J. Fernandez/English11 The term Literary Elements refers to particular identifiable characteristics of a whole text. They are not “used,” per se, by authors; they represent the elements of storytelling which are common to all literary and narrative forms. For example, every story has a theme, every story has a setting, every story has a conflict, every story is written from a particular point-of-view, etc. In order to be discussed legitimately as part of a textual analysis, literary elements must be specifically identified for that particular text. The term Literary Techniques refers to any specific, deliberate constructions or choices of language which an author uses to convey meaning in a particular way. An author’s use of a literary technique usually occurs with a single word or phrase, or a particular group of words or phrases, at one single point in a text. Unlike literary elements, literary techniques are not necessarily present in every text; they represent deliberate, conscious choices by individual authors. Allegory – a work of literature in which people, objects, and events stand for abstract qualities such as evil, compassion, or greed. An allegory is written not only to entertain but to teach a lesson or moral principle. Alliteration – the repetition of initial sounds in neighboring words. Ex: sweet smell of success, a dime a dozen, jump for joy. Anaphora (uh NAF uh ruh) - the repetition of a word, phrase, or clause at the beginning of word groups occurring one after the other. Examples: (1) Give me wine, give me women and give me song. Antagonist – a character that is against the main character or protagonist. Antagonists are usually villains, but an antagonist may also be a force of nature, a set of circumstances, an animal, or other force that is in conflict with the protagonist. Aphorism - short, often witty statement presenting an observation or a universal truth; an adage. Example: Many hands make light work.–John Heywood. Aside - words an actor speaks to the audience which other actors on the stage cannot hear. Sometimes the actor cups his mouth toward the audience or turns away from the other actors. An aside serves to reveal a character's thoughts or concerns to the audience without revealing them to other characters in a play. Assonance – the repetition of vowel sounds but not consonant sounds. Ex: John met his fate by the lake. Characterization – describes a writer’s revelations of a character’s personality traits. Authors bring an imaginary person or creature to life through characterization. An author creates and develops characters by describing physical appearance gestures, thoughts and feelings, speech and behavior, and interactions with other characters. The author may state characteristics directly through the words used, or indirectly through words, actions or responses of other characters. Fiction has different types of characters who relate and interact with each other. J. Fernandez/English11 a. Main Characters – around whom the plot revolves. These characters tend to be more complex or ROUND. They are referred to as DYNAMIC and often change as a result of their experiences. Dramatic Irony: Where the audience or reader is aware of something important, of which the characters in the story are not aware. b. Minor Characters – interact with main character or play a key role. These characters are often one-dimensional or FLAT. They are referred to as STATIC as they often remain the same with things happening to them but not within them. Dystopian Novel - An anti-utopian novel where, instead of a paradise, everything has gone wrong in the attempt to create a perfect society. Ex: Orwell’s 1984, Huxley’s Brave New World. See Utopian novel. Cliché – a widely overused expression. Ex: Saying that something cost “An arm and a leg”. *Clichés should be avoided whenever possible in your writing. Euphemism – A word or phrase that softens the hard reality of the truth, such as senior citizen for old person, passed away for died, misstatement for lie. Climax: The turning point in a story, at which the end result becomes inevitable, usually where something suddenly goes terribly wrong; the “dramatic high point” of a story. (Although it is technically a literary element, the term is only useful for identification, as part of a discussion or analysis of structure; it cannot generally be analyzed by itself.) Flashback – When characters go back in time. Conflict: A struggle between opposing forces which is the driving force of a story. The outcome of any story provides a resolution of the conflict(s); this is what keeps the reader reading. Conflicts can exist between individual characters, between groups of characters, between a character and society, etc., and can also be purely abstract (i.e., conflicting ideas). Denouement (day-noo-man) – the final outcome of the main complication in a play or a story. It literally means the action of untying. Foil – A character that contrasts with another character, usually the protagonist. In doing this, the foil highlights various facets of the main character’s personality. Foreshadowing – When a narrator hints at events that will occur later in the story. Hyperbole – An exaggeration or overstatement. Ex: I’m so hungry I could eat a horse. Imagery - Language which describes something in detail, using words to substitute for and create sensory stimulation. The two most common types of imagery are visual and sound, but imagery may also appeal to our sense of taste and touch. J. Fernandez/English11 Irony – An implied discrepancy between what is said and what is meant: Verbal Irony is when an author says one thing and means another. Dramatic Irony is when an audience perceives something that a character in the literature does not know. Situational Irony is a discrepancy between the expected result and the actual result. Jargon - vocabulary understood by members of a profession or trade but usually not by other members of the general public. Litotes - Creation of a positive or opposite idea through negation. Examples: (1) I am not unaware of your predicament. (2) This is no small problem. (3) I'm not forgetful that you served me well.