Literary Terms and Devices 1. acronym A word formed by combining the initial letters or syllables of a series of words to for a name, as radar, from radio
detecting and ranging. 1. acronym 2. act (as in drama) A major division of DRAMA. In varying degrees the fine-act
structure corresponded to the fine main divisions of dramatic action: EXPOSITION, COMPLICATION, CLIMAX, FALLING ACTION, and CATASTROPHE.
2. act (as in drama) Mel Gibson as Hamlet Kenneth Branagh
Derek Jacobi 3. adaptation The rewriting of a work from its original form to fit it for another
medium; also the new form of such a rewritten work. 3. adaptation 4. aesthetics The study or philosophy of the
beautiful in nature, art and literature. It has both a philosophical dimension What is art? What is beauty? What is the relationship of the beautiful to other values?
4. aesthetics (this is a painting by Chuck Close, entitled Self-Portrait)
4. aesthetics Picassos Housegarden 5. agrarian Literary people living in an agricultural society, or espousing
the merits of such a society, as the Physiocrats did. In literary history and criticism, however, the term is usually applied to a group of Southern 5. agrarian
American writers who published in Nashville, Tennessee, between 1922 and 1925 The Fugitive, a LITTLE MAGAZINE of poetry and some criticism championing agrarian REGIONALISM but attacking
the old high-castle Brahmins of the Old South. 5. agrarian Hamlin Garland
Literature in its most comprehensive sense is the autobiography of humanity. -Bernard Berenson 6. allegory
A form of extended METAPHOR 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. RPMrebellion, open
thinking, manliness; Nursehate, control, judgment, conformity 6. allegory (cont.) Samuel Coleridge: the traditional distinction between a symbol and allegory is that an
allegory is but a translation of abstract notions into picturelanguage, whereas a Symbol always partakes of the Reality which it makes intelligible. Wizard of Oz
6. allegory George Orwell 1984 Animal Farm Lord of the Flies
William Golding Lord of the Flies 7. alliteration The repetition of initial
identical consonant sounds or any vowel sounds in successive or closely associated syllables, especially stressed syllables. 8. 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. Eliots The Waste Land and the authors
notes to that poem. 8. allusion RPMs shorts refer to Moby Dick, classic book by Melville (90). Also, to the Bible and Pontius Pilate a patient says, I wash my hands
of the whole deal (232). Harding makes reference to the Lone Ranger, Batman, or Zorro saying RPM is a masked man superhero (258). 8. allusion
Babe the Blue Ox 9. anachronism Assignment of something to a time when it was not in
existence. 9. anachronism Back to the Future 10. 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.
Will Castle Eliza : Dorothy :: Higgins : Wizard 10. analogy 1. find is to lose as construct is to: build demolish misplace materials
2. find is to locate as feign is to: pane pretend line mean 10. analogy 3. find is to kind as feign is to: pane pretend
line mean 4. pane is to pain as weigh is to: scale pounds weight way 5. bring is to brought as sing is to: sang melody song record 10. analogy
6. dime is to tenth as quarter is to: twenty-five fourth home coin 7. plates is to dishes as arms is to: Legs hands farms weapons rhlschool.com Contemporary literature.
Easier to shock than to convince. -Albert Camus 11. anapest A metrical FOOT consisting of three syllables, with two
unaccented syllables followed by an accented one. 11. anapest William Wordsworth
12. 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. 12. anecdote Though anecdotes are often used as the basis for short stories, an anecdote lacks complicated PLOT and relates a single
EPISODE. 12. anecdote John Falstaff
13. annotation The addition of explanatory notes to a text by the author or an editor to explain, translate, cite sources, give bibliographical data, comment, GLOSS, or PARAPHRASE.
13. annotation A VARIOUM EDITION represents the ultimate in annotation. An annotated BIBLIOGRAPHY, in addition to the standard bibliographical
data includes comments on the works listed. 13. annotation Northrop Frye
14. 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) 14. antagonist Nurse Ratched 15. anthology
Literally a gathering of flowers, the term designates a collection of writing, either prose or poetry, usually by various authors. 15. anthology
Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism, what will be grasped at once. -Cyril Connolly
16. aside (as in drama) A dramatic convention by which an actor directly addresses the audience but is not supposed to be heard by the other actors on the stage.
