Download Handy reference for students: Reading and Literary Terms

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the workof artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts

Long poem wikipedia , lookup

The Morall Fabillis of Esope the Phrygian wikipedia , lookup

Topographical poetry wikipedia , lookup

Jabberwocky wikipedia , lookup

Ashik wikipedia , lookup

Poetry analysis wikipedia , lookup

Cunningham Intermediate School 234
Handy reference for students: Reading and Literary Terms
Allegory: A story with two meanings, a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning.
Alliteration: The repetition of consonant sounds, most often at the beginning of
Ex: “I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps.”
Allusion: A reference in a work of literature to a character, place, or situation from
another work of literature.
(Ex: In The Giver, the names Jonas and Gabriel are Biblical allusions. They
refer to characters in The Bible).
Anecdote: A brief account of a true event meant to entertain or inform. Anecdotes
are often used to reveal personality in nonfiction.
Antagonist: In a literary piece, the opponent or rival of the protagonist (hero).
Assonance: Resemblance or similarity of sounds between vowels followed by
different consonants in stressed syllables. (ex: w ke and h te—notice how the “long
a” makes them sound similar.)
Atmosphere: The mood or feeling that runs through a work of literature.
(Ex: In “All Summer in a Day,” Bradbury stresses the rainy, gloomy aspects
of the planet on which the characters live.)
Audience: The type of reader for whom a work is intended.
(Ex: Editorials in a newspaper supporting a candidate are intended for
Author’s purpose: Authors write for a variety of purposes, i.e., to inform, to
express their opinions, to entertain, to persuade, etc. These are general reasons
for an author to write a piece. Readers should consider the specific purpose of
each piece.
Autobiography: The story of a person’s life written by that person.
Ballad: A song-like poem that tells a story, often about romance or adventure.
Biography: The story of a person’s life written by someone other than that person.
Cause and effect: A relationship between events in which one event—the cause—is
the reason why another event—the effect—takes place.
Character: A person or animal involved in a story, novel, or play.
Characterization: The personality of a character and the method by which an
author reveals that personality (through words or actions; by the reaction of
others to the character).
Chronological order: The time order in which events naturally happen.
Cinquain: A five-line poem in which each line tells about the subject of the poem.
Climax: In the plot of a story, novel, or play, it is the point of the reader’s highest
interest and greatest emotional involvement.
Compare and contrast: A similarity (comparison) or difference (contrast) between
two or more items.
Concrete language: Specific words that appeal to the five senses and are used to
create images.
Ex: From “Seagulls” by Robert Francis:
“Arc intersecting arc, curve over curve” is more visual than “the seagulls are
very graceful.”
Concrete poem: A poem shaped to look like its subject.
Stands in the forest
Where no one can hear it when it
Falls to the ground. The winter snow covers the
Conflict: A part of the plot of a story, novel, or play that is the struggle between
two or more opposing forces. External conflict is when a character struggles
against an outside force, such as nature, fate, or another person. Internal conflict
takes place within a character’s mind.
Couplet: Lines rhymed in pairs.
Ex: Up in the meadows, rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn…..
Dialect: A special form of speech that belongs to a particular group or region.
Ex: Some people think Brooklynites might direct you to “terty-terd and terd
Dialogue: Conversation between characters in a literary work. Dialogue can advance
the plot or reveal the personalities of the characters.
Drama: The form of literature that presents a story to be performed for an
audience. The written script of a drama contains dialogue—the speeches of the
characters—and stage directions—the writer’s descriptions of settings, characters,
and actions.
Elegy: A sad poem or a poem written for someone who has died.
Exposition: (1) A type of writing (expository) that presents facts or explains ideas;
(2) the introduction of a plot line in which the setting, characters, and conflict are
introduced to the reader.
Fable: A brief folk tale told to teach a moral or lesson. Often, the characters are
Fairy tale: An imaginary story about fairies, elves, magical deeds, giants, etc.
Fantasy: Fictional events and details could not occur in real life. The opposite of
fantasy is reality, which in a written work consists of details that seem true to life.
Fiction: Literature that narrates imaginary events and portrays imaginary
characters. Types of fiction include short stories, novels, romance, and fantasy.
