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University Bound English: For Kids Who Care. Literary Terms and Devices Selected from A Handbook to Literature, 8 th Edition by William Harmon and Deano Andrico. allegory.

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university bound english for kids who care

University Bound English: For Kids Who Care

Literary Terms and Devices

Selected from

A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition

by William Harmon and Deano Andrico

allegory
allegory
  • A form of extended METAPHOR or a story within a story in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative are equated with meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. Thus, an allegory is a story in which everything is a symbol. RPM—rebellion, open thinking, manliness; Nurse—hate, control, judgment, conformity
slide3

Wizard of Oz

Lord of the Flies

George Orwell1984Animal Farm

William GoldingLord of the Flies

alliteration
alliteration
  • The repetition of initial identical consonant sounds or any vowel sounds in successive or closely associated syllables, especially stressed syllables.
allusion
allusion
  • A figure of speech that makes brief reference to a historical or literary figure, event, or object. The effectiveness of allusion depends on a body of knowledge shared by writer and reader. A good example is T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and the author’s notes to that poem.
allusion1
allusion

Babe the Blue Ox

anachronism
anachronism
  • Assignment of something to a time when it was not in existence.
anachronism1
anachronism

Back to the Future

analogy
analogy
  • A comparison of two things, alike in certain aspects; particularly a method used in EXPOSITION an DESCRIPTION by which something unfamiliar is explained or described by comparing it to some thing more familiar.
anecdote
anecdote
  • A short NARRATIVE detailing particulars of an interesting EPISODE or event. The term most frequently refers to an incident in the life of an important person and should lay claim to an element of truth.
anecdote1
anecdote
  • Though anecdotes are often used as the basis for short stories, an anecdote lacks complicated PLOT and relates a single EPISODE.
anecdote2
anecdote

John Falstaff

antagonist
antagonist
  • The character directly opposed to the PROTAGONIST. A rival, opponent, or enemy of the PROTAGONIST.
    • non-character entities can be antagonistic (settings or events)
antagonist1
antagonist

Nurse Ratched

17 assonance as in poetry
17. assonance (as in poetry))
  • Same or similar vowel sounds in stressed syllables that end with different consonant sounds. Assonance differs from RHYME in that RHYME is a similarity of vowel and consonant. “Lake” and “fake” demonstrate RHYME; “lake” and “fate” assonance.
avant garde
avant-garde
  • Applied to new writing that shows striking (and usually self-conscious) innovations in style, form, and subject matter.
bildungsroman
Bildungsroman

Great Expectations

Pip

black humor cuckoo s nest
black humor—Cuckoo’s Nest
  • The use of the morbid and the ABSURD for darkly comic purposes in modern literature. The term refers as much to the tone of anger and bitterness as it does to the grotesque and morbid situations, which often deal with suffering, anxiety, and death.
catharsis
catharsis
  • In the Poetics Aristotle, in defining TRAGEDY. Sees it objective as being “through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation [catharsis]of these emotions,”…
climax
climax
  • A rhetorical term for a rising order of importance in the ideas expressed, Such an arrangement is called climatic, and the item of greatest importance is called the climax.
collage
collage
  • In the pictorial arts the technique by which materials not usually associated with one another, such as newspaper clippings, labels, cloth, wood , bottle tops, or theater tickets, are assembled and pasted together on a single surface.
consonance
consonance
  • The relation between words in which the final consonants in the stressed syllables agree but the vowels that precede them differ, as “add-read,” “mill-ball,” and “torn-burn.”
didactic novel
didactic novel
  • Any novel plainly designed to teach a lesson, it is properly used as a synonym for the EDUCATION NOVEL.
dystopia
dystopia
  • Literally, “bad place.” the term is applied to accounts of imaginary worlds, usually in the futre, in which present tendencies are carried ou to their intensely unpleasant culminations. (George Orwell’s 1984, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed)
dystopia1
dystopia

George Orwell’s 1984

epiphany
epiphany
  • Literally a manifestation or showing-forth, usually of some divine being. The Christian festival of Epiphany commemorates the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles in the form of the Magi.
euphemism
euphemism
  • A device in which indirectness replaces directness of statement, usually in an effort to avoid offensiveness.
euphemism1
euphemism

huskybig-bonedheftyportlyplumpfluffy

expressionism
Expressionism
  • A movement affecting painting and literature, which followed and went beyond IMPRESSIONISM in its efforts to “objectify inner experience.” Expressionism was strongest in theater in the 1920s,…
expressionism cont
Expressionism (cont.)
  • …and its entry into other literary forms was probably though the stage. In the novel the presentation of the objective outer world as it expresses itself in the impressions or moods of a character is widely used device.
expressionism1
Expressionism

