character who is the focus of the plot and who changes in some way

    Resolution/denouement - end of a literary work when loose ends are tied up and questions are answered

    Rhyme – repetition of similar or identical sounds: “look and crook”

    Rhyme Scheme – pattern of rhyme among lines of poetry [denoted using letters, as in ABAB CDCD EE]

    Rising action - the development of conflict and complications in a literary work

    Setting - The time and place of a literary work

    Simile – a direct comparison of dissimilar objects, usually using like or as:       “I wandered lonely as a cloud”

    Soliloquy - a dramatic device in which a character is alone and speaks his or her thoughts aloud

    Speaker – voice in a poem; the person or thing that is speaking

    Stanza – group of lines forming a unit in a poem

    Stereotype - standardized, conventional ideas about characters, plots and settings

    Suspense – technique that keeps the reader guessing what will happen next  

    Symbol/symbolism – one thing (object, person, place) used to represent something else

    Theme – the underlying main idea of a literary work. Theme differs from the subject of a literary work in that it involves a statement or opinion about the subject.

    Tone – the author’s attitude toward the subject of a work

Last Modified on September 15, 2017