Flashback: a narrative device that flashes back to prior events.
Foil: a person or thing that, by contrast, makes another seem better or more prominent.
Folk Tale: story passed on by word of mouth.
Foreshadowing: in fiction and drama, a device to prepare the reader for the outcome of the action; “planning” to make the outcome convincing, though not to give it away.
Free Verse: verse without conventional metrical pattern, with irregular pattern or no rhyme.
Genre: a category or class of artistic endeavor having a particular form, technique, or content.
Gothic Tale: a style in literature characterized by gloomy settings, violent or grotesque action, and a mood of decay, degeneration, and decadence.
Hyperbole: an exaggerated statement often used as a figure of speech or to prove a point.
Imagery: figures of speech or vivid description, conveying images through any of the senses.
Implication: a meaning or understanding that is to be arrive at by the reader but that is not fully and explicitly stated by the author.
Incongruity: the deliberate joining of opposites or of elements that are not appropriate to each other.
Inference: a judgement or conclusion based on evidence presented; the forming of an opinion which possesses some degree of probability according to facts already available.
Irony: a contrast or incongruity between what is said and what is meant, or what is expected to happen and what actually happens, or what is thought to be happening and what is actually happening.
Interior Monologue: a form of writing which represents the inner thoughts of a character; the recording of the internal, emotional experience(s) of an individual; generally the reader is given the impression of overhearing the interior monologue.
Inversion: words out of order for emphasis.
Juxtaposition: the intentional placement of a word, phrase, sentences of paragraph to contrast with another nearby.
Lyric: a poem having musical form and quality; a short outburst of the author’s innermost thoughts and feelings.
Magic(al) Realism: a genre developed in Latin America which juxtaposes the everyday with the marvelous or magical.
Metaphor(extended, controlling, and mixed): an analogy that compare two different
Extended: a metaphor that is extended or developed as far as the writer
wants to take it.
Controlling: a metaphor that runs throughout the piece of work.
Mixed: a metaphor that ineffectively blends two or more analogies.
Metonymy: literally “name changing” a device of figurative language in which the name of an attribute or associated thing is substituted for the usual name of a thing.
Mode of Discourse: argument (persuasion), narration, description, and exposition.
Modernism: literary movement characterized by stylistic experimentation, rejection of tradition, interest in symbolism and psycholog
Monologue: an extended speech by a character in a play, short story, novel, or narrative poem
Mood: the predominating atmosphere evoked by a literary piece.
Motif: a recurring feature (name, image, or phrase) in a piece of literature.
Myth: a story, often about immortals, and sometimes connected with religious rituals, that attempts to give meaning to the mysteries of the world.
Narrative: a story or description of events.
Narrator: one who narrates, or tells, a story.
Naturalism: extreme form of realism.
Novelette/Novella: short story; short prose narrative, often satirical.
Omniscient Point of View: knowing all things, usually the third person
Onomatopoeia: use of a word whose sound in some degree imitates or suggests its
Oxymoron: a figure of speech in which two contradicting words or phrases are combined to produce a rhetorical effect by means of a concise paradox
Pacing: rate of movement; tempo
Parable: a story designed to convey some religious principle, moral lesson, or general truth.
Paradox: a statement apparently self-contradictory or absurd but really containing a possible truth; an opinion contrary to generally accepted ideas.
Parallelism: the principle in sentence structure that states elements of equal function should have equal form.
Parody: an imitation of mimicking of a composition or of the style of a well-known artist.
Pathos: the ability in literature to call forth feelings of pity, compassion, and/or sadness.
Pedantry: a display of learning for its own sake.
Personification: a figure of speech attributing human qualities to inanimate objects or abstract ideas.
Plot: a plan or scheme to accomplish a purpose
Poignant: eliciting sorrow or sentiment.
Point of View: the attitude unifying any oral or written argumentation; in description, the physical point from which the observer views what he is describing.
Postmodernism: literature characterized by experimentation, irony, nontraditional forms, multiple meanings, playfulness and a blurred boundary between real and imaginary.
Prose: the ordinary form of spoken and written language; language that does not have a regular rhyme pattern.
Protagonist: the central character in a work of fiction; opposes antagonist.
Pun: play on words; the humorous use of a word emphasizing different meanings or applications.
Purpose: the intended result wished by an author.
Realism: writing about the ordinary aspects of life in a straightfoward manner to reflect life as it actually is.
Refrain: a phrase or verse recurring at intervals in a poem or song; chorus.
Requiem: any chant, dirge, hymn, or musical service for the dead.
Resolution: point in a literary work at which the chief dramatic complication is worked out; denouement.
Restatement: idea repeated for emphasis.
Rhetoric: use of language, both written and verbal in order to persuade.
Rhetorical Question: question suggesting its own answer or not requiring an answer; used in argument or persuasion.
Romanticism: movement in western culture beginning in the eighteenth and peaking in the nineteenth century as a revolt against Classicism; imagination was valued over reason and fact.
Satire: ridicules or condemns the weakness and wrong doings of individuals, groups, institutions, or humanity in general.
Scansion: the analysis of verse in terms of meter.
Setting: the time and place in which events in a short story, novel, play, or narrative poem occur
Simile: a figure of speech comparing two essentially unlike things through the use of a specific word of comparison.
Soliloquy: an extended speech, usually in a drama, delivered by a character alone on stage.
Spiritual: a folk song, usually on a religious theme.
Speaker: a narrator, the one speaking.
Stereotype: cliché; a simplified, standardized conception with a special meaning and appeal for members of a group; a formula story.
Stream of Consciousness: the style of writing that attempts to imitate the natural flow of a character’s thoughts, feelings, reflections, memories, and mental images, as the character experiences them.
Structure: the planned framework of a literary selection; its apparent organization.
Style: the manner of putting thoughts into words; a characteristic way of writing or speaking.
Subordination: the couching of less important ideas in less important structures of language.
Surrealism: a style in literature and painting that stresses the subconscious or the nonrational aspects of man’s existence characterized by the juxtaposition of the bizarre and the banal
Suspension of Disbelief: suspend not believing in order to enjoy it.
Symbol: something which stands for something else, yet has a meaning of its own.
Synesthesia: the use of one sense to convey the experience of another sense.
Synecdoche: another form of name changing, in which a part stands for the whole.
Syntax: the arrangement and grammatical relations of words in a sentence.
Theme: main idea of the story; its message(s).
Thesis: a proposition for consideration, especially one to be discussed and proved
or disproved; the main idea.
Tone: the devices used to create the mood and atmosphere of a literary work; the
author’s perceived point of view.
Tongue in Cheek: a type of humor in which the speaker feigns seriousness; a.k.a. “dry” or “dead pan”
Tragedy: in literature: any composition with a somber theme carried to a disastrous conclusion; a fatal event; protagonist usually is heroic but tragically (fatally) flawed
Understatement: opposite of hyperbole; saying less than you mean for emphasis
Vernacular: everyday speech
Voice: The textual features, such as diction and sentence structures, that convey a writer’s or speaker’s pesona
Zeitgeist: the feeling of a particular era in history