Figure of speech: Words or phrases that have meaning different from literal
meaning, such as idioms, metaphors, and similes.
Ex: It’s raining cats and dogs.
Figurative language: Imaginative language that is used for descriptive effect and
not meant to be taken as the literal truth. Instances of figurative language include
idioms, similes, metaphors, and hyperboles.
Flashback: In a narrative, a scene or incident that breaks the normal time order of
the plot to show an event that happened earlier.
Folktale: An old story that was originally told orally, or by word of mouth, passed
down from generation to generation.
Foreshadowing: The use of clues by a writer to prepare the reader for future
developments in a story, novel, or play.
Free verse: Poetry that is unrhymed and arranged in lines and phrases with uneven
Genre: A type or form of literary text. Genre categories can be hugely broad, like
fiction or nonfiction, or they can be narrow, like sonnet. Each genre has specific
characteristics, such as poetry.
Haiku: A three line poem, usually on the subject of nature, with five syllables in the
first and third lines, and seven syllables in the second line.
Historical fiction: A genre in which the story is based on actual historic events but
the characters or situations are fictitious.
Hyperbole: A form of figurative language that expresses an exaggeration.
Imagery: Language that appeals to the senses because it uses words to create a
picture or likeness for the reader.
Index: An alphabetical table of contents in a book, often found in the back of the
Irony: A difference between the way things seem to be and the way they actually
are. It is often a “twist of fate,” in that the thing you expect to happen does not
actually happen; rather, the opposite of what you expect to happen often does.
Limerick: A humorous five-line poem that follows a specific form: three long lines
(1, 2, and 5) that rhyme, and two short lines (3 and 4) that rhyme. The rhyme
scheme would be A, A, B, B, A.
Lyric poem: A poem that expresses a personal thought or emotion. Most are short
and present vivid images.
Metamorphosis: A change in shape or form. Often found in Greek myths as when
one thing is transformed into another.
Metaphor: A figure of speech that compares or equates two basically different
Mood: The dominant emotion expressed in a piece of writing (sorrow, happiness).
Often the tone is implied by the writer while the mood is inferred by the reader.
Moral: The lesson that the story or fable teaches.
Myth: An ancient, anonymous story that conveys the beliefs and ideals of a culture
and usually involves gods and goddesses. Myths originally explained an aspect of
nature or of human life.
Narrative: A type of writing that tells a story. A narrative work may be either
fiction or nonfiction. Types of narrative writing include autobiographies,
biographies, short stories, novels, and narrative poems.
Narrative poem: A poem that tells a story. The events are often told in
chronological order.
Narrator: In a short story or novel, the person who tells the story. A first-person
narrator is a character in the work who tells the story as he or she experiences it.
A third-person narrator is an outside observer—not a character in the story—who
describes the thought and experiences of the characters. Third person limited is
where the narrator usually focuses on just one or none of the characters, but
third person omniscient (all knowing) is where the narrator knows the feelings and
thoughts of all the characters.
Nonfiction: Factual prose writing. Nonfiction always tells about incidents that
really happened and people who really lived. Nonfiction includes autobiography,
biography, essays, reviews, articles, etc.
Novel: Long work of prose that tells a story.
Ode: A poem written in praise of someone or something.
Onomatopoeia: The use of a word or phrase that imitates or suggests the sound of
what it describes. (ex: gobble, buzz, pop, tick tock, clippety-clop).
Opinion: A statement expressing an individual’s personal belief. An opinion is not a
fact, which is a statement that can be proven true. Usually words like best,
interesting, pretty, bad, or terrible express one’s opinion.
Oral tradition: The handing down of songs, poems, legends, and folk tales from
generation to generation by word of mouth.
Oxymoron: Expression with opposite contradictory words. (ex.: jumbo shrimp, cold
Paraphrase: A restatement in the reader’s own words of the content of a written
work. By paraphrasing a written work, a reader can gain a better understanding of
the writer’s meaning.
Personification: The linking of human quality or ability to an animal, an object, or an
idea. (ex: The wind whispered through the night. The trees danced in the breeze.)
Persuasion: Persuasive writing is a type of writing in which an author attempts to
make the reader accept an opinion or take action of some kind. A newspaper
editorial is an example of persuasive writing.
Plot: The sequence of events in a short story, novel, or play. The plot is the entire
