Honors World Literature: Glossary Terms

Published by admin on

Allegory
A story in which ideas are represented or personified as actions, people, or things.
Alliteration
The repetition of the beginning consonant sounds through a sequence of words.
Allusion
To make reference, either implied or stated, to the Bible, mythology, literature, art, music, or history that relies on the reader’s familiarity with the alluded-to work to make or reinforce a point in the current work.
Analogy
A comparison based upon similarities and relationships of things that are somewhat alike but mostly different. An analogy often makes a point-by-point comparison from a familiar object to an unfamiliar.
Antagonist
A character who opposes the main character (the protagonist).
Antithesis
A counter-proposition that denotes a direct contrast to the original proposition, balancing an argument for parallel structure.
Archetype
A plot pattern, such as the quest or the redeemer/scapegoat, or character element, such as the cruel stepmother, that recurs across cultures.
Assonance
The repetition of vowel sounds in a series of words.
Ballad
A narrative poem or song with a repeating refrain. A ballad often tells the story of a historical event or retells a folk legend.
Beast fable
Also known as a “beast epic,” this is an often satirical, allegorical style in which the main characters are animals. It is often written as a mock epic.
Blank verse
Unrhymed poetry, usually iambic pentameter.
Burlesque
Refers to ridiculous exaggeration in language, usually one that makes the discrepancy between the words and the situation or the character silly. For example, to have a king speak like an idiot or a workman speak like a king is burlesque. Similarly, a very serious situation can be burlesqued by having the characters in it speak or behave in ridiculously inappropriate ways. In other words, burlesque creates a large gap between the situation or the characters and the style with which they speak or act out the event.
Caricature
The technique of exaggerating for comic and satiric effect one particular feature of a subject, in order to achieve a grotesque or ridiculous effect. Caricatures can be created either through words or pictures.
Characterization
The artistic presentation of a fictional character.
Citation
A standardized reference to a source of information in written work. The citation usually includes author, title, publisher, and so forth, in a specific format. In the MLA style of citation, the citations appear as signal phrases in the body of the text, and a “works cited” list follows the text.
Climax
The turning point in fiction; the transition from rising to falling action.
Comedy
In literary terms, a comedy is a story, often centered on love, that has a positive ending. It may or may not be humorous.
Conflict
The struggle between two opposing forces. The conflict usually forms the central drama in a fictional narrative, and can be man vs. man, man vs. God, man vs. nature, man vs. society, or even man vs. himself
Consonance
An “almost rhyme” in which consonants agree but the vowels that precede them differ.
Couplet
In poetry, a pair of rhyming lines often appearing at the end of a sonnet.
Denouement
Resolution or conclusion
Diction
An author’s word choices
Didactic
Literature with a moralistic or instructive purpose
Elegy
A poem, usually written as a formal lament on the death of a person. In classical time an elegy was any poem written in elegiac meter.
End rhyme
The repetition of identical or similar sounds in two or more different words found at the end of poetic lines.
Epic
A long narrative poem that tells a story, usually about he deeds of a hero.
Categories: World Literature