Situational Irony is a situation that demonstrates an incongruity between what the reader expects or presumes to be appropriate and what actually occurs.
Deus ex machina
(Latin) “a god from a machine.” A device used in Greek plays in which a god was lowered to the stage to solve the problems of the characters.
A regional variety of a language, with differences in vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation; a form of a language spoken by members of a particular social class or profession
A writer’s choice of words, phrases, sentence structures, and figurative language, which combine to help create meaning.
Having a primary purpose of teaching or instruction.
A combination of sounds that is unpleasant to listen to; lack of consistency or compatibility between actions or beliefs
In classical times, any poem on any subject written in “elegiac” meter; since the Renaissance, usually a formal lament on the death of a particular person.
The use of rhyme at the ends of lines of poetry, or an example of this
Running over from one line of poetry to the next without stop, as in the following lines by Wordsworth: “My heart leaps up when I behold / A rainbow in the sky.”
A short chapter or section at the end of a literary work, sometimes detailing the fate of its characters
A short poem or verse that seeks to ridicule a thought or event, usually with witticism or sarcasm.
A sudden intuitive leap of understanding, especially through an ordinary but striking occurrence
A long formal letter that often serves to instruct or a literary work in the form of a letter
A novel told as a series of letters written by one or more of the characters.
A word which makes the reader see the object described in a clearer or sharper light. It is both exact and imaginative.
A word or phrase used in place of a term that might be considered too direct, harsh, unpleasant, or offensive.
Soothing, agreeable sounds.
The use of rhymes as words that, because they are similarly spelled, look as if they rhyme but are in fact pronounced differently
The fourth part of plot structure, in which the complications of the rising action are untangled.
A rhyme scheme in which the lines containing rhyming words end in unstressed syllables
Language which is based on, or uses, figures of speech such as similes and metaphors.
Verse without a fixed metrical pattern, usually having unrhymed lines of varying length.
A plot-structuring device whereby a scene from the fictional past is inserted into the fictional present or dramatized out of order.
A fictional character, often but not always a minor character, who is relatively simple; who is presented as having few, though sometimes dominant, traits; and who thus does not change much in the course of a story. See round character.
The largest category for classifying literature—fiction, poetry, drama.
An unrhymed poetic form, Japanese in origin, that contains seventeen syllables arranged in three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively.
Interpretive or explanatory
A line of poetry with six feet: “She comes, | she comes | again, | like ring | dove frayed | and fled” (Keats, The Eve of St. Agnes).
Excessive pride or arrogance; the excessive pride and ambition that usually leads to the downfall of a hero in classical tragedy
An extravagant exaggeration. From the Greek for “overcasting,” hyperbole is a figure of speech that is a grossly exaggerated description or statement.
A metrical foot consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one.
The most common rhythm in English poetry, consisting of five iambs in each line.
In literary criticism and the study of semiotics, an object which functions as a sign for something which it is similar to or shares features with.
The guiding personality or value system behind a text; the implied author is not necessarily synonymous with the actual author.
in medias res
“in the midst of things”; refers to opening a story in the middle of the action, necessitating filling in past details by exposition or flashback.
A rhyme in which one of the rhyming words is within the line of poetry and the other is at the end of the same line or within the next line
A term that suggests some sort of discrepancy between appearance and reality. Verbal Irony is speech in which what is said is the opposite of what is meant. Dramatic Irony is a circumstance in which characters reveal their inability to understand their own situation.
The vocabulary of a particular language, field, social class, person, etc.
A light or humorous verse form of mainly anapestic verses of which the first, second, and fifth lines are of three feet; the third and fourth lines are of two feet; and the rhyme scheme is aabba.
Limited point of view or limited focus
A perspective pinned to a single character, whether a first-person-or a third-person-centered consciousness, so that we cannot know for sure what is going on in the minds of other characters; thus, when the focal character leaves the room in a story we must go, too, and cannot know what is going on while our “eyes” or “camera” is gone. A variation on this, which generally has no name and is often lumped with the omniscient point of view, is the point of view that can wander like a camera from one character to another and close in or move back but cannot (or at least does not) get inside anyone’s head and does not present from the inside any character’s thoughts.
A special form of understatement which is the assertion of an affirmative by negating its contrary: “He’s not too bright.”
Originally, a poem meant to be sung to the accompaniment of a lyre; now, any short poem in which the speaker expresses intense personal emotion rather than describing a narrative or dramatic situation.