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Literary/ Poetic Devices. Simile. A comparison of two or more unlike things using the words like or as. “Just like dust we settle in this town.” Kasey Musgrave, “Merry-Go-Round”. “New York, c oncrete jungle where dreams are made of…” Jay Z & Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”. Metaphor.

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A comparison of two or more unlike things using the words like or as

“Just like dust we settle in this town.”

Kasey Musgrave, “Merry-Go-Round”


“New York,

concrete jungle where dreams are made of…”

Jay Z & Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”


A comparison between two unlike things in which one thing is spoken of as if it were another


A literary device that exploits readers’ expectations; irony occurs when what is expected turns out to be quite different from what actually happens.

dramatic irony

“And that was how he came to look after the doomed lad who was sacrificed to the village of Umuofia by their neighbors to avoid war and blood-shed. The ill-fated lad was called Ikemefuna.”

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

Dramatic Irony

A form of Irony in which the reader or audience knows more about the circumstances or future events in a story than the characters within it.

verbal irony

Verbal Irony

E.A.P, “The Cask of Amontillado”


“Drink,” I said, presenting him the wine.


“I drink,” he said, “to the buried that repose around us.”


“And I to your long life.”

Occurs when a speaker or narrator says one thing while meaning the opposite

situational irony

Situational Irony

Occurs when an event contradicts the expectations of the characters or the reader.

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

“As the man who had cleared his throat drew up and raised his machete, Okonkwo looked away. He heard the blow. The pot fell and broke in the sand. He heard Ikemefuna cry, “My father, they have killed me!” as he ran towards him. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. “

meter a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry

Meter: A pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry.

My trunk is far too powerful,

no sooner do I sneeze

than windows crack and shatter

from the impact of the breeze.

Jack Prelutsky, “It’s Hard to Be an Elephant”

rhyme scheme a consistent pattern of rhyme throughout a poem

Rhyme SchemeA consistent pattern of rhyme throughout a poem

Because I could not stop for Death, (a)He kindly stopped for me; (b)The carriage held but just ourselves (a)And Immortality. (b)

We slowly drove, he knew no haste, (c) And I had put away (c)My labor, and my leisure too, (d)For his civility. (b)

Emily Dickinson, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death (712)

theme a writer s central idea or main message about life

ThemeA writer’s central idea or main message about life

Example Universal Themes/Ideas

Experience vs. Youth

The coexistence of good and evil

Coming of Age/ Loss of Innocence

The fall from grace and/or fortune


A reference to a well-known person, event, or place

The White House

Secret Service Code: Olympus



Anything that represents itself and also stands for something else, figuratively


A writer or speaker’s

attitude toward a


hyperbole exaggeration
Hyperbole (Exaggeration)

An exaggeration used to suggest strong emotion or create comic effect



A figure of speech that gives human qualities to an animal, object, or idea

Luck let a gentleman seeJust how nice a dame you can beI know the way you’ve treated other guys you’ve been withLuck be a lady with me

Frank Sinatra, “Luck Be a Lady”


“Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore.’”

A regularly repeated line or group of lines in a poem or song, usually at the end of a stanza


We let the world know we were here with everything we did. We laid a lot of memories down. Like tattoos on this town.

Jason Aldean, “Tattoos on this Town”

Repetition of initialconsonant sounds in words that are close together



A verbal expression of sensory experience; descriptive or figurative language used to create word pictures


The writer’s choice of words that helps to convey voice and tone (formal/informal)


Associations and overtones of meaning that affect the meaning of a word/words

extended metaphor
Extended Metaphor

A metaphor extended over several lines


The repetition of sounds at the end of lines of poetry

t h e m e

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth. ~Frost

Central idea or message about life


I wanna go tanning,

I wanna go tanning,

I wanna go tanning.

The repetition of same words (or group of words) at the beginning of 2 or more lines


The repetition of similar vowel sounds with different consonant sounds


The repetition of final consonant sounds

And it took so long just to feel alright,

Remember how to put back the light in my eyes,

I wish I had missed the first time that we kissed,

‘Cause you broke all your promises.