action of the story, including the exposition (we are introduced to the characters
and setting), rising action, where the conflict (struggle between opposing forces)
develops, climax (the point of the reader’s highest interest or the turning point),
the falling action (where the conflict begins to resolve), and the resolution (reveals
the final outcome of the plot).
Poetry: Imaginative writing in which language, sound, images, and rhythm combine to
create a special emotional effect. Poetry is usually arranged in lines.
Point of view: (POV) The relationship of the storyteller, or narrator, to the story.
First person point of view is told by a character. This character speaks directly to
us and refers to himself/herself as “I.” A story told from the third person point of
view is told by the author. The author acts as narrator, or storyteller, who stands
outside the story. This narrator, who is not a character, refers to all the
characters as “he” or “she.”
Prose: The kind of writing that is used in short stories, novels, works of nonfiction,
journalism, etc. Prose is distinguished from poetry. Unlike poetry, prose is written
in lines that run from margin to margin across a page. Prose is also divided into
sentences and paragraphs and is more like everyday speech than poetry.
Proverb: A saying that is generally believed to be true.
(ex: “Silence is golden.” “A stitch in time saves nine.”)
Protagonist: The central figure in a literary work.
Refrain: In some songs or poems, a line or group of lines repeated at regular
Repetition: The repeated use of sounds, words, phrases, or lines. Repetition
emphasizes important items and helps unify a poem or other work of literature.
Resolution: In a story, novel, or play, the part of the plot that presents the final
Rhyme: The repetition of the same or similar sounds in words that appear near each
other in a poem. The most common type of rhyme is end rhyme, which occurs at the
end of the lines of a poem. Rhyme scheme is the pattern of the rhymes within a
Rhythm: The pattern of beats made by stress and unstressed syllables in the lines
of a poem. A poem’s rhythm usually reflects its meaning. For instance, a fast
rhythm fits a poem of action, while a slower rhythm is appropriate in a poem that
expresses a calm feeling. Rhythm may be regular and follow a repeated pattern, or
it may be irregular.
Scanning: A method of reading in which the reader searches quickly through a work
for a particular word, phrase, or piece of information.
Setting: The time and place in which a story, novel, or play occurs. Setting may be
directly stated, where the reader is told when and where the story takes place, or
it may be implied, where clues are given to help the reader establish where and
when the story is taking place.
Short story: A genre in fiction in which a story is told in a brief narrative. Most
short stories have one or more characters and happen in a particular time and place.
The plot is the sequence of events in the story.
Simile: A figure of speech that uses the words like or as to directly compare two
seemingly unlike things.
Skimming: A method of reading in which the reader glances quickly through a
written work in order to preview it. The reader skims through a written work by
noting the title, table of contents, headings, any boldfaces or italicized terms, and
illustrations (text features).
Sonnet: A fourteen-line poem that is reflective in nature.
Stage directions: In drama, a writer’s instructions for performing the work and
descriptions of characters, actions, and settings.
Staging: The acting, costumes, sets, lighting, sound effects, and other special
effects that bring a play to life.
Stanza: A group of lines forming a unit in a poem.
Stereotype: A kind of character who has only a few personality traits and is more a
category than a real, individualized person. Stereotypes are sometimes used in
literature to teach a lesson or make a point.
Suspense: The reader’s interest in the outcome of a work of literature.
Symbol: A word or object that stands for something else. (ex: The color green is a
symbol for jealousy; the flag is a symbol of a country.)
Theme: The central idea of a literary work, usually expressed as a generalization
about life. A stated theme is one that the author expresses directly in the work.
An implied theme is one that is not stated directly in the work but is suggested by
the work’s other elements.
Thesis statement: A sentence or group of sentences expressing the central idea in
a work of nonfiction. The material that follows the thesis statement supports and
develops it with facts, incidents, examples, and details.
Title: The name of a work of literature. The title sometimes refers to an
important character or event or provides a clue to the main idea.
Tone: The author’s attitude toward his subject (humorous, ironic, approving,
Topic sentence: The sentence that expresses the main idea of a paragraph of
Voice: The usually unmentioned person who is telling the story. Also, the sense that
the reader gets about the person who is telling the story.