16. aside (as in drama) Roderigo and Iago 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.
17. assonance (as in poetry) John Donne 18. autobiography The story of a persons life as
written by that person. 18. autobiography Maya Angelou
Charles Bukowski 18. autobiography 19. avant-garde Applied to new writing that
shows striking (and usually selfconscious) innovations in style, form, and subject matter. 19. avant-garde John Ashbery Frank OHara
20. bard In modern use, simply a POET. Historically the term refers to poets who recited verses glorifying the deeds of heroes and leaders to the
accompaniment of musical instrument such as the harp. 20. bard Shakespeare
Our literature is substitute for religion, and so is our religion. -T.S. Eliot 21. Bildungsroman A NOVEL that deals with the
development of a young person, usually from adolescence to maturity; it is frequently autobiographical. 21. Bildungsroman Great
Expectations Pip 22. biography A written account of a persons life, a life history. LETTERS, MEMOIRS, DIARIES,
JOURNALS, and AUTOBIOGRAPHIES ought to be distinguished from biography proper. 22. biography MEMOIRS, DIARIES,
JOURNALS, and AUTOBIOGRAPHIES are closely related to each other in that each is recollection written down by the subject of the work. 22. biography
Paul Burrell Princess Diana 23. black humorCuckoos 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.
23. black humor Kurt Vonnegut 24. canon In a figurative sense, a standard
of judgment; a criterion. In a literal sense, the absolute bestthe hall of fameas determined by the qualified readership. 24. canon
Harold Bloom 25. 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, 25. catharsis but he does not explain what
proper purgation means. Whatever Aristotle means thereby, catharsis remains one of the great unsettled issues. 25. catharsis Irene Jacob
in Othello To provoke dreams of terror in the slumber of prosperity has become the moral duty of literature.
-Ernst Fischer 26. character It is a brief descriptive SKETCH of a personage who typifies dome definite quality.
26. character Lennie Small Don Quixote 27. clich From the French word for
stereotype plate; a block for printing. Hence, any expression so often used that its freshness and clarity have worn off is called a clich, a stereotyped form.
27. clich Jerry Seinfeld George W. Bush 28. 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.
28. climax H.G. Wells 29. 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.
29. collage Edgar Allan Poe confidant a close friend or associate to whom secrets are confided or
with whom private matters and problems are discussed could be the reader, if narrator offers exclusive information 30. conflict The struggle that grows out of
the interplay of two opposing forces. Conflict provides interest suspense, and tension. 30. conflict 1.) a struggle against nature 2.) a struggle against another
person, usually the ANTAGONIST 3.) a struggle against society 4.) a struggle for mastery by two elements within the person 30. conflict
William Faulkner In an incarcerate society, free literature can exist only as denunciation and hope.
-Eduardo Galeano 31. 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, millball, and torn-burn. 31. consonance John Milton T.S. Eliot
32. couplet Two consecutive lines of VERSE with END RHYMES. 32. couplet
T.S. Eliot Ezra Pound 33. denouement Literally, unknotting. The final unraveling of a plot; the
solution of a mystery; an explanation or outcome. Denouement is sometimes used as a synonym for FALLING ACTION. 33. denouement
Scooby-Doo Stories 34. dialogue Conversation of two or more people. Embodies certain values 1.)advances the action and is not mere
ornament 2.)consistent with the character of the speakers. 34. dialogue 3.)gives impression of naturalness without being verbatim record
4.)presents the interplay of ideas and personalities 5.)varies according to the various speakers 6.)serves to give relief from passages 34. dialogue
Ernest Hemingway James Thurber 35. diction Choice and use of words in
speech or writing. 35. diction Shirley Jackson
Literature decays only as men become more and more corrupt. -Goethe 36. didactic novel Any novel plainly designed to
teach a lesson, it is properly used as a synonym for the EDUCATION NOVEL. 36. didactic novel The Jungle
Upton Sinclair 37. dime novel A cheaply printed, paperbound TALE of adventure or detection,
or originally selling for a bout ten cents; an American equivalent of the British PENNY DREADFUL. 37. dime novel
Malaeska 38. discourse Mode or category of expression, in grammar, we speak of discourse as direct or indirect. Discourse refers to
ways of speaking that are bound by 38. discourse ideological, professional, political, cultural, or sociological communities. Way in which the
use of language in a particular domain helps to constitute the objects it refers to. 38. discourse Sandra Looney
Augustana John Dudley USD 39. dynamic character A character who develops or changes as a result of the actions
of the plot. Eliza Doolittle, Pip, Marguerite Johnson, Pi Patel, Esperanza Cordero 39. dynamic character
Sandra Cisneros Don Quixote 40. 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 Orwells 1984, Ursula K. Le Guins The Dispossessed)
40. dystopia George Orwells 1984
It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature. -Henry James 41. elegy A sustained and formal poem setting forth meditations on death
or another solemn theme. The meditation often is occasioned by the death of a particular person, but it may be generalized observation or the expression of a solemn mood.
