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Literature Items

Review of vocabulary specific to the teaching of literature.

AB
Alliterationrepetition of initial consonant sounds
Allusionreference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art.
Anecdotea brief story about an interesting, amusing, or strange event
anticlimaxturning point in a story (always a let down)
asidea short speech delivered by an actor in a play, expressing a character's thoughts
assonancerepetition of vowel sounds followed by different consonants in two or more stressed syllables
autobiographyform on nonfiction in which a person tells his or her own life story
biographyform on nonfiction in which a writer tellst he life story of another person
blank versepoetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter lines
charactera person or an animal who takes part in the action of a literary work
characterizationthe act of creating and developing a character
direct characterizationthe author directly states a character's traits
indirect characterizationan author tells what a character looks like, does, and says, and how other characters react to him
round charactershows many different traits--faults as well as virtues
flat characterwe see only one side of a character
dynamic characterdevelops and grows during the course of the story
static characterdoes not change or grow
climaxthe high point of interest or supsense in a story, novel, or play
conflicta sturggle between opposing forces
external conflictmain character struggles against and outside force
internal conflictinvolves a character in conflict with himself or herself
connotationthe set of ideas associeated with a word in addition to its explicit meaning
coupleta pair of rhyming lines usually of the sme lenght and meter
denotationa words dictionary meaning, independent of other associations that the word may have
dialcectfrom of language spoken by people in a particular region or group
dialoguea conversaation between characters
dictionword choice
dramaa story written to be performed by actors
dramatic poetrypoetry that utilizes the techniques of drama
epica long narrative poem about the deeds of gods or heroes
epic simile (Homeric simile)an elaborate comparison of unlike subjects
essaya short nongiction work about a particular subject
expositionthe part of the work that introduces the cahracters, the setting, and the basic situation
fantasya highly imaginative writing that contains elements not found in real life
fictionprose writing that tells about imagninary charactes and events
figurative languagewriting or speech not meant to be interpreted literally
foreshadowingthe use in a literary work of clues that suggest events that have yet to occur
free versepoetry not written in a regular rhythmical pattern, or meter
genrecategory or type of literature
haikua three-line verse form. 5-7-5 syllables
imagea word or phrase that appeals to one or more of the five senses
imagerythe descriptive or figurative language used in literature to create word pictures for the reader
verbal ironywords are used to suggest the opposite of what is meant
dramatic ironythere is a contradiction between what a character thinks and what the reader or audience knows to be true
irony of situationan event occurs that directly contradicts the expectations of the characters
lyric poema highly musical verse that expresses the observations and feelings of a single speaker
metaphora figure of speech in which one thing is spoken of as though it were something else
metera poem's rhythmical patter
monologuea speech by one character in a play, story, or poem
moodthe feeling created in the reader by a literary work or passage
morala lesson taught by a literary work
motivationa reason that explains or partially explains why a character thinks, feels, acts, or behaves in a certain way
mytha fictional tale that explains the actions of gods or the causes of natural phenomena
narrationwriting that tells a story
narrativea story told in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or drama
narrative poema poem that tells a story
narratora speaker or character who tells a story
nonfictionprose writing that presents and explains ideas or that tells about real people, places, objects, or events
novela long work of fiction
onomatopoeiathe use of words that imitate sounds
oral traditionpassing of songs, stories, and poems from generation to generation by word of mouth
personificationa type of figurative language in which a nonhuman subject is given human characteristics
persuasionwriting or speech that attempts to convice the reader to adopt a particular opinion or course of action
plotthe sequence of events in a literary work
poetryone of the three major types of literature, the others being prose and drama
prosethe ordinary form of written language
quatraina stanza or poem made up of four lines, usually with a definite rhythm and rhyme scheme
repetitionthe use of any element of language--a sound, a word, a phrase, a clause, or a sentence--more than once
rhymethe repetition of sounds at the ends of words
rhyme schemea regular pattern of rhyming words in a poem
rhythmthe patter of beats, or stresses, in spoken or written language
science fictionwriting that tells about imagninary events that involve science or technology
settingthe timeand place of the action
short storya brief work of fiction
similea figure of speech in which like or as is used to make a comparison between two basically unlike ideas
soliloquya long speech expressing the thoughts of a character alone on stage
sonneta fourteen-line lyric poem, usually written in rhymed iambic pentameter
speakerthe imaginary voice assumed by the writer of a poem
stage directionsnotes included in a drama to describe how the work is to be performed or staged
stanzaa formal division of lines ina poem, considered as a unit
suspensea feeling of curiosity or uncertainty about eh outcome of events in a literary work
symbolanything that stands for or represents something else
themea central message or insight into life revealed through the literary work
tonethe writer's attitude toward his or her audience and subject of a literary work
tragedya work of literature, especially a play, that results in a catastrophe for the main character

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