2PARABLEA story or short narrative designed to reveal allegorically some religious principle, moral lesson, or general truth. Rather than using abstract discussion, a parable always teaches by comparison with real or literal occurrences--especially "homey" everyday occurrences a wide number of people can relate to. Examples: "The Prodigal Son" and "The Good Samaritan."
3PARADOXA statement that seems to contradict itself, but reveals a deeper truth through its contradiction. Examples: "where there is no law, there is no freedom” (John Locke) "Cowards die many times before their deaths” (Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar) "And all men kill the thing they love.” (Oscar Wilde's "Ballad of Reading Gaol”)
4PARALLELLISMWhen the writer establishes similar patterns of grammatical structure and length for the purpose of expressing ideas that are related or equal in importance. Example: "King Alfred tried to make the law clear, precise, and equitable.” AS OPPOSED TO "King Alfred tried to make clear laws that had precision and were equitable."
5PARODYA mocking imitation of another work or type of literature. Parody imitates the serious manner and characteristic features of a particular literary work in order to make fun of those same features. Examples: Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130” (“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun…”) Chaucer’s “Wife of Bath’s Tale”
6PASTORALA poem presenting shepherds in a simple, rural existence. It usually idealized shepherds' lives in order to create an image of peaceful and uncorrupted existence. More generally, pastoral describes the simplicity, charm, and serenity attributed to country life, or any literary convention that places kindly, rural people in nature-centered activities. Popular with Renaissance writers. Examples: “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe
7PERSONAL ESSAYA type of informal essay. A personal essay allows the writer to express individual viewpoints on subjects by reflecting on events or incidents in his or her own life. Examples: “A Hanging” by George Orwell A “Laws of Life” essay, in which you express your personal belief in a driving value of your life
8PERSONIFICATIONA figure of speech in which animals, ideas, and inanimate objects are given human character, traits, abilities, or reactions/emotions. Examples: “Here rests his head upon the lap of earth” “Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks/Within his bending sickle’s compass come” “hardship groaned around my heart” “Hunger tore at my sea-weary soul”
9PERSUASIONA technique used by writers and speakers to convince an audience to adopt a particular opinion, perform an action, or both. Persuasion often makes use of logical, emotional, and ethical appeal. Examples: Winston Churchill’s speeches A letter you write to your parents to convince them you should be allowed to go to prom
10PERSUASIVE ESSAYA piece of writing in which the writer attempts to convince readers to adopt a particular view or perform a specific action. Persuasive essays often present a series of facts, reasons, or examples to support the position statement. Examples: “Of Studies” by Sir Francis Bacon “Of Marriage and Single Life” by Sir Francis Bacon
11PERSUASIVE SPEECHA speech given to convince an audience to adopt a particular opinion, perform an action, or both. Persuasive speeches often makes use of logical, emotional, and ethical appeal and can sometimes use loaded language—language that brings up strong connotations for the audience. Examples: Churchill’s speeches Hitler’s speeches
12PETRARCHAN (ITALIAN) SONNET The Petrarchan sonnet has an eight line stanza (called an octave) followed by a six line stanza (called a sestet). The octave has two quatrains rhyming abba, abba, the first of which presents the theme, the second further develops it. In the sestet, the first three lines reflect on or exemplify the theme, while the last three bring the poem to a unified end. The sestet may be arranged cdecde, cdcdcd, or cdedce. Examples: All of Francesco Petrarch’s sonnets
13PLOTThe sequence of actions and events in a work of fiction. Most literary critics would agree that plot cannot exist without conflict. Example:
14POETRYA genre of literature in which the arrangement of lines on the page create a form which, when joined with content, suggest meaning beyond the literal meanings of the words. Examples: Poetic forms: Ballad, elegy, epic, haiku, narrative, sonnet, etc.