41. elegy Oleg Liubkivsky The Elegy of Far Autumn, 1992
42. ellipsis The omission of one or more words that, while essential to a grammatic structure, are easily supplied. () only three periods!
43. epic A long narrative poem in elevated style presenting characters of high position in adventures forming and organic whole through their relation to a central heroic figure and through
their development of episodes important to the history of a nation or race. The epic itself is the product of a single genius. 43. epic (cont.) (1) The hero is of imposing nature
(2) The setting is vast (3) The action consists of deeds of valor or superhuman courage (4) The supernatural (5) A style of sustained elevation (6) The poet retains a measure of objectivity
43. epic Odysseus Trojan Horse 44. 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. 45. euphemism A device in which indirectness replaces directness of statement, usually in an effort to avoid offensiveness.
45. euphemism husky big-boned hefty portly plump
fluffy National literature begins with fables and ends with novels. -Joseph Joubert
46. exposition (as in a storys plot) Its purpose is to explain something. Identification, definition, classification, illustration, comparison, and analysis.
46. exposition (as in a storys plot) Harry Potter 47. 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, 47. 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.
47. Expressionism (cont.) The ANTIREALISTIC NOVEL is also a genre in the expressionistic tradition. More recent novelists, such as Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Thomas Pynchon,
Joseph Heller, and Ken Kesey, ca also be included in the expressionistic tradition. 47. Expressionism The Muse
Lady and Her Cat Millie Shapiro Jeff Buckley 48. falling action The second half or RESOLUTION
of a dramatic plot. It follows the CLIMAX, beginning often with a tragic force, exhibits the failing fortunes of the hero (in a tragedy) and the successful efforts in the COUNTERPLAYERS, and culminates in the CATASTROPHE.
48. falling action flat character a literary character whose personality can be defined by one or two traits and does not
change in the course of the story 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. 49. foot (as in poetry)
The unit of rhythm in verse, whether QUANTITATIVE or ACCENTUAL-SYLLABIC. 49. foot (as in poetry) William
Blake 50. 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 Conrads Heart of Darkness or the first act of Hamlet. 50. 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.
50. foreshadowing Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
Maya Angelous Caged Bird Sings 50. foreshadowing Literature is a form of permanent insurrection. Its
mission is to arouse, to disturb, to alarm, to keep men in a constant state of dissatisfaction with themselves. -Mario Vargas Llosa 51. history play (as in
Shakespeare) Strictly speaking, any drama whose time setting is in some period earlier than that in which it is written. It is most widely used, however, as a synonym for CHRONICLE PLAY.
51. history play (as in Shakespeare) King John 52. 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.
52. hubris Poseidon 53. hyperbole
Exaggeration. The figure may be used to heighten effect or it may be used for humor. 53. hyperbole Kurt Vonnegut
54. iamb (as in poetry) A foot consisting of an unaccented syllable and an accented ( ). The most common rhythm in English verse.
54. iamb (as in poetry) Shakespeare 55. idiom A use of words peculiar to a given
language; an expression that cannot be translated literally. To carry out literally means to carry something out (of a room perhaps), but idiomatically it means to see that something is done, as to carry out a command.
