Need To Know Literary Devices and Poetry Terms
Allegory: a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one
Alliteration: repetition of the initial consonant sounds of words: “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”
Allusion: a reference to something well-known that exists outside the literary work
Anima: Jung's term for the feminine part of a man's personality. Often contrasted with animus. The part of the psyche that is directed inward, and is in touch with the subconscious. Often contrasted with persona
Animus: hostility or ill feeling: the author's animus toward her. Motivation to do something: the reformist animus came from within the Party. Psychology Jung's term for the masculine part of a woman's personality. Often contrasted with anima.
Antagonist: character that is the source of conflict in a literary work
Aside: a dramatic device in which a character makes a short speech intended for the audience but not heard by the other characters on stage
Assonance: repetition of vowel sounds followed by different consonant sounds: “Anna’s apples,” “the pond is long gone”
Characterization: The manner in which an author develops characters and their personalities
Conflict: struggle between two or more opposing forces (person vs. person; nature; society; self; fate/God)
Dialogue: direct speech between characters in a literary work
Dichotomy: a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different: a rigid dichotomy between science and mysticism.
Diction: word choice to create a specific effect
Doppelganger: an apparition or double of a living person
Dualism: the division of something conceptually into two opposed or contrasted aspects, or the state of being so divided: a dualism between man and nature.
Duality: the quality or condition of being dual: the novel's deep duality about human motive.
or -an instance of opposition or contrast between two concepts or two aspects of something; a dualism
Figurative Language: language that represents one thing in terms of something dissimilar (non-literal language). Includes simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, symbol)
Flashback: the method of returning to an earlier point in time for the purpose of making the present clearer
Foreshadowing: hint of what is to come in a literary work
Genre: type or category to which a literary work belongs
Hyperbole: extreme exaggeration to add meaning
Imagery: language that appeals to the five senses
Dramatic: when the reader or audience knows something a character does not
Situational: when there is a disparity between what is expected and what actually occurs
Verbal: when the speaker says one thing but means the opposite
Metaphor: an implied comparison between dissimilar objects: “Her talents blossomed”
Motif: a recurring feature of a literary work that is related to the theme
Onomatopoeia: use of a word whose sound imitates its meaning: “hiss”
Oxymoron: phrase that consists of two words that are contradictory: “living dead” or “Microsoft works”
Personification: figure of speech in which non-human things are given human characteristics
Plot: The sequence of events in a literary work
Point of view: the vantage point or perspective from which a literary work is told
1st person point of view: the narrator is a character in the story (use of ‘I’)
3rd person point of view: the narrator is outside of the story (use of ‘he’ ‘she’ ‘they’)
Protagonist: the main character in a literary work
Rhyme: repetition of similar or identical sounds: “look and crook”
Rhyme Scheme: pattern of rhyme among lines of poetry [denoted using letters, as in ABAB CDCD EE]
Setting: The time and place of a literary work
Simile: a direct comparison of dissimilar objects, usually using like or as: “I wandered lonely as a cloud”
Soliloquy: a dramatic device in which a character is alone and speaks his or her thoughts aloud
Speaker: voice in a poem; the person or thing that is speaking
Stanza: group of lines forming a unit in a poem
Symbol/symbolism: one thing (object, person, place) used to represent something else
Theme: the underlying main idea of a literary work. Theme differs from the subject of a literary work in that it involves a statement or opinion about the subject.
Tone: the author’s attitude toward the subject of a work.