LITERARY DEVICES NOTES FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR MOOD DEFINITION: the general sense or feeling a reader is supposed to get from a text EXAMPLE(S):
nostalgic, somber, sad, elated, happy IMAGERY DEFINITION: Descriptive language that uses sensory details (sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste) EXAMPLE(S): The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways. Six o'clock. The burnt-out ends of smoky days. HYPERBOLE DEFINITION: an extreme exaggeration to emphasize an idea EXAMPLE(S):
This book weighs a ton! PERSONIFICATION DEFINITION: Giving human traits, qualities, or characteristics to non-human objects EXAMPLE(S): The stars danced playfully in the moonlit sky.
PUN DEFINITION: A form of word play which suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. EXAMPLE(S):
I took up teaching fencing as I wanted my students to get the point. METAPHOR DEFINITION: Comparing two unlike things without using like or as. EXAMPLE(S): The assignment was a breeze.
SIMILE DEFINITION: Comparing two unlike things mandatorily using the words like or as. EXAMPLE(S): The student ran through the room like a tornado.
PLOT DEFINITION: the series of events and actions that takes place in a story EXPOSITION DEFINITION: the beginning of the story, establishment of setting and characters
RISING ACTION DEFINITION: the problem faced by the characters is introduced and it also includes the events in the story leading up to the climax CLIMAX DEFINITION:
conflict is solved; point of highest reader interest and tension FALLING ACTION DEFINITION: the action that follows the climax and reveals its results RESOLUTION
DEFINITION: how it all turns out FORESHADOWING DEFINITION: the author provides hints or clues to help the reader predict future events EXAMPLE(S): When Ruth Joness alarm clock woke her
at seven oclock that morning, she had no idea that today would be the longest day of her life. IRONY DEFINITION: a mismatch between what is said and what is meant (verbal irony), what a character knows and what the audience knows (dramatic irony), or what
is expected and what actually happens (situational irony) EXAMPLE(S): Verbal Irony: I love being grounded! Dramatic Irony: We know Romeo & Juliet will die before they do. Situational Irony: The firefighter was an arsonist. THEME
DEFINITION: A single sentence that conveys the universal message or lesson from the story or text. EXAMPLE(S): In order to have a successful future, we should work hard now. CONFLICT
DEFINITION: external conflict exists when a character struggles against some outside force, such as another character, nature, or society; internal conflict exists within the mind of a character who is torn between different courses of action. EXAMPLE(S): External Conflict: A man is wrestling a bear. Internal Conflict: A man is battling an addiction.
SUMMARY DEFINITION: a brief statement or account of the main or essential points of something. EXAMPLE(S): Batman, Gordon and Harvey Dent are forced to deal with the chaos unleashed by a terrorist mastermind known only as the
Joker, as he drives each of them to their limits. ORDER OF IMPORTANCE DEFINITION: Items are arranged from least important to most important (or vice versa) EXAMPLE(S): To prepare for a test, (1) pay attention in
class, (2) sleep well, and (3) eat breakfast. CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER DEFINITION: items, events, or even ideas are arranged in the order in which they occur. EXAMPLE(S): I woke up this morning, went out to lunch at noon, and fell asleep at night.
PROBLEM AND SOLUTION DEFINITION: divides information into two main sections, one that describes a problem and one that describes a solution EXAMPLE(S): If living in a dangerous neighborhood, one might recommend locks, surveillance
cameras, or even moving. CAUSE AND EFFECT DEFINITION: used to show the different causes and effects of various conditions EXAMPLE(S): By smoking for decades, she eventually developed lung cancer.
ALLITERATION DEFINITION: the repetition of consonant sounds at the start of neighboring words EXAMPLE(S): Tim used his tools to make toys for tots. POINT OF VIEW
DEFINITION: the perspective from which a story is told EXAMPLE(S): You provide the perspective for a personal narrative. 1ST-PERSON POINT OF VIEW DEFINITION:
The story is narrated by a character in the plot, so he or she will use pronouns like I, me, we, or us. EXAMPLE(S): I told him, You better get out of here! 2ND-PERSON POINT OF VIEW DEFINITION:
story is told through the use of you; may be for instructional purposes EXAMPLE(S): To bake the pizza, you first need to preheat the oven. 3RD-PERSON POINT OF VIEW DEFINITION:
The story is narrated by a person not involved in the plot, and all of the information provided is only gained by the 5 senses (no ones thoughts or feelings are revealed, but they might be inferred) EXAMPLE(S): Tom and Jeff both shrugged their shoulders when Rick asked where his pencil was.
3RD-PERSON OMNISCIENT POINT OF VIEW DEFINITION: The narrator is not a person in the plot, but the thoughts and feelings of two or more characters are revealed EXAMPLE(S): They are happy.
3RD-PERSON LIMITED POINT OF VIEW DEFINITION: The narrator is not a person in the plot, but the thoughts and feelings of only one character are revealed. EXAMPLE(S): Sally smiled when she entered the room. Mike was excited to see her.