55. idiom James Thurber Literature is mostly about
having sex and not much about having children. Life is the other way around. -David Lodge 56. 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. 56. imagery
Ernest Hemingway F. Scott Fitzgerald 57. Imagism The objectives of Imagist are:
1.) to use the language of common speech but to employ always the exact wordnot the nearly exact word; 2.) to avoid the clich; 3.) to create new rhythms as the expressions of a new MOOD;
57. Imagism (cont.) 4.) to allow absolute freedom in the choice of subject; 5.) to present an image (that is, to be concrete, firm, definite in their picturesharsh in outline);
6.) to strive always for concentration; 7.) to suggest rather than offer complete statements 57. Imagism (cont.)
Jack Kerouac On the Road William Carlos Williams Selected Poetry 58. Impressionism
A highly personal manner of writing in which the author presents materials as they appear to an individual temperament at a precise moment and from a particular vantage point rather than as they are presumed to be in
actuality. 58. Impressionism Ninfee Bianche Claude Monet
1899 59. 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. 59. in medias res
60. internal rhyme (as in poetry) Rhyme that occurs at some place before the last syllables in a line. In the opening line of Eliots GerontionHere I am, an old man in a dry monththere
is internal rhyme between am and man and between I and dry. 60. internal rhyme (as in poetry) Li-Young Lee
A great literature is chiefly the product of doubting and inquiring minds in revolt against the immoveable certainties of the nation.
-H.L. Mencken 61. 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. 61. irony 62. Knstlerroman
A form of the APPRENCESHIP NOVEL in which the protagonist is an artist struggling from childhood to maturity toward an understanding of his or her creative mission. The most famous Knstlerroman in English
is James Joyces A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. 62. Knstlerroman Chaim Potok
63. limerick A form of light verse that follows a definite pattern: five anapestic lines of which the first,second, and fifth, consisting of three feet, rhyme; and the third and fourth lines,
consisting of two feet, rhyme. 63. limerick There once was a man from Nantucket, Who kept all of his cash in a bucket, But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man, And as for the bucket, Nantucket. But he followed the pair to Pawtucket, The man and the girl with the bucket; And he said to the man, He was welcome to Nan, But as for the bucket, Pawtucket.
64. masque In medieval Europe there existed, partly as survivals or adaptations of ancient pagan seasonal ceremonies, species of games or SPECTACLES
characterized by a procession of masked figures. 64. masque Romeo and Juliet
Edgar Allan Poe 65. maxim A concise statement, usually drawn from experience and inculcating some practical advice; an ADAGE. Hoyles
When in doubt, win the trick is a maxim in bridge. 65. maxim Ask not what your country can
do for you ask what you can do for your country. John F. Kennedy
Literature is doomed if liberty of thought perishes. -George Orwell 66. memoir A form of autobiographical writing dealing usually with the
recollections of one who has been a part of or has witnessed significant events. Memoirs differ from AUTOBIOGRAPHY proper in that they are usually 66. memoir
concerned with personalities and actions other than those of the writer, whereas autobiography stresses the inner and private life of its subject. 66. memoir
James Frey, A Million Little Pieces 67. metaphysical Although sometimes used in the
broad sense of philosophical poetry, the term is commonly applied to the work of the seventeenth-century writers called the Metaphysical Poets.
67. metaphysical They formed a school in the sense of employing similar methods and of revolting against the conventions of Elizabethan love poetry, in particular the PETRARCHAN
CONCEIT. 67. metaphysical John Donne 68. meter (as in poetry)
The recurrence in poetry of a rhythmic pattern, or the RHYTHM established by the regular occurrence of similar units of sound. The four basic kinds of rhythmic patters are:
68. meter (as in poetry) (cont.) 1.) 2.) 3.) 4.) QUANTITIVE
accentual syllabic accentual-syllabic 68. meter (as in poetry) 69. 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. 69. 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. 69. motif
Cervantes Don Quixote 70. mood In literary work the mood is the emotional-intellectual attitude of the author toward the
subject. 70. mood Literature is both my joy and my comfort: it can add to every happiness and there is
no sorrow it cannot console. -Pliny the Younger 71. muses Nine goddesses represented as presiding over the various departments of art and science.
