Alliteration – when a group of words all have the same first sound.
Allusion – brief, indirect reference to a person, place, thing or idea that creates additional meaning. To “riff.”
Anaphora – deliberate repetition of words and phrases from the first part of a sentence.
Antihero – A protagonist who has the opposite attributes of a hero.
Assonance – repetition of internal vowel sounds in nearby words that do not end the same – for example: “asleep under a tree” or “each evening” or “asleep in the deep.”
Catharsis – the release of the emotions of pity and fear by the audience at the end of a tragedy.
Character, characterization – a person presented in a dramatic or narrative work, and characterization is the process by which a writer make that character seem real to the reader.
Conflict – The struggle within the plot between opposing forces. The PROTAGONIST engages in the conflict with the ANTAGONIST, which may take the form of a character, society, nature, or an aspect of the protagonist’s personality.
Connotation – Associations and implications that go beyond the literal meaning of a word, which derive from how the word has been commonly used and the associations people make of it. I.e.: red = blood/danger; eagle = freedom. These are cultural constructions.
Denotation – The dictionary meaning of a word.
Didactic poetry – Poetry designed to teach an ethical, moral, or religious lesson.
Elegy – A mournful, contemplative lyric poem to commemorate someone who is dead, often ending in consolation.
Epiphany – When a character suddenly experiences a deep realization about him or her or their self.
Foil – A character in a work whose behavior and values contrast with those of another character in order to highlight the distinctive temperament of that character.
Foreshadowing – The introduction early on in a story of verbal and dramatic hints that suggest what is to come later.
Form – The overall structure or shape of a work, which frequently follows an established design.
Genre – “Type” as in type of literature. Some examples are poetry, fiction, drama, and essays.
Hyperbole – exaggeration such as “I am dying of shame.”
Imagery – using figurative language to appeal to a person’s senses.
Irony – words are used in a way that the intended meaning is different. This speaks to the difference between appearance and reality.
Metaphor – implicit, hidden, or implied comparison with two unrelated things.
Narrator -The voice of the person (not the author!!) telling the story.
Onomatopoeia – A word that imitates the natural sound such as “gushing” stream or “whisper.”
Oxymoron – two opposite ideas are joined to create an effect such as “cruel kindness.” This typically happens between just a few words.
Paradox – something that is contradictory but true. Paradox is close to oxymoron but happens on the sentence level. Consider Orwell’s writing: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” (Animal Farm)
Personification – thing, idea, or an animal given human attributes. This gives the reader the ability to look at something as a human, which many argue helps us to understand the idea, thing, or animal better.
Point of view – this refers to who tells us a story and how it is told.
Protagonist – The main character of a narrative; its central character who engages the reader’s interest and empathy.
Resolution – The conclusion of a plot’s conflict and complications. This is also known as “falling action” following the climax.
Sarcasm – to speak bitterly.
Simile – A comparison using “like” or “as”.
Subject – big idea of the text.
Symbolism – an object that is itself and something more.
Theme – main idea – or the thing that is being captured.