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Glossary of World Literature - Literary Terms

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Allegory
a story in which people, things, and actions represent an idea or generalization about life; they often havea strong moral or lesson.
Alliteration
the repetition of initial consonant sounds in words.
Allusion
a literary reference to a familiar person, place, thing, or event.
Analogy
a comparison of two or more similar objects, suggesting that if they are alike in certain respects, they will probably be alike in other ways as well.
Anecdote
a short summary of a humorous event used to make a point.
Antagonist
the person or thing working against the protagonist, or hero, of the work.
Antithesis
using opposite ideas in the same thought or sentence to emphasize a point.
Assonance
the repetition of vowel sounds without repeatin consonants.
Autobiography
and author's account or story of her/his own life.
Biography
the story of a person's life writeen by another person.
Blank Verse
an unrhymed for of poetry -- each line normally consists of 10 syllables in which every other syllable is stressed.
Characterization
the method an author uses to reveal characters and their personalities.
Climax
usually the most intense point in a story -- a series of struggles or conflicts build a story or play toward this.
Comedy
literature in which human errors or problems appear funny - these stories end on a happy note.
Conflict
the problem or struggle n a story that triggers the action - there are five basic types.
Consonance
the repetition of consonant sounds. Although it's similar to alliteration, consonance is not limited to the first letters of words.
Couplet
a pair of lines of verse of the same length that usually rhyme.
Diction
an author's choice of words based on their correctness, clearness, or effectiveness.
Drama
the form of literature known as play; but drama also refers to the type of serious play that is often concerned with the leading character's relationship to society.
End Rhyme
the rhyming of words that appear at the ends of two or more lines of poetry.
Epic
a long narrative poem that tells of the deeds and adventureers of a hero.
Epithet
a word or phrase used in place of a person's name; it's characteristic of that person.
Exposition
writing that is intended to explain something that might oherwise be difficult to understand; in a play or novel, it would be the portion thaat gives the background or situation surrounding the story.
Fable
a short fictionaal narratie that teaches a lesson; it usually includes animals that talk and act like people.
Flashback
returning to an earlier time (in a story) for the purpose of making something in the present clearer.
Foreshadowing
giving hints or clues of what is to come later in a story.
Free Verse
poetry that does not have a regular meter or rhyme scheme.
Haiku
a form of Japanese poetry that has three lines: the first line has five syllables, the second has seven syllables, and the third has five syllables - the subject of the haiku has traditionally been nature.
Hubris
derived from the Greek word "hybris," means "excessive pride" - in Green tragedy, it's often viewed as the flaw that leads to the downfall of the tragic hero.
Hyperbole
an exaggeration or overstatement.
Imagery
the use of words to create a certain picture in the readers mind; imagery is usually based on sensory details.
Internal Rhyme
rhyme that occurs within a line of verse.
Irony: Dramatic
when the audience sees a character's mistakes, but the character doesn't.
Irony: Verbal
when the writer says one thing and means another.
Irony: Situational
when there is a great difference between the purpose of a particluar action and the result.
Metaphor
a metaphor that is alluded to throughout a literary work.
Mood
the feeling a text arouses in the reader: happiness, peacefulness, sadness, etc.
Moral
particular value or lesson the author is trying to get across to the reader.
Pathos
a Greek reeot meaning "suffering" or "passion;" it usually describes the part in a play or story that is intended to elicit pity or sorrow from the audience or reader.
Personification
metaphorical figure of speech in which animals, ideas, and things are represented as having human qualities.
Plot/Plot Line
the action or sequence of event in a story; it usually is a series: exposition, rising action, climax, faling action, and resolution, as the story develops.
First Person Narrative
(Point of View)
the most objective point of view, allowing the story teller to record the action from his or her own point of view, being unaware of any of the characters' thoughts or feelings.
Protagonist
the main character or hero of the story.
Pseudonym
this term is also referred to as "pen name" - it means "false name" and applies to the name a writer uses in place of his or her given name.
Quest
features a main character who is seeking to find something or achieve a goal; in the process, this character encounters and overcomes a series of obstacles, returning wiser and more experienced.
Renaissance
means "rebirth;" is the period of history following the Middle Ages, beginning in the late fourteenth century and continuing through the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; this term new refers to any period of time in which intellectual and artistic interest is revived or reborn.
Repetition
the repeating of a word, a phrase, or an idea for emphasis or for rhythmis effect: "someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door . . . "
Rhyme
the similarity or likenes of sound existing between two words: "sat" and "cat" are perfect rhymes because the vowel and final consonant sounds are exactly the same.
Rising Action
the series of struggles that builds up a story or play toward a climax.
Sarcasm
the use of praise to mock someone or something.
Satire
a literary tone used to make fun of human vice or weakness, often with the intent of correcting or changing the subject of the attack.
Setting
the time and place in which the action of a literary work occurs.
Short Story
a brief fictional work; it usually contains one major conflict and at least one main character.
Simile
a combination of two things that are unlike, usually using the words like or as
Soliloquy
a speech delivered by a character when he or she is alone on stage; it is as though the character is thinking out loud.
Stereotype
a form that does not change; this type of character has no individuality and fits the mold of that particular kind of person.
Symbol
a person, place, thing, or an event used to represent something else: dove/peace, white/good, black/evil
Theme
the statement about life that a writer is trying to get across in a piece of writing; in most cases this will be implied rather than directly spelled out.
Tragedy
a literary work in which the hero is destroyed by some character flsw or by forces beyond his or her control.
Tragic Hero
a character who experiences an inner stuggle because of a character flaw; that struggle ends in the defeat of the hero.

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