They are the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. In literature, their traditional significance I that of inspiring and helping poets. 71. Muses
(1)Calliope (epic) (6)Polyhymnia (sacred choric (2)Clio (history) poetry) (3)Erato (lyrics and (7)Terpischore love poetry)
(choral dance (4)Euterpe (music) and song) (5)Melpomene (8)Thalia (comedy) (tragedy) (9)Urania (astronomy)
71. Muses http://shekinah.elysiumgates.com/muse/muses.jpg 72. Naturalism A term best reserved for a literary
movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It draws its name from its basic assumption that everything real exists in NATURE, and 72. Naturalism (cont.)
conceived as the world of objects, actions, and forces that yield their secrets to objective scientific inquiry. Naturalism is a response to the revolution in thought that science has produced. From Freud it gains a vielw of the
determinism of the iner and subconscious self. 72. Naturalism (cont.) Naturalist ic worlks tend to emphasize either a biological or socioeconomic determinism.
Pessimistic about human capabilities life is a vicious trap; frank in portrayal of humans and animals being driven by fundamental urgesfear, hunger, and sex.
72. Naturalism Stephen Crane 73. Nobel prize The Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Bernhard
Nobel willed the income from practically his entire estate for the establishment of annual in the literature and other fields. 73. Nobel prize (cont.) Originally, the literature prize was
to go to the person who had produced during the year the most eminent piece of work in the field of idealistic literature; in practice, however, the prize rewards recipients total career, and some of the literature is not notably
idealistic. 73. Nobel prize Ernest Hemingway 1954
T.S. Eliot 1948 William Golding 1983
74. noir An adjective taken over from the phrase FILM NOIR to apply to any work, especially one involving crime, that is notably dark, brooding cynical,
complex, and pessimistic. 74. noir http://www.slushpile.net/wp-content/uploads/2006/06/irish%20noir.jpg 75. novel (and nonfiction novel)
Novel is used in its broadest sense to designate any extended fictional narrative almost always in prose. Nonfiction Novel is a classification offered by Truman Capote for his in Cold Blood,
75. novel (and nonfiction novel) when which a historical event is described in a way that exploits some of the devices of fiction, including an nonlinear time sequence and access to inner states of mind and feeling
not commonly present in historical writing. 75. novel (and nonfiction novel) J.D. Salinger
Charlotte Perkins Gilman Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree. -Ezra Pound
76. novella A short tale or short story, a book of 50-100 pages; longer than a short story, but not as long or involved as a NOVEL.
76. novella 77. ode A single, unified strain of exalted lyrical verse, directed to a single purpose, and dealing with one theme.
77. ode John Keats 78. 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 childs own sex.
78. Oedipus Complex (cont.) Oedipus & the Sphinx 79. omniscient point of view The POINT OF VIEW in a work of
fiction in which the narrator is capable of knowing, seeing, and telling all. It is characterized by freedom in the shifting from the exterior world to the inner selves of a number of
79. omniscient point of view characters. A freedom in movement in both time and place, and freedom of the narrator to comment on the meaning of actions.
79. omniscient point of view George Orwells 1984 Joseph Stalin
79. omniscient point of view 79. omniscient point of view 79. omniscient point of view To my mind that literature is
best and most enduring which is characterized by a noble simplicity. -Mark Twain 80. onomatopoeia Words that by their sound
suggest their meaning: hiss, buzz, whirr, sizzle. 80. onomatopoeia 81. oxymoron A self-contradictory
combination of worlds or smaller verbal units. Oxymoron itself is an oxymoron, from the Greek meaning sharp-dull. 81. oxymoron
82. 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. 82. palindrome 82. palindrome Racecar
I did roll--or did I? Hannah Poop 83. 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.
83. parallelism 84. paraphrase A restatement of an idea in such a way as to retrain the meaning while changing the diction and
form. A paraphrase is often an amplification 84. paraphrase of the original for the purpose of clarity, though the term is also used for any rather
general restatement of an expression or passage. 84. paraphrase 85. parody A composition imitating
another, usually serious, piece. It is designed to ridicule a work or its style or author. 85. parody Ernest: What is the difference
between literature and journalism? Gilbert: Oh! journalism is unreadable, and literature is not read. -Oscar Wilde
86. persona Literally, a mask. The term is widely used to refer to a second half created by an author and through whom the narrative is told.
