Literary Elements - techinedu


Analyzing and developing our understanding of basic literary terms

   Allegory/Allegorical Figure or political lesson : Story with two parallel consistent levels of meaning, one literal and one figurative, in which the figurative level offers a moral Alliteration of words : Repetition of consonant sounds (usually the initial sounds) in a series of words. It may be reinforced by repeated sounds within and at the ends Allusion : Reference, often to literature, history, mythology, or the Bible, that is unacknowledged in the text but that the author expects a reader to recognize

Ballad (poetry): Narrative poem, rooted in an oral tradition, usually arranged in quatrains rhyming


and containing a refrain Blank Verse (poetry): Lines of unrhymed iambic pentameter

Character: Fictional representation of a person, usually not necessarily in a psychologically realistic way.

    Round character – well developed, closely involved in the action and responsive to it Flat character – static, stereotypical, or operating as foils for the protagonist Dynamic character – growing and changing in the course of the action Static character – remaining unchanged

Dramatic Irony: occurs when the speaker believes one thing and readers realize something else

Dramatic Monologue: type of poem perfected by Robert Browning that consists of a single speaker talking to one or more listeners and often revealing much more about the speaker than he or she seems to intend

   Elegy: Poem commemorating someone’s death, usually in a reflective or mournful tone Epics: Long narrative poem, such as the the




or recounting the adventures of heroes on whose actions the fate of a nation or race depends. Frequently the gods or other supernatural beings take active interest in the Epiphany: Term first applied to literature by James Joyce to describe a sudden moment of revelation or insight such as the boy’s realization at the end of “Araby.”

 Figures of Speech: Expressions – such as a simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, and understatement – that use words to achieve effects beyond ordinary language  Flashback: An event that occurred earlier is told during a later sequence of events  Foreshadow: Presentation early in a story or play of situations, characters, or objects that seem to have no special importance but in fact are later revealed to have great significance

 Haiku: Seventeen-syllable, three-line form of Japanese verse that almost always uses concrete imagery and deals with the natural world  Hyperbole: Figurative language that depends on intentional overstatement

 imagery pattern of    realized Situational – exists when what happens is at odds  expect will happen with what is meant

Metaphor: Concise form of comparison equating two things that may at first seem completely dissimilar, often an abstraction and a concrete image Mood: Atmosphere created by the elements of a literary work (setting, characterization, imagery, tone, and so on)

Narrator: Person who tells the story

  Onomatopoeia : Word whose sound resembles what it describes: “snap, crackle, pop.” Ode : Relatively long lyric poem, common in antiquity and adapted by Romantic poets, for whom it was a serious poem of formal diction, often addressed to some significant object (such as a nightingale or the west wind) that has stimulated the poet’s imagination Excerpt from Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats

   Persona: Narrator created by the writer to tell a story; in Greek tragedy a persona was a mask worn by an actor Personification: A figure of speech that endows inanimate objects or abstract ideas with life or human characteristics Plot: Way in which the events of the story are arranged. When there is more than one story but one string of events is clearly the most significant, the other stories are called subplots

 Point of View: Perspective from which a story is told. The storyteller may be a major character in the story or a character who witnesses the story’s events (First-Person narrator) or someone who does not figure in the action at all (Third-Person narrator), in which case he or she may know the actions and thoughts of everyone in the story (Omniscient narrator) or just know some part of these (Limited Omniscient narrator)

Point Of View Books

 Realism: Writing that stresses life as it really is. Realism relies on careful description of setting and the trappings of daily life, psychological probability, and the lives of ordinary people.

Ibsen’s A Doll House is an example.

 Setting: Background against which the action of a work takes place: the historical time, locale, season, time of day, weather, and so on  Simile: Comparison of two seemingly unlike things using the words




 Symbol: Person, object, action, or idea whose meaning transcends its literal or denotative sense in a complex way. A symbol is invested with significance beyond what it could carry on its own

 Theme: Central or dominant idea of a piece of literature, made concrete by the details and emphasis in the work itself Good Vs. Evil is a common theme in literature

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

 “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. They're quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father. They're nice and all -- I'm not saying that -- but they're also touchy as hell. Besides, I'm not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything. I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy .” – Catcher in the Rye

SIMILE Playing the piano is like A bird soaring in the Sky.

When you play the keys it is like Flying your fingers across the Piano.

The notes are like Clouds drifting through the sky.

By Autumn Life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gunna get. – Forest Gump METAPHOR My life is a dream, like a tiger waking up from her deep sleep.

My life is like a dream, it's all up to me, the trees are purple, the Stars talk away the night, The moaning moon Lights up the sky.

  6.R.3.2