Important Literary Terms

Inference & Generalization
0 “Making an inference” involves drawing a specific
conclusion based on what a specific part of the text
says or implies
0 “Making a generalization” involves drawing a broad
conclusion about a topic from either a part of or the
whole text
Inference & Generalization - Examples
“But at that moment I glanced round at the crowd that had
followed me. It was an immense crowd, two thousand at the
least and growing every minute. It blocked the road for a long
distance on either side. I looked at the sea of yellow faces above
the garish clothes – faces all happy and excited over this bit of
fun, all certain that the elephant was going to be shot. They were
watching me as they would watch a conjurer about to perform a
trick. They did not like me, but with the magical rifle in my
hands I was momentarily worth watching. And suddenly I
realized that I would have to shoot the elephant after all.”
-George Orwell, “Shooting an Elephant”
We can infer that the narrator feels _________________ about
shooting the elephant:
a) excited
b) hesitant
c) scared
d) sorrowful
Author’s Purpose
0 Why did the author write this particular piece? What
was the author intending to do?
0 Inform
0 Teach
0 Entertain
0 Persuade or convince
0 The presence of a positive or negative approach
toward a topic
0 Ask yourself: is the author’s opinion about the subject
obvious? Is it positive or negative in one way or
0 A variety of language that is different from the
standard in terms of pronunciation, grammar, or
0 This is usually specific to a geographical region,
ethnicity, social organization, or socioeconomic status
Dialect - Example
0 The neighbor had put her head through the window
to speak with my mother. It was then noon. “All you
hear what happen to Foster? Why the house wash
away clean clean clean, groundsel, everything gone
clean. They put Miss Foster and the children in the
guard house, and you know how many children Miss
Foster got?”
-George Lamming, “In the Castle of My Skin”
0 An author’s choice of words, phrases, sentence
structures, and figurative language (simile,
personification, imagery, etc) – all of which help
create meaning and tone
0 The attitude or feelings of the author towards the
audience, characters, subject, or the overall piece of
Tone - Example
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
-Robert Frost, “Dust of Snow”
The author’s tone in this poem is:
a) mournful b) hopeful
c) angry d) joyful
0 The dominant emotions a reader experiences from a
work – created through dialogue and literary
0 The mood might be different than the subject matter
Mood - Example
“The ‘Red Death’ had long devastated the country. No pestilence
had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its
seal --the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp
pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the
pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and
especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which
shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellowmen. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the
disease, were the incidents of half an hour.”
-Edgar Allen Poe, “The Masque of the Red Death”
The mood of this paragraph can BEST be described as:
a) mysterious
b) frightful c) excited
d) calm
0 Descriptive or figurative language in a literary work
0 The use of language to create sensory impressions (5
Imagery - Example
0 “The room looked over the garden and other gardens:
the sun had gone in; as the clouds sharpened and
lowered, the trees and rank lawns seem already to
smoke with dark.”
0 “Now, and then – for it felt, from not seeing him at this
intense moment, as though she had never seen him at
all – she verified his presence for these few moments
longer buy putting out a hand, which he each time
pressed, without very much kindness, and painfully,
on to one of the breast buttons of his uniform. The cut
of the button on the palm of her hand was, principally
what she was to carry away.”
-Elizabeth Bowen, “The Demon Lover”
0 If a question asks you to interpret something, it is
asking you to give reasons through an explanation
0 You will need to provide specific examples to support
your interpretation
Point of View
0 1st person – the direct view of one character – will use
words like “I, we, us,” etc
0 3rd person limited – the direct view of one character –
will use words like “he, she,” or the character’s name
0 3rd person omniscient – the views of multiple
characters are expressed from an outside perspective
Point of View - Examples
Which is which?
0 “I could picture it. I have a habit of imagining the conversations
between my friends. We went out to the Cafe Napolitain to have
an aperitif and watch the evening crowd on the Boulevard.”
– Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
0 “His eyes were fixed upon Della; and there was an expression in
them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not
anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the
sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at
her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.”
–O. Henry, “The Gift of the Magi”
0 “He ran straight into the water and began swimming. He was a
good swimmer.”
–Doris Lessing, “Through the Tunnel”
0 A topic of discussion or work; a major idea broad
enough to cover the entire scope of a literary work.
0 A theme may be stated or implied.
0 Clues to the theme may be found in the prominent
and/or recurring ideas in a work.
Text Organization
0 The author’s method of structuring a text; the way a
text is structured from beginning to end
0 In literary works, the structure could include:
0 Flashback
0 Foreshadowing
0 sequence
0 Question-answer
0 Cause-effect
Text Structure
0 Drama: a play; includes stage directions and dialogue
0 Novel/short story/article: a work that is written in
regular prose
0 Poem: uses stanzas, rhyme, meter, and figurative