86. persona The persona can be not a character but an implied author; that is, a voice not directly the authors but created by the author
and through which the author speaks. 86. persona John Berryman
87. 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. 87. personification 88. Petrarchan Sonnet The ITALIAN SONNET A
SONNET divided into an OCTAVE rhyming abbaabba and a SESTET rhyming cdecde. 88. Petrarchan Sonnet Petrarch
89. plot Although an indispensable part of all fiction and drama, plot is a concept about which there has been much disagreement. A plot, Aristotle maintained, should have
unity: 89. plot it should imitate one action and that a whole, the structural union of the parts being such that, if any one of them is
displaced or removed, the whole will be disjointed and disturbed. 89. plot 90. pragmatism
A term, first used by C.S. Peirce in 1878, describing a doctrine that determines value through the test of consequences or utility. 90. pragmatism
Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but molds it to its purpose. -Oscar Wilde 91. prelude
A short poem, introductory in character, prefixed to a long poem or to a section of a long poem. Rarely, as in the case of Wordsworths famous Prelude, a poem so entitled may itself be lengthy, although Wordsworths Prelude was written as
an introduction to a much longer but incomplete work. 91. prelude 92. prologue An introduction most frequently
associated with drama and especially common in England in the plays of Restoration and the eighteenth century. 92. prologue
93. Prose poem A POEM printed as a PROSE, with both margins justified. 93. Prose poem 94. 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; 94. 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. 94. protagonist (cont.) Batman/Spiderman Pip from
Great Expectations 95. proverb A saying that briefly and memorably expresses some recognized truth about life; originally preserved by oral tradition, though it may be
transmitted in written literature as well. Proverbs may owe their appeal to metaphor, antithesis, a play on words, rhyme, or alliteration or parallelism. 95. proverb
One may recollect generally that certain thoughts or facts are to be found in a certain book; but without a good index such a recollection may hardly be more available than that of the cabin boy,who knew
where the ships tea kettle was because he saw it fall overboard. -Horace Binney 96. Pulitzer Prize Annual prizes for journalism, literature, and music, awarded
annually since 1917 by the School of Journalism and the Board of Trustees of Columbia University. The prizes are supported by a bequest from Joseph Pulitzer.
96. Pulitzer Prize John Steinbeck 1940 Margaret Mitchell 1937 Grapes of Wrath Gone with the Wind 97. quatrain
A stanza of four lines. Robert Frosts In a Disused Graveyard consists of four quatrains, in iambic tetrameter, each in a different rhyme scheme.
97. quatrain 98. Realism Realism is, in the broadest literary sense, fidelity to actuality in its representation; a term loosely synonymous with
VERISIMILITURD; and in this sense it has been a significant element in almost every school of writing. 98. Realism
99. refrain One or more words repeated at intervals in a poem, usually at the end of a stanza. The most regular is the use of the same line at the close of each stanza (as is common in BALLAD).
99. refrain 100. Renaissance This word, meaning rebirth, is commonly applied to the period of transition from the medieval to the
modern world in Western Europe. 100. Renaissance Commonwealth Interregnum (16491660), Early Tudor Age (c. 1500-1557), Elizabethan Age (1558-1603), Jacobean Age (1603-1625),
Caroline Age (1625-1642) 100. Renaissance The oldest books are only just out to those who have not read them.
-Samuel Butler 101. requiem A chant embodying a preayer for the repse of the dead a dirge; a solemn mass beginning as in Requiem aeternam dona
eis, Donime. In our time the word has been broadened to mean almost anything sad. 101. requiem 107. resolution (as in plot)
The events following the CLIMAX. Synonym for FALLING ACTION. Shows what is resolved in the end of a work. 107. resolution (as in plot)
102. rhyme scheme The pattern in which RHYME sounds occur in a stanza. Rhyme schemes, for the purpose of analysis, are usually presented by the assignment of
the same letter of the alphabet to each similar sound in a stanza. 102. rhyme scheme 103. rhythm (as in poetry)
The passage of regular or approximately equivalent time intervals between definite events or the recurrence of specific sound or kinds of sound.
103. rhythm (as in poetry) 104. rising action The part of a dramatic PLOT that has to do with the COMPLICATION of the action. It begins with the EXCITING FORCE, gains the
interest and power as the opposing groups come into CONFILICT (the hero usually being in the ascendancy), and proceeds to the CLIMAX. 104. rising action (cont.)