–John Milton. Metaphor - A comparison of two unlike things without using the words “like” or “as”. Ex: He is a pig. Metonymy - Substitution of a word or phrase to stand for a word or phrase similar in meaning. Examples: Wall Street welcomes the reduction in interest rates. ("Wall Street" represents investors.) Sweat, not wealth, earned her the respect of her peers. ("Sweat" stands for hard work.) Personification – treating abstractions or inanimate objects as human by giving them human attributes, powers, or feelings. Ex: Nature wept; the wind whispered many truths to me. Point of View – the perspective from which the narrator tells the story. a. First person – When the narrator uses “I” and is a character in the story. b. Third person (limited) – When the narrator is a storyteller that does not know everything. The narrator is outside of the story and tells the story from only one character’s view. c. Third person (omniscient) – When the narrator knows all the facts. An example of this is when a narrator makes a statement like “little did he know” or “Harold thought”. This shows that the narrator has all the information on a character’s thought processes, etc. Onomatopoeia – A word that imitates the sound it represents. Ex: splash, wow, gush, buzz, crash, whirr, hush, boom. d. Second person – Rarely used; when the narrator refers to the protagonist or another main character by using second person pronouns such as “you”. Ex: (narrator speaking to character) “You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning.” Oxymoron – When two contradictory words are placed side by side. Ex: honest lawyer, jumbo shrimp, same difference Protagonist – the main character whose actions are the primary focus of a story. Paradox – An assertion that reveals a kind of truth which at first seems contradictory. Ex: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Sarcasm – a type of irony; it is praise that is really an insult. Sarcasm generally involves malice, the desire to put someone down. Ex: This is my brilliant son, who dropped out of college. J. Fernandez/English11 Satire – A literary tone used to ridicule or make fun of human vice or weakness, often with the intent of correcting, or changing, the subject of the satiric attack. Setting - The total environment for the action of a work. Setting includes time period (such as the 1890's), the place (such as downtown Warsaw), and the time in history (such as during the World War II). The setting is usually established Simile – A comparison of two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”. Ex: Tough as leather; pretty as a picture. Soliloquy - Recitation in a play in which a character reveals his thoughts to the audience but not to other characters in the play. Stream of Consciousness – When the character’s thoughts and feelings are presented by the narrator (a type of point-of-view). Symbolism - The use of specific objects or images to represent ideas. A symbol must be something tangible or visible, while the idea it symbolizes must be something abstract or universal. In other words, a symbol must be something you can hold in your hand or draw a picture of, while the idea it symbolizes must be something you can’t hold in your hands or draw a picture of. Synecdoche - substitution of a part to stand for the whole, or the whole to stand for a part. Examples: (1) The Confederates have eyes in Lincoln's government. (The word "eyes" stands for spies.) (2) Jack bought a new set of wheels. ("Wheels" stands for a car.) (3) The law pursued the bank robbers from Maine to Florida. ("Law" stands for police.) Theme – A universal message that unifies and controls an entire literary work. Tone – The attitude that a writer takes towards a subject or character: serious, humorous, sarcastic, ironic, satirical, tongue-incheek, solemn, objective. Tragedy - where a story ends with a negative or unfortunate outcome which was essentially avoidable, usually caused by a flaw in the central character’s personality. Tragedy is really more of a dramatic genre than a literary element; a play can be referred to as a tragedy, but tragic events in a story are essentially part of the plot, rather than a literary device in themselves. When discussing tragedy, or analyzing a story as tragic, look to the other elements of the story which combine to make it tragic. Tragic hero/tragic figure - A protagonist who comes to a bad end as a result of his own behavior, usually caused by a specific personality disorder or character flaw. (Although it is technically a literary element, the term is only useful for identification, as part of a discussion or analysis of character; it cannot generally be analyzed by itself.) Tragic flaw - The single characteristic (usually negative) or personality disorder which causes the downfall of the protagonist. Utopian Novel - a novel that presents an ideal society where problems like poverty, greed, and crime have been eliminated.