World Literature Test

Allegory:
A story in which ideas are represented or personified as actions, people, or things.
Alliteration:
The repetition of beginning consonant sounds through a sequence of words.
Allude / Allusion:
To make a 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. Often makes a point-by-point comparison from a familiar object to an unfamiliar.
Antagonist:
The 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. 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. The characters in it speak or behave in ridiculously inappropriate ways. creating 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.
Characterization:
The artistic presentation of a fictional character.
Citation:
A standardized reference to a source of information in a written work.
Climax:
The turning point in fiction; the transition from rising to falling action.
Comedy:
A story, often centered on love, that has a positive ending. It may or may not be humorous.
Conflict:
A struggle between two opposing forces. 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 the deeds of a hero.
Epigram:
A brief saying or poem, often ironic or satirical.
Epigraph:
A phrase, quotation, or poem that suggests something about the theme and is set at the beginning of a chapter or book.
Epistolary Style:
A novel composed of a series of letters.
Essay:
A paper that takes a position on a topic.
Euphemism:
The substitution of a socially acceptable word or expression in place of harsh or unacceptable language.
Exposition:
The part of the narrative structure in which the scene is set, characters introduced, and the situation established.
Fable:
A short story, usually featuring animals or other non-human characters, that illustrates a moral lesson.
Falling Action:
The portion of plot structure, usually following the climax, in which the problems encountered during the rising action are solved.
Figure of Speech:
A comparison in which something is pictured or figured in other more familiar terms.
Flashback:
A plot device in which a scene from the fictional past is brought into the fictional present, often to explain or illustrate a character’s next action.
Foot:
A group of syllables that form a basic unit of poetic rhythm.
Foreshadow:
Hints or clues about future events in a narrative.
Framed Narrative:
A story or stories told within a narrative frame.
Free Verse:
Poetry that does not rhyme, has no set line length, and is not set to traditional meter.
Full Stop:
A period or other punctuation mark that indicates the end of a sentence.
Genre:
A category of classification for literature such as fiction, non-fiction, and so forth.
Gothic Novel:
A genre that evokes an aura of mystery and may include ghosts, dark and stormy nights, isolated castles, and supernatural happenings.
Heroic Couplet:
Two rhymed lines in iambic pentameter, forming a complete thought.
Homonym / Homophone:
Words that sound much the same but have different meanings, origins, or spelling.
Hubris:
A term derived from the Greek language that means excessive pride. Often leads to the hero’s downfall.
Hyperbole:
Overstatement through exaggerated language.
Iambic Pentameter:
In poetry, a metrical pattern in a ten-syllable line of verse in which five unaccented syllables alternate with five accented syllables, with the accent usually falling on the second of each pair of syllables.
Imagery:
Words, phrases, and sensory details used to create a mood or mental picture in a reader’s mind.
Irony:
A stylistic device or figure of speech in which the real meaning of the words is different from (and opposite to) the literal meaning. Unlike sarcasm, tends to be ambiguous, bringing two contrasting meanings into play.
Manners:
A novel of manners focuses on and describes in detail the social customs and habits of a particular social group.
Metaphor:
A comparison between two objects, not using the terms “like” or “as.”
Meter:
The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry.
Mock Heroic:
A satiric style which sets up a deliberately disproportionate and witty distance between the elevated language used to describe an action or event and the triviality or foolishness of the action (using, for example, the language of epics to describe a tea party).
Motif:
A recurrent device, formula, or situation, often connecting a fresh idea with common patterns of existing thought.
Myth:
A type of story that is usually symbolic and extensive, including stories shared across a culture to explain its history and traditions.
Narrator:
The character who tells the story. This may or may not be the hero, and may be reliable or unreliable.
Nature:
As it refers to a person, this is used to identify something inborn or inherent, such as the “old nature” of Scripture, that often leads to predictable actions.
Octave:
In poetry, the first eight lines of the Italian, or Petrarchan, sonnet.
Ode:
A lyric poem with a serious topic and formal tone but without formal pattern.
Omniscient Point of View:
In literature, a narrative perspective from multiple points of view that gives the reader access to the thoughts of all the characters.
Onomatopoeia:
The formation or use of a word that sounds like what it means.
Oxymoron:
A figure of speech that combines two seemingly contradictory elements.
Parable:
A short story with an explicit moral lesson.
Paradox:
A statement that may appear contradictory but is actually true.