105. romance The term romance has had special meanings as a kind of fiction since the early years of the novel. 105. romance
What one knows best iswhat one has learned not from books but as a result of books, through the reflections to which they have given rise. -Chamfort
106. Romanticism The freeing of the artist and writer from restraints and rules and suggesting that phase of individualism marked by the encouragement of revolutionary
political ideas. The term designates a literary and philosophical theory 106. Romanticism that tends to see the individual at the center of all life, and it places the individual, therefore,
at the center of art, making literature valuable as an expression of unique feelings and particular attitudes. 106. RomanticismWilliam Worsdworth
round character A round character is a major character in a work of fiction who encounters conflict and is changed by it. Round characters tend to be more fully developed and described
than flat, or minor characters. round characterChief Bromden 108. 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. 108. satire
ONeill, Edith Wharton, Sinclair Lewis, George Kaufman and Moss Hart, John P. Marquand, and Joseph Heller have commented satirically on human beings and their institutions. Two major types: FORMAL SATIRE and
INDIRECT SATIRE. 108. satire 109. scansion A system for describing conventional rhythms by
dividing lines into FEET, indicating the locations of binomial ACCENTS, and counting the syllables. 109. scansion
110. schema The mental connections made in the mindwhat controls learning and behavior. Psychologically, that which fascinates and compels.
110. schema (cont.) Laurence Fishburne from Othello The easiest books are generally the best, for whatever
author is obscure and difficult in his own language certainly does not think clearly. -Lord Chesterfield 111. science fiction A form of fantasy in which
scientific facts, assumptions, or hypotheses form the basis, by logical extrapolation, of adventures in the future, on other planets in other dimensions in time or space, or under new variants of scientific
law. 111. science fiction Alien vs. Predator 111. science fiction
Ray Bradbury 112. semantics The study of meaning; sometimes limited to linguistic meaning; and sometimes used
to discriminate between surface and substance. 112. semantics Michel Foucault
113. semiotics The study of the rules that enable social phenomena, considered as SIGNS, to have meaning. When semiotics is used in literary criticism, it deals not with the simple relation
113. semiotics between sign and significance, but with literary conventions, such as those of prosody, genre, or received interpretations of literary
devices at particular times. 113. semiotics Jacques Derrida 114. Sentimentalism
The term is used in two senses: (1) an overindulgence in emotion, especially the conscious effort to induce emotion in order to enjoy it; (2) an optimistic overemphasis of the goodness of humanity
(SENSIBILITY). 114. Sentimentalism 115. Shakespearean Sonnet The ENGLISH SONNET, rhyming abab cdcd efef gg. It is
called the Shakespearean sonnet because Shakespeare was its most distinguished practitioner. 115. Shakespearean Sonnet Let us answer a book of ink
with a book of flesh and blood. -Ralph Waldo Emerson 116. short story A short story is a relatively brief fictional NARATIVE in PROSE, it may range in length
from the SHORT-SHORT STORY of 500 words up the the long-short story of 12,000 to 15,000 words. 116. short story
117. sonnet A poem almost invariable of fourteen lines and following one of several set rhyme schemes. The two basic sonnet types are the ITALIAN or PETRARCHAN and the
ENGLISH or SHAKESPEAREAN. 117. sonnet Petrarch
118. stage directions Material that an author, editor, prompter, performer, or other person adds to a text to indicate movement, attitude, manner, style, or quality of a speech, character, or action. Some of
the simplest and oldest are enter, exit or exeunt, and aside. 118. stage directions 119. static character
A character who changes little if at all. Things happen to the static characters without modifying their interior selves. Opposite of dynamic. 119. static character
Henry Higgins 120. stanza A recurrent grouping of two or more verse lines in terms of length, metrical form, and, often,
rhyme scheme. However, the division into stanzas is sometimes mad according to thought as well as form, in which case the stanza is a unit like a prose paragraph. 120. stanza
I dont like to read books; they muss up my mind. -Henry Ford 121. stock character Conventional character types. A
high-thinking vengeanceseeking hero, disguised romantic heroine, melancholy man, a court fool, and a witty clownish servant are examples. 121. stock character Eliot's Gerontion is a
gerontionthe world itself is the name of a favorite stock character of Greek (and later) comedy: the geezer, codger, little old man. 121. stock character
Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird 122. Stream of Consciousness The total range of awareness
and emotive-mental response of an individual, form the lowest prespeech level to the highest fully articulated level of rational thought. 122. Stream of Consciousness
James Joyce 123. Surrealism A movement in art emphasizing the expression of the imagination as realized in
dreams and presented without conscious control. 123. Surrealism William Burroughs
124. symbolism In its broad sense symbolism is the use of one object to represent or suggest another; or, in literature, the serious and extensive use of SYMBOLS. Men = people in world; Nurse = oppression;
Chief = oppressed peoples; McMurphy = change, hope, awareness; Control panel = ???; Ward = society; Monopoly = mens attempt to control something 124. symbolism
125. symposium A Greek world meaning a drinking together or banquet. The world later came to mean discussion by different persons of a single topic or a collection
of speeches or essays on a given subject. 125. symposium One always tends to overpraise a long book, because
one has got through it. -E.M. Forster 126. synopsis A summary of the main points of a composition so made as to show the relation of parts to the
whole; an ABSTIACT. A synopsis is usually more connected than an outline, because it is likely to be given in complete sentences. 126. synopsis
127. syntax Syntax is the rule-governed arrangement of worlds in sentences. Syntax seems to be that level of language that most distinguishes poetry from prose.