“The Muse”

Jeff Buckley

“Lady and Her Cat”Millie Shapiro

slide34
foil
  • A foil character is either one who is opposite to the main character or nearly the same as the main character. The purpose of the foil character is to emphasize the traits of the main character by contrast only. A foil is a secondary character who contrasts with a major character.
foreshadowing
foreshadowing
  • The presentation of material in a work in such a way that later events are prepared for. Foreshadowing can result form the establishment of a mood or atmosphere, as in the opening of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness or the first act of Hamlet.
foreshadowing cont
foreshadowing (cont.)
  • It can result from the appearance of physical objects or facts, as do the clues do in a detective story, or from the revelation of a fundamental and decisive character trait. In all cases, the purpose of foreshadowing is to prepare the reader or viewer for action to come.
hubris
hubris
  • overweening pride or insolence that results in the misfortune of the PROTAGONIST of a tragedy. Hubris leads the protagonist to break a moral law, attempt vainly to transcend normal limitations, or ignore a divine warning with calamitous results.
hubris1
hubris

Poseidon

hyperbole
hyperbole
  • Exaggeration. The figure may be used to heighten effect or it may be used for humor.
imagery
imagery
  • Imagery in its literal sense means the collection of IMAGES in a literary work. In another sense it is synonymous with TROPE or FIGURE OF SPEECH.
in medias res
in medias res
  • A term from Horace, literally meaning “in the midst of things.” it is applied to the literary technique of opening a story in the middle of the action and then supplying information about the beginning of the action through flashbacks and other devices for exposition.
irony
irony
  • A broad term referring to the recognition of reality different from appearance. Verbal irony is a FIGURE OF SPEECH in which the actually intent is expressed in words that carry the opposite meaning.
motif
motif
  • A simple element that serves as a basis for expanded narrative; or, less strictly, a conventional situation, device, interest, or incident. In literature, recurrent images, words, objects, phrases, or actions that tend to unify the work are called motives.
motif cont
motif (cont.)
  • Patterns of day and night, blonde and brunette, summer and winter, north and south, white and black; and the game of chess.
  • In books, recurring themes, images, ideas, characters, etc.
oedipus complex
Oedipus Complex
  • In psychoanalysis a libidinal feeling that develops in a child, especially a male child, between the ages of three and six, for the parent of the opposite sex. This attachment is generally accompanied by hostility to the parent of the child’s own sex.
oedipus complex cont
Oedipus Complex (cont.)

Oedipus & the Sphinx

oxymoron
oxymoron
  • A self-contradictory combination of worlds or smaller verbal units. “Oxymoron” itself is an oxymoron, from the Greek meaning “sharp-dull.”
palindrome
palindrome
  • Writing that reads the same for left to right and from right to left, such as the word “civic” or the statement attributed to Napoleon, “Able was I ere I saw Elba.”
parallelism
parallelism
  • Such an arrangement that one element of equal importance with another is similarly developed and phrased, the principle of parallelism dictates that coordinate ideas should have coordinate presentation.
personification
personification
  • A figure that endows animals, ideas, abstractions, and animate objects with human form; the representing of imaginary creatures or things as having human personalities, intelligence and emotions.
protagonist
protagonist
  • The chief character in a work. The word was originally applied to the “first” actor in early Greek drama. The actor was added to the CHORUS and was its leader; …
protagonist1
protagonist
  • …hence the continuing meaning of protagonist and the “first” or chief player. In Greek drama AGON is contest, the protagonist and the ANTAGONIST, the second most important character, are contestants.
satire
satire
  • A work or manner that blends a censorious attitude with humor and wit for improving human institutions or humanity. In America, Eugene…
  • the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
stream of consciousness
Stream of Consciousness
  • The total range of awareness and emotive-mental response of an individual, from the lowest pre-speech level to the highest fully articulated level of rational thought.
surrealism
Surrealism
  • Amovement in art emphasizing the expression of the imagination as realized in dreams and presented without conscious control.
slide61
tone
  • Tone has been used for the attitudes toward the subject and toward the audience implied in literary work. Tone may be formal, informal, intimate, solemn, somber, playful, serious, ironic, condescending, or many another possible attitudes.
tragic flaw
tragic flaw
  • The theory that there is a flaw in the tragic hero that causes his or her downfall. The theory has been revised or refuted by criticism that considers the supposed flaw as an integral and even defining part to the protagonist's character.
utopia
utopia
  • A fiction describing an imaginary ideal world. DYSTOPIA, meaning “bad place,” is the term applied to unpleasant imaginary places, such as those in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984.
utopia1
utopia

Charlotte Perkins Gilman