15POINT OF VIEWThe way a story gets told and who tells it; the method of narrating a short story, novel, narrative poem, or work of nonfiction. Examples: first-person third-person omniscient third-person limited
16PRIMARY SOURCEA book, document, or person that provides original, first-hand information about a topic. Examples: Letters, wills, diaries, recordings, government records. The Paston Letters Shakespeare’s baptism record
17PROP(Abbreviation of property) Any physical object that is used in a stage production. Examples: In Macbeth: Macbeth and Macduff’s swords, Banquo’s torch, the candle carried by Lady Macbeth
18PROSEAny material that is not written in a regular meter like poetry. Genres such as short stories, novels, letters, essays, and treatises are typically written in prose. Examples: Samuel Johnson’s essays; Elizabeth Gaskell’s fiction; Mary Shelley’s gothic novel; T.C. Boyle’s short stories
19PROTAGONISTThe main character in a work, on whom the author focuses most of the narrative attention Examples: Macbeth Federigo Beowulf Victor Frankenstein
20QUATRAINA quatrain is a stanza of four lines, often rhyming in an ABAB pattern. Examples: Gather ye rosebuds while ye may Old time is still a-flying And this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying Robert Herrick’s “To the Virgins to Make Much of Time”
21REALISMAny artistic or literary portrayal of life in a faithful, accurate manner, unclouded by false ideals, literary conventions, or misplaced aesthetic glorification and beautification of the world. It is a theory or tendency in writing to depict events in human life in a matter-of-fact, straightforward manner. Realism also refers to a literary movement in America, Europe, and England that developed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Examples: Charles Dickens’ portrayal of orphan life in Oliver Twist James Joyce’s short story “Araby” based on real life experiences of his childhood in Dublin, Ireland
22REPETITIONA technique in which a sound, word, line or phrase is repeated for emphasis or effect. Examples: Little Lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee? Little Lamb, I'll tell thee, Little Lamb, I'll tell thee. William Blake’s “The Lamb” “The Tyger” by William Blake “Sonnet 43” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
23RESOLUTIONThe outcome or result of a complex situation or sequence of events; an aftermath or resolution that usually occurs near the final stages of the plot; the denouement Examples: Victor’s death and the Creature’s discussion with Robert Walton in Frankenstein; Macbeth’s death and Malcolm’s speech to restore order in the kingdom
24RHYMEA matching similarity of sounds in two or more words, especially when their accented vowels and all succeeding consonants are identical. Examples: skating/dating emotion/demotion fascinate/deracinate plain/stain
25RHYME SCHEMEThe pattern of rhyme. The traditional way to mark these patterns of rhyme is to assign a letter of the alphabet to each rhyming sound at the end of each line. Examples: The glories of our blood and state A Are shadows, not substantial things; B There is no armor against fate; A Death lays his icy hand on kings: B Scepter and crown C Must tumble down, C And in the dust be equal made D With the poor crooked scythe and spade D From "Of Death" By James Shirley
26RHYTHMThe pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry. This pattern is usually notated by marking the meter of the line putting a diagonal line ( ´ ) or a macron ( - ) over stressed syllables. A small curving loop ( ˘ ) or a small x ( x ) goes over the unstressed syllables. This process is called scansion. Examples: "The cúrfew tólls the knéll of párting dáy."
27RISING ACTIONThe action in a play or work of fiction that happens just before the climax. During the rising action, complications arise for the main characters that make the conflict more difficult to resolve. Examples: Portion B-C
28ROMANCEAny imaginative adventure concerned with noble heroes, gallant love, a chivalric code of honor, daring deeds, and supernatural events; often contain faraway settings and idealize heroes. writers. Examples: Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Mallory “A Knight’s Tale” by Geoffrey Chaucer
29ROMANTICISMA literary movement of the 19th century that emphasized nature, an idealized past, imagination, and the celebration of the individual. Romanticism rejected the earlier philosophy of the Enlighten-ment, which stressed that logic and reason were the best response humans had in the face of cruelty. Instead, Romantics emphasized emotion and natural passions as a means of knowing and a reliable guide to ethics and living. Examples: Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge
30SARCASMA type of verbal irony; saying one thing that sounds complimentary but meaning the statement as an insult or criticism Examples: “You have clearly proved that ignorance, idleness, and vice are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator.” From Gulliver’s Travels By Jonathan Swift
31SATIREWhen a writer uses humor to point out the flaws of society by ridiculing a person, idea, custom, behavior, institution, or class in society. Examples: Chaucer’s mocking of the clergy in the medieval church Dave Barry’s “Year in Review” that provides a humorous overview of the past year
32SCRIPTURELiterature that is considered sacred and is used in religious rituals of worship, celebration, and mourning. Examples: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” Psalm 23 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” Ecclesiastes
33SESTETAny six-line stanza or a six-line unit of poetry; the last part of an Italian or Petrarchan sonnet, consisting of six lines that rhyme with a varying pattern. Examples: Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea: Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free, So didst thou travel on life's common way, In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart The lowliest duties on herself did lay. Wordsworth
34SETTINGThe general locale, historical time, and social circumstances in which the action of a fictional or dramatic work occurs; the particular physical location in which it takes place Examples: London, Scrooge’s past, present, and future in A Christmas Carol; the arctic, Geneva Switzerland, and Victor’s lab in Frankenstein; Sweden, Denmark, and Herot in Beowulf; Scotland during the Anglo-Saxon and early Medieval period in Macbeth
35SHAKESPEAREAN (ENGLISH) SONNET A poem made up of 14 lines in the form of three quatrains and a final couplet. Its rhyme scheme is abab, cdcd, efef, gg Example: That time of year thou mayst in me behold, When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang In me thou seest the twilight of such day, As after sunset fadeth in the west, Which by and by black night doth take away, Death's second self that seals up all in rest. In me thou seest the glowing of such fire, That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, As the deathbed, whereon it must expire, Consumed by that which it was nourished by. This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.