127. syntax 128. tall tale A kind of humorous tale, common on the American frontier, that uses realistic detail
a literal manner, and common speech to recount extravagantly impossible happenings, usually resulting form the superhuman abilities of a character. 128. tall tale
Pecos Bill and Slue-Foot Sue 128. tall tale John Henry
129. Theatre of the Absurd A term invented by Martin Esslin for the kind of drama that presents a view of the absurdity of the human condition by abandoning of usual or rational devices and by the used of
nonrealistic form. 129. Theatre of the Absurd It expounds and existential ideology and views its task as essentially metaphysical. The most widely acclaimed play of
the school is Samuel Becketts Waiting for Godot (1953). 129. Theatre of the Absurd Samuel Beckett
130. theme A central idea. Both theme and thesis imply a subject and a predicate of some kindnot just vice in general, say, but some such proposition as Vice seems more interesting than
virtue but turns out to be destructive. 130. theme All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they
had really happened. -Ernest Hemingway 131. thesis An attitude or position on a problem taken by a writer or speaker with the purpose of
proving or supporting it. The term is also used for the paper written to support the thesis. 131. thesis 132. tone
Tome has been used for the attitudes toward the subject and toward the audience implied in literary work. Tone may be formal, informal, intimate, solemn, sombre, playful, serious, ironic, condescending,
or many another possible attitudes. 132. tone 133. tour de force A feat of strength and
virtuosity. Tour de force is used in criticism to refer to works that make outstanding demonstrations of skill. 133. tour de force
134. tragedy A term with many meanings and applications. In drama it refers to a particular kind of play, the definition of which was established by Aristotles Poetics, in narrative, particularly in Middle Ages, it
refers to a body of work recounting the fall of a persons of high degree. 134. tragedy 135. 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.
135. tragic flaw I do not read a book: I hold a conversation with the author. -Elbert Hubbard
136. Transcendentalism A reliance of the intuition and the conscience, a form of idealism; a philosophical ROMANTICISM reaching America a generation or two
136. Transcendentalism after it developed in Europe. Transcendentalists believed in living close to nature and taught the dignity of manual labor and in democracy and individualism.
136. Transcendentalism Thomas Cole The Voyage of Life: Youth 1842
136. Transcendentalism Henry David Thoreau Ralph Waldo Emerson 137. trope In rhetoric a trope is a FIGURE
OF SPEECH involving a turn or change of sensethe use of a word in a sense other than the literal; in this sense figures of comparison as well as ironical expressions are tropes.
137. trope Example of irony 137. trope Example of irony
138. 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 Orwells 1984. 138. utopia Charlotte Perkins Gilman
139. verse (as in poetry) Used in two senses: (1) as a unit of poetry, in which case it has the same significance as STANZA or LINE; and (2) as a name given generally to
metrical composition. 139. verse (as in poetry) Robert Lowell Sylvia Plath
140. vignette A SKETCH or brief narrative characterized by precision and delicacy. The term is also applied to SHORT-SHORT STORIES less than 500 words
in length. 140. vignette Sandra Cisneros Books are a narcotic.