FLASHBACK DEFINITION: a scene or moment that takes the story back in time from the current point. EXAMPLE(S): A woman walks by with a particular perfume; when you smell it, you immediately relive a memory from when you were 5, fell off your bike,
and were helped by a woman wearing that same fragrance. DIRECT CHARACTERIZATION DEFINITION: When the narrator describes a character by directly stating that characters personal traits EXAMPLE(S):
Curley was quick and mean. INDIRECT CHARACTERIZATION DEFINITION: the reader must decide for themselves what the character is like through the characters thoughts, actions, speech, looks, and interaction with other characters
EXAMPLE(S): When Mary entered the room, she gave us each $10 from her lottery winnings. SLANG DEFINITION: informal language EXAMPLE(S): dude, cool, swag
JARGON DEFINITION: terminology that relates to a specific group or profession EXAMPLE(S): AWOL, promissory estoppel, cash flow FOIL
DEFINITION: a character who contrasts with another character (usually the protagonist) in order to highlight the personality of the other character; a foil either differs drastically or is extremely similar but with a key difference setting them apart EXAMPLE(S): Joker is unethical and enjoys chaos and disorder; Batman is ethical and upholds justice and order
TONE DEFINITION: the apparent emotional state, or attitude, of the speaker/narrator/narrative voice, as conveyed through the language of the piece EXAMPLE(S): critical, bitter, appreciative, hopeful
MAIN IDEA DEFINITION: the most important or central thought of a paragraph or larger section of text, which tells the reader what the text is about EXAMPLE(S): Our ozone layer protects us from ultraviolet rays.
IDIOM DEFINITION: words, phrases, or expressions that cannot be taken literally; when used in everyday language, they have a meaning other than the basic one that you would find in the dictionary EXAMPLE(S):
He flew off the handle! DENOTATION DEFINITION: a direct specific meaning as distinct from an implied or associated idea EXAMPLE(S): The denotation of snake is a scaly, legless, sometimes venomous reptile."
CONNOTATION DEFINITION: The emotional suggestions and associations that a particular word evokes EXAMPLE(S): skinny versus slender RHETORICAL QUESTION
DEFINITION: a question asked to emphasize an idea and often not requiring an answer EXAMPLE(S): How dumb do you think I am? DRAMATIC IRONY DEFINITION: irony that is understood by the audience but not all of the characters in the
story EXAMPLE(S): Let us suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, Boom! There is an explosion. The public is surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has seen an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the audience knows it, probably because they have seen the anarchist place it there. The public is aware that the bomb is going to explode at one oclock and there is a clock in
the decor. The public can see that it is a quarter to one. In these conditions this same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene. The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: You shouldnt be talking about such trivial matters. Theres a bomb beneath you and its about to explode! -- Alfred Hitchcock SITUATIONAL IRONY DEFINITION: irony in which a situation surprises the audience and
characters; the outcome is contrary to what was expected EXAMPLE(S): When John Hinckley attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan, all of his shots initially missed the President; however, a bullet ricocheted off the bullet-proof Presidential limousine and struck Reagan in the chest. Thus, a vehicle made to protect the President from gunfire instead directed gunfire to the president.
VERBAL IRONY DEFINITION: irony in which a person says or writes one thing and means another, or uses words to convey a meaning that is opposite of the literal meaning. EXAMPLE(S) ON THE NEXT SLIDE
EXTENDED METAPHOR DEFINITION: a metaphor introduced and then further developed throughout all or part of a literary work EXAMPLE(S): The cafeteria is a jungle. Wild animals scrambling for food. Grunting like wild boars
Stampeding to the line Devouring their prey Cleaning their paws and then returning to their dens. ANECDOTE
DEFINITION: short story used to help prove a larger point EXAMPLE(S): Before giving a presentation on the dangers of drug abuse, the speaker tells the audience how he himself used to abuse drugs and explains the negative effects it had in his life. PARALLEL STRUCTURE
DEFINITION: using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance; sentence elements that are alike in function should also be alike in construction. EXAMPLE(S): The teacher said that he was a poor student because he waited until the last minute to study for the exam, completed his lab problems in a
careless manner, and lacked motivation. SYMBOLISM DEFINITION: The use of one object or action to represent or suggest something else. EXAMPLE(S): The serpent is one of the most widespread mythological symbols. In some instances,
serpents serve as positive symbols with whom it is possible to sympathize; in other instances, serpents serve as negative symbols, representing opposites or antagonists. ANALOGY DEFINITION: a comparison between two things, typically on the basis of their structure and
for the purpose of explanation or clarification EXAMPLE(S): the analogy between a heart and a pump ASSONANCE DEFINITION: the repetition of vowel sounds in nonrhyming words EXAMPLE(S):
Hear the mellow wedding bells Try to light the fire I must confess that in my quest I felt depressed and restless REPETITION DEFINITION: repeating a word, phrase, or idea to emphasize a point
EXAMPLE(S): Shes safe, just like I promised. She's all set to marry Norrington, just like she promised. And you get to die for her, just like you promised. -- Jack Sparrow, The Pirates of the Caribbean ALLUSION DEFINITION: a brief reference to a well-known work of art,
historical event, person or literary character, landmark, etc. EXAMPLE(S): I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-el, to save the planet Earth. -- Senator Barack Obama, speech at a fund-raiser for Catholic charities, October 16, 2008)
SETTING DEFINITION: the time and place of a story EXAMPLE(S): Germany, 1940 Philadelphia, 1787 Mars, 2047 SYNONYM
DEFINITION: a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase EXAMPLE(S): big and large ANTONYM DEFINITION:
a word having a meaning opposite to that of another word EXAMPLE(S): hot and cold ONOMATOPOEIA DEFINITION: words that imitate the sounds of the things they refer to
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