Prose Literary Terms

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Connotation
All the meanings, associations, or emotions that a word suggests
Denotation
The dictionary definition of a word
Metaphor
a figure of speech comparing to unlike things without using like or as
Simile
a figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds (usually formed with ‘like’ or ‘as’)
Allusion
a brief reference to a person, place, thing, event, or idea in history or literature
Personification
A figure of speech in which an object or animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes
Literal images
Require little personal adjustment
Figurative images
Must be imagined with the poet
Open images
Are open to interpretation
Symbols
when an object, image, or feeling takes on a larger meaning outside of itself
Stock symbols
Symbols whose meanings are conventionally accepted
Alliteration
use of the same consonant at the beginning of each stressed syllable in a line of verse
Apostrophe
the direct address of someone or something that is not present.
Assonance
Repetition of similar vowel sounds
Bathos
n. excessive or trivial sentimentality; and abrupt transition in style from the elevated to the commonplace, producing a laughable effect
Caesura
a break or pause (usually for sense) in the middle of a verse line
Conceits
an extended complex metaphor
Consonance
repetition of identical consonant sounds within two or more words in close proximity, as in boost/best; it can also be seen within several compound words, such as fulfill and ping-pong
Diction
word choice
Enjambment
the running on of the thought from one line, couplet, or stanza to the next without a syntactical break
Hyperbole
a figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or evoke humor
Irony
the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning
Metonymy
substituting the name of an attribute or feature for the name of the thing itself (as in ‘they counted heads’)
Onomatopoeia
using words that imitate the sound they denote
Oxymoron
conjoining contradictory terms (as in ‘deafening silence’)
Paradox
a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
Pun
a play on words, often achieved through the use of words with similar sounds but different meanings
Sarcasm
harsh, caustic personal remarks to or about someone; less subtle than irony
Synecdoche
substituting a more inclusive term for a less inclusive one or vice versa
Syntax
sentence structure
Tone
the quality of something (an act or a piece of writing) that reveals the attitudes and presuppositions of the author
Dramatic monologue
a poem in which a speaker addresses a silent listener
Static characters
don’t undergo significant changes in ways influence or relate to the novel’s primary plot.
Theme
a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in a literary or artistic work
Satire
language or writing that exposes follies or abuses by holding them up to ridicule
Mode
an approach used in literature that isn’t connected to a specific genre, but rather, refers to the writer’s aim or outlook when composing a literary work.
Thought
an element present in non-fiction literature; this is the author’s intended message & the idea he or she chooses to present.
Juvenalian satire
harsh, biting satire, full of moral indignation and bitter contempt
Dynamic characters
Characters who change significantly are called dynamic characters.
Narrative essays
tell the story of actual events
Initiation story
This deals with the movement of a character from childhood to adulthood, innocence to experience, and ignorance to knowledge
Romance
a literary work based on adventure, such as those involving the heroic undertakings of knights, & included narratives in verse or poetic language instead of prose.
Argumentative essays
An essay, which attempts to convince the reader of the truth of a premise by means of logic and other forms of persuasion.
Style
in non-fiction essays, it is conveyed & developed through word choice & arrangement, presentation, descriptive elements, & use of dialogue & narrative.
Motifs
a reacuring subject, theme or idea in literature, artistic or musical work
Non-fiction literature
an account of an event, purpose, or subject that presents fact.
Genres
basic categories that are based on composition criteria such as technique or content.
Speculative essays
explores ideas rather than explains them
Novel
a extended fictional work in prose
Parts of a plot
introduction/exposition, complication/rising action, climax, falling action, denouement/conclusion
Subplots
second less prominent story within a story
Intercalary
interpolated; inserted between other things
Stock characters
standard or cliched character types: the drunk, the miser, the foolish girl, etc.
Flat characters
character whose personality can be defined by one or two traits and does not change in the course
Categories: Prose