English 11 literary terms
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English 11 Literary Terms. Archetypes=Type. Hero/Heroine. The chief character in a work of literature . Trickster. Faithful Companion. Outsider/Outcast. Rugged Individualist. Innocent. Villain. Caretaker. Earth Mother. Rebel. Misfit. English 11 Literary Terms. Dramatic Conventions.

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English 11 Literary Terms

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English 11 Literary Terms



  • The chief character in a work of literature.


Faithful Companion


Rugged Individualist




Earth Mother



English 11 Literary Terms

Dramatic Conventions

Stage Directions

  • Written notes within plays which explain movements, gestures, and appearance of actors or actresses in a play


  • A character speaks directly to the audience (thinking aloud about motives, feelings, and decisions)


  • A single person speaking, with or without an audience


  • A character speaks in such a way that some of the characters on stage do not hear what is said (while others do)

Verbal Irony

  • When someone states one thing and means another

Situational Irony

  • Contrast between what is expected to happen and what actually does happen

    Ex. Someone who is loved commits suicide

Dramatic Irony

  • When readers know more about the situation than the characters do


  • Explains the effects of tragic drama on an audience

English 11 Literary Terms Cont.


  • A grotesque or foolish image of a character, achieved through the exaggeration of personality traits


  • A minor character introduced in order to represent the abilities of a more significant character

    (Ex.Millhouse serves as a foil to Bart Simpson.)


  • Traces the career and downfall of an individual


  • Clarifies the persona of the narrative

Figurative & Literal Language

  • Figurative Language-an exaggeration

  • Literal Language-literally true


  • All of the words which refer to the objects or qualities which appeal to the senses and feelings


  • A rhetorical (not requiring a response) term for a speech addresses to someone or something in the beginning of a poem or essay

    Clue: When your parents ask, “Who do you think you are?” You are not supposed to respond.


  • The substitution of the name of a thing by the name of an attribute of it,

    (Ex.the “crown” =monarchy)


  • A part is used to describe the whole.

  • Ex: all hands on deck=sailors

  • All aboard=boarding a train

Language English 11 Literary Terms Devices

Rhetorical Question

Not requiring a response


The manner or mood of a passage


  • Choice of words in a piece of work; the kind of vocabulary that is used

i.e. Shakespearean language in a Shakespeare play

Slang is used in an Eminem movie


  • The style and manner of speaking from one particular area

    (Ex.New Yorkers are from “New Yark”)


  • An ironical statement intended to hurt or insult

    (ex. “Brilliant,” stated to a student who is clearly wrong.)

Elevated Language/Style


  • Literature which represents something in a comical sense, making it appear ridiculous


  • The building up of sentence or statement using repeated syntactic units (repeated words and sounds)


  • The use of the kinds of expression and grammar associated with ordinary, everyday speech rather than formal language

Ex. Cool, Phat!


  • Connotation-emotional response evoked by a word

    Ex. Kitten=soft, warm, cuddly

  • Denotation-literal meaning

    Ex. Kitten=young cat


  • The use of a word in a way that plays on its different meanings.

    Ex. “The hungry gorilla went ape.”


  • Contrast between appearance and actuality

Stream of Consciousness

  • Present the flow of a character’s seemingly unconnected thoughts, responses, and sensations.

English 11 Literary Terms

Literary Forms


Grotesque characters, bizarre situations, and violent events

Historical Fiction

  • Fiction that is loosely based on some historical period


  • Short popular saying embodying a general truth

    Ex. “Look before you leap”


  • A generally accepted principle or truth expressed in a short, witty manner

    Ex. “A rolling stone gathers no moss.”


  • Originally an inscription on a monument…now used to describe a witty saying or poem with a sharp, satiric, or amusing ending

    Ex: “In God We Trust”

Tall Tale

  • Humorous story characterized by exaggeration

  • Ex: Jack and the Beanstalk

English 11 Literary Terms



Similarity of sound between two words


  • The repetition of a regular rhythmic unit in a line of poetry.


  • One stressed syllable indicated by a `

  • Two stressed syllables indicated by a


  • An unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable


  • Five feet


  • The accent is on a specific part of the word

Masculine Rhyme

  • The accent is on a specific part of the word, and stressed in a deep voice.

Blank Verse

  • A poem written in blank verse consists of unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter.

Free Verse

  • Poetry that does not have regular patterns of rhyme and meter


  • The process of determining meter; when you scan a line of poetry, you mark its stressed and unstressed syllables to identify the rhythm


  • Departure from normal word order, common in poetry


A sequence of repeated consonantal sounds in a stretch of language

Example: Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door.” (from “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe)


  • A passing reference in a work of literature to something outside itself.

    Example: “Speak to my gossip VENUS one fair word.”


  • The correspondence, or near-correspondence, in two words of the stressed vowel, and sometimes those which follow, but not of the consonants (unlike rhyme).

    Example: Can and fat food and droop

    Child and silence nation and traitor


A poem or song which tells a story in simple, colloquial language.

Example: “O What is That Sound” by W. H. Auden

Feminine Rhyme

  • A rhyme in which two differing sounds in two words are followed by stressed rhyming syllables and unstressed rhyming syllables

  • Example: revival, survival, arrival

End Rhyme

Poetry that rhymes at the end of the line

Internal Rhyme

Poetry that rhymes in the middle of the line

Slant Rhyme

Words that sounds similar with a hint of a rhyme (inexact rhyme)



Repeating a Stanza

Example: “Nevermore” from “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe


  • Repeating of words or sounds in poetry

  • Example: “May the warp be…/May the weft be…/May the border be…” (from the “Song of the Sky Loom,” a Navajo song)


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