Lit Terms Multiple Choice

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Last updated: December 3, 2019

Convention
A device or subject matter so often used that it becomes a recognized means of expression.

Conceit/Controlling Image
In poetry a starting or unusual metaphor or one developed or expanded upon over several lines. When the image dominates or shapes the entire world it’s called a controlling image.

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Calloquialism
A word or phrase used in everyday conversational English that isn’t a part of accepted school book or formal English

Catharsis
The cleansing of emotion an audience member experiences having lived vicariously through the experiences presented on stage

Caricature
A portrait(verbal or otherwise) that exaggerates a facet of personality

Bombast
This is pretentious exaggeratedly learned language.

When one tries to be eloquent by using the largest most uncommon words, one falls into bombast

Bathos/pathos
When the writing of a scene evokes feelings of dignifies pity and sympathy, pathos is a work. When writing strains for grandeur it can’t support and tried to jerk tears from every little hiccup, that bathos think schmaltz

Aphorism
A short and usually worry saying such as “A classic? That’s a book that people praise and don’t read”

Analogy
The belief that natural objects and phenomena posses souls or consciousness

Anachronism
Something presented out of its actual chronological time in regards to the setting of a literary work

Ambiguity
Multiple meanings a literary work may communicate especially two meanings that are incompatible

Allegory
A story that can be taken on a literal as well as symbolic level to make a moral religious or political point eg. Animal Farm

Apostrophe
Direct address, usually to someone or something that is not present eg. Keats “Bright Star!cWould I were Steadfast” is an apostrophe to a star

Synecdoche
A figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole (as hand for sailor) the whole part (as the law for police officer) the specific for the general(as cutthroat got assassin) the general for the specific ( as thief for pickpocket) or the material for the thing made from it (as steel from sword)

Syllogism
A form of deductive reasoning in which two statements are made and a conclusion is drawn from them. E.g.

– if A=B & B=C then A=C. It begins with a major premise “All tragedies end unhappily” followed by minor premise “Hamlet is a tragedy” and conclusion “Therefore Hamlet ends unhappily”

Understatement
Restraint or intentional lack of emphasis in expression for rhetorical effects eg. Saying that you’re feeling a bit under the weather when you have a terminal illness

Stream of Conciousness
A form of narration similar to the first person except that instead of the character telling the story the author places the reader inside the main characters head and makes the reader privy to all of the characters thoughts as they scroll her consciousness

Tragic Flaw
In a tragedy this is the weakness of character in an otherwise good or even great individual that ultimately leads to his demise eg. In Macbeth it’s his ambition

Thesis
The theme, meaning or position that a writer undertakes to prove or support

Stereotype
A conventional pattern, expression, character or idea eg. The drink, the mistress, the foolish girl, the blonde

Soliloquy
A speech in which a character who is alone speaks his or her thoughts aloud. A monologist speaks to others who do not interrupt eg. Hamlets “to be or not to be”

Rhetorical Question
A question asked for effect not in expectation of a reply. No reply is expected because the question presupposes only one possible answer eg.

“Shall I wasting in despair/Die Bc a lady’s fair” already decided the answer is no

Reliablity
A quality of a some fictional narrations whose word the reader can trust reliable : Fitzgerald, Nick Carraway Conrads MarlowUnreliable: Poes: “Tell- Tale Heart”

Picaresque
Of or involving clever rogues or adventurous or relating to a genre of usually satiric fiction that originated in swoon and depicts the adventures of a roguish hero I’m a corrupt society

Personification
A figurative use of language that endows the nonhuman (ideas inanimate objects, animals, abstractions) with human characteristics, Keats, personifies the nightingale, and the autumn in his major poems

Persona
The mask work by an actor in geek drama. I’m a literary context the persona is the character of the first person narrate in verse or prose narratives and the speaker in lyric poetry. Stresses that the speaker is part of the fictional creation a mood or attitude adopted for the purposes of a particular work

Paradoy
A good composition that imitates the style of another composition normally for the comic effect

Paradox
A statement that seems to be self contradicting but in fact is true, such as “success has made failures of many men”

Parable
A story designed to suggest a principle, illustrate a moral or answer a question

Oxymoron
A combination of opposites; the contradictory terms. Romeos like “feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, stick health” has 4 examples of the device

Objectivity and subjectivity
An objective treatment of subject matter is an impersonal or outside view of events. A subjective treatment uses the interior or person view of a single observer and is typically colored with that observers emotional responses

Metonymy
A figure of speech that substitutes something closely related for the thing actually meant eg.

In Washington for the US govt or big guns for military power

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