Parody:
A style of writing that deliberately seeks to ridicule another style, primarily through exaggeration.
Pastoral:
Poem or play that describes an idealized, simple life that country folk, usually shepherds, are imagined to live in a world full of beauty, music, and love.
Personification:
To endow a non-human object with human qualities.
Picaresque:
A style of novel that features a loosely connected series of events, rather than a tightly constructed plot, often with a non-traditional hero.
Plagiarism:
Is to copy or borrow the work or ideas of another author without acknowledgement.
Plot:
The sequence of narrated events that form a story.
Poetic Justice:
A literary device in which virtue is ultimately rewarded or vice punished.
Point of View:
The perspective from which people, events, and other details in a story are viewed.
Protagonist:
The main character in a work, either male or female.
Pseudonym:
A false name used to disguise a writer’s identity.
Pun:
A wordplay that exploits the double meaning or ambiguity in a word to create an amusing effect.
Realism:
A type of literature that tries to present life as it really is.
Reductio ad absurdum:
A popular satiric technique in which the author agrees enthusiastically with the basic attitudes or assumptions he wishes to satirize and, by pushing them to a logically ridiculous extreme, exposes the foolishness of the original attitudes and assumptions.
Refrain:
A phrase, line, or group of lines that is repeated throughout a poem, usually after every stanza.
Resolution:
The point of closure to the conflict in the plot.
Rhetoric:
The art of using language to persuade or influence others. Sometimes includes the idea of eloquence (an older meaning) or of insincerity or artificiality in language (more modern interpretation).
Rhyme Scheme:
The pattern of end rhymes in a poem, noted by small letters, e.g., abab or abcba, etc.
Rising Action:
The part of the plot structure in which events complicate or intensify the conflict, or introduce additional conflict.
Romance:
A type of novel that presents an idealized picture of life.
Rubric:
A checklist for scoring that includes guidelines for expectations.
Sarcasm:
A form of verbal irony in which apparent praise is actually criticism.
Satire:
A composition in verse or prose that uses humor, irony, sarcasm, or ridicule to point out vice or folly in order to expose, discourage, and change morally offensive attitudes or behaviors.
Scansion:
The process of analytically scanning a poem line by line to determine its meter.
Setting:
The time and place in which the action of a story, poem, or play takes place.
Simile:
A comparison of two things, using the words “like” or “as.”
Soliloquy:
A monologue in which a character talks to himself.
Sonnet:
A fixed verse form consisting of fourteen lines, usually in iambic pentameter. Variations include Italian (Petrarchan), Shakespearean, and Spenserian.
Stanza:
A section of a poem, preceded and followed by an extra line space.
Stereotype:
A characterization based on the assumption that a personal trait such as gender, age, ethnic or national identity, religion, occupation, or marital status is predictably accompanied by certain characteristics, actions, even values.
Stock Character:
A flat character sketch that fills a classic, easily understood role without much detail.
Stream of Consciousness:
A modern writing style that replicates and records the random flow of thoughts, emotions, memories, and associations as they rush through a character’s mind.
Structure:
The arrangement of the various elements in a work.
Style:
A distinctive manner of expression distinguished by the writer’s diction, rhythm, imagery, and so on.
Syllabus:
An outline of course requirements.
Symbol:
A person, place, thing, event, or pattern in a literary work that is not only itself but also stands for something else, often something more abstract.
Textual Support:
Brief quotes from a text that is being analyzed. These quotes should usually be smoothly integrated into an original, analytical sentence.
Theme:
The main idea or dominant concern of a novel, play, or poem stated in a generalized, abstract way.
Tone:
The attitude a novel or poem takes toward its subject.
Tragedy:
A story in which the character begins at a high point but ends badly, often because of a fatal flaw in his character that causes him to make poor choices.
Tragic Hero:
A character, often a noble person of high rank, who comes to a disastrous end in his or her confrontation with a superior force (fortune, the gods, social forces, universal values), but also comes to understand the meaning of his or her deeds and to accept an appropriate punishment.
Unreliable Narrator:
A speaker or voice whose narration is consciously or unconsciously deceiving. Is often subtly undermined by details in the story or through inconsistencies with general knowledge.
Voice:
The style, personality, and tone of a narrative; also the speaker or narrator. Captures the correct level of formality, social distance, and personality for the purpose of the writing and the audience.
Categories: World Literature