ENGLISH EXAM POETRY, NOVELS, AND SHORT STORIES, PLAYS

Allegory
A symbolic narrative in which the surface details imply a secondary meaning, often taking the form of a story in which the characters represent moral qualities. The “iceberg”- “The Masque of the Red Death” – Poe

Alliteration
The repetition of consonant sounds and the beginning of the words.
Example: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

Aside
a part of an actor’s lines supposedly not heard by others on the stage and intended only for the audience

Apostrophe
a character addresses something (an inanimate object or abstract idea) or someone who is not present or is literally unable to answer.
Example: Heart! We will forget him!

Assonance
The repetition of similar vowel sounds in a sentence or a line of poetry or prose, as in “I rose and told him of my woe.” Whitman’s “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” – “How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick/ Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself.”

Chorus
The Chorus is a group of actors that together speak, sing, and dance in one body. One of the primary functions of the chorus is to provide atmosphere and, in some ways, underscore the tragic action.

Circular narrative
a story that begins in the same place it ends
Example: A Separate Peace

Connotation
The associations called up by a word that goes beyond its dictionary meaning.
Example: “Vacation”- ski slopes, beaches, mountains, etc. – the word conjures up various images.

Couplet
A pair of rhymed lines that may or may not constitute a separate stanza in a poem. Shakespeare’s sonnets end in rhymed couplets, as in “For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings/ That them I scorn to change my state with kings.

Denotation
The dictionary meaning of a word. Vacation- literally- a break from work or other obligations

Denouement
The resolution of the plot of a literary work.

Diction
A writer’s choice of words to convey action, reveal character, imply attitudes, identify themes, and suggest values. In the last room, Poes

Elegy
a lyric poem (expresses emotion) that laments the dead. “The Funeral” / “Those Winter Sundays”

Epic
A long narrative poem that records the adventures of a hero. Epics typically chronicle the origins of a civilization and embody its central values
Example: The Odyssey

Figurative languauge
A form of language use in which writers and speakers convey something other tan the literal meaning of their words.
Examples include: personification, hyperbole, understatement, metaphors

Flashback
An interruption of a work’s chronology to describe or present an incident that occurred prior to the main time frame of a work’s action.

Foil
A character who contrasts and parallels the main character in a play or story. The hot-tempered Tybalt is a foil to the love-struck Romeo.

Foreshadowing
Hints of what is to come in a story. Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado” contains foreshadowing.

Framework Story or Frame Story
a “story within a story” a secondary story or stories embedded in the main story- narrative provideing the framework for connecting a series of otherwise unrelated stories.

Free Verse
poetry without regular meter or rhyme

Hyperbole
A figure of speech involving exaggeration.
Example: “Only the giant who was my father…” (“The Funeral”)

Imagery
words or phrases that conjure images in the reader’s mind, often marked by strong diction, figurative language, specific details

In media res
“in the middle of the things”

Irony
A contrast or discrepancy between what is said and what is meant or between what happens and what is expected to happen in life and in literature.
Verbal- characters say the opposite of what they mean.
Situational- the opposite of what is expected
Dramatic- the audience or reader knows information a character (s) don’t know

Juxtaposition
contrasting scenes, events, people placed side by side for effect. In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby’s mansion right next door to Nick’s cottage

Lyric Poem
A type of poem characterized by brevity, compression, and the expression of feeling. Most of the poems in this book are lyrics.

Metaphor
A comparison between essentially unlike things without an explicitly comparitive word such as like or as. An example is “My love is a red, red, red rose,”

Metonymy
A figure of speech in which a closely related term is substuted for an object or idea.
An example: “We have always remained loyal to the crown.”

Mononlogue
(drama) a long speech made by one actor in a play
Example: Mecrutio’s Queen Mab speech

Narrative Poem
A poem that tells a story.
Example: “Porphyria’s Lover”

Narrator
The voice and implied speaker of a fictional work, to be distinguished from the actual living author.
Example: In “Porphryia’s Lover”, we get a glimpse of lire through a madman’s eyes. In “My Last Duchess,”- through the eyes of a jealous murderer.

Octave
8 lines of rhyming poetry (in a Italian sonnet

Onomatopoeia
The use of words to imitate the sounds they describe: buzz and crack.

Oxymoron
two opposite words put together for effect
“Perfect imperfection”

Paradox
contradictory statement or sentence that can be explained

Persona
the speaker or narrator of a poem; NOT necessarily the author

Personification
giving inanimate objects or abstract concepts human characteristics, emotions, abilities
Example: The flowers danced in the breeze.

Point of View
the perspective from which the story is told
-First Person: the narrator is a character or an observer (“I)
-Second Person: “You” (or the implied “you” in imperative sentence)
-Objective: the narrator knows or appears to know no more than the reader and presents the story in a non biased, detached, factual way (like a newspaper article). The narrator does not have access to anyone’s thoughts or feelings unless they are expressed out loud.
-Omniscient: the narrator is outside of the action and he knows everything about the characters and has access to their minds and emotions
-3rd person limited omniscient: the narrator is outside the story but can relate what on character is thinking and feeling.

Pun
a play on words (found often in Shakespeare)

Quatrain
a four-line stanza in a poem (a Shakespearean sonnet)

Sestet
A six-line unit of verse constituting section of a poem; the last six lines of an Italian sonnet.

Setting
The time and place of a literary work that establish its context.

Similie
A figure of speech involving a comparison between unlike things using like, as, or as though.
Example: “My love is like a red, red rose.”

Soliloquy
a speech made by an actor alone onstage
(like a monologue)

Sonnet
a fourteen-line poem in iambic pentameter
-Shakespearean is arranged as three quatrains and a final couplet rhyming abab cdcd efef gg
-Petrarchan or Italian divides into two parts: an eight line octave and a six line sestet, rhyming abba abba cde cde or abba abba cd cd cd

Stanza
A division or unit of a poem that is repeated in the same form- either with similar or identical patters or rhyme and meter

Style
The way an author chooses words, arranges them in sentences or in lines of dialogue or verse, and develops ideas and actions with description, imagery, and other literary techniques.

Symbol
an object or action in a literary work that means more than itself, that stands for something beyond itself

Synecdoche
A figure of speech in which a part is substituted for the whole
Example: Lend me a hand.

Syntax
The grammatical order of words in a sentence or line of verse or dialogue. The organisation of words and phrases and clauses in sentences of prose, verse, and dialogue. (sentence structure)

Theme
the life, human nature, societal message, in a work of literature

Tone
the implied attitude of a writer toward the subject and characters of a work

understatement
a figure of speech in which a writer or speaker says lees than what he or she means, opposite of over exaggeration.