36SHORT STORYA brief prose tale that can be read in one sitting; usually plot functions as the driving force. Examples: “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson “The Rocking-Horse Winner” by D.H. Lawrence “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster
37SIMILEA type of figurative language that makes a comparison between two things, using the words like or as. Examples: “The world’s honor ages and shrinks, bent like the men who mold it” “…as a peacock with many feathers…folds its feathers, so she subsided and shut herself as she sank down in the leather armchair”
38SITUATIONAL IRONYWhen a character or the reader expects one thing to happen but something else happens instead Examples: In O Henry's “The Gift of the Magi,” the wife cuts off and sells her beautiful long hair to a wig-maker for money to buy a chain for her husband’s heirloom pocket watch. Meanwhile, the husband sells his heirloom watch to buy his wife pretty combs for her long and beautiful hair.
39SLANT RHYMEAlso called inexact rhyme or approximate rhyme, slant rhymes are rhymes created out of words with similar but not identical sounds. In most of these instances, either the vowel segments are different while the consonants are identical, or vice versa. Examples: Heart-smitten with emotion I sink down My heart recovering with covered eyes; Wherever I had looked I had looked upon My permanent or impermanent images
40SOLILOQUYA monologue spoken by an actor at a point in the play when the character believes himself to be alone. The soliloquy reveals a character's innermost thoughts, including his feelings, state of mind, motives or intentions. Examples: To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
41SONNETA poem of fourteen lines, usually in iambic pentameter, with rhymes arranged according to certain definite patterns. It usually expresses a single, complete idea or thought in the first 8 lines with a reversal, twist, or change of direction in the concluding 6 lines or in the remaining couplet. Examples: The poetic works of Shakespeare, Petrarch, and Spenser
42SOUND DEVICESAlso known as musical devices, sound devices are elements of literature and poetry that emphasize sound, often for a specific effect or emphasis. Examples: The most common sound devices are assonance, consonance, alliteration, rhyme and onomatopoeia “fastened those claws / In his fists till they cracked, clutched Grendel / Closer” (alliteration, onomatopoeia, consonance)
43SPEAKERThe narrative or voice in a poem (such as a sonnet, ode, or lyric) that speaks of his or her situation or feelings. It is a convention in poetry that the speaker is not the same individual as the historical author of the poem. The speaker/voice may be distant and objective, or intimate and involved with the subject of the poem. Examples: The speaker of “The Wife’s Lament” is passionately emotional about the loss of a husband; the speaker of Tennyson’s “Lady of Shalott” seems to be neutral and objective
44SPENSERIAN STANZAA nine-line stanza rhyming in an ababbcbcc pattern in which the first eight lines are pentameter and the last line is an alexandrine, or six-foot line. The name spenserian comes from the form's most famous user, Edmund Spenser, who used it in The Fairie Queene Examples: ababbcbcc
45SPRUNG RHYTHMAlso called "accentual rhythm," sprung rhythm is a term invented by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins to describe the metrical system in which the major stresses are "sprung" from each line of poetry. The accent falls on the first syllable of every foot and a varying number of unaccented syllables following the accented one, but all feet last an equal amount of time when being pronounced. Examples: Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. From Hopkins’ “Pied Beauty”
46STAGE DIRECTIONSSometimes abbreviated "s.d.," the term in drama refers to part of the printed text in a play that is not actually spoken by actors on stage, but which instead indicates actions or activity for the actors to engage in. In Shakespeare's day, these instructions were often given in Latin. Examples: Exit / Exeunt
47STANZAAn arrangement of lines of verse in a pattern usually repeated throughout the poem. Typically, each stanza has a fixed number of verses or lines, a prevailing meter, and a consistent rhyme scheme. A stanza may be a subdivision of a poem, or it may constitute the entire poem; stave. Examples: A quatrain, an octave, or a sestet, especially within a longer poetic work
48STEREOTYPEA character who is so ordinary or unoriginal that the character seems like an oversimplified representation of a type, gender, class, religious group, or occupation; a stock character Examples: the absent-minded professor; the merciless villain; the rejected lover
49STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS Writing in which a character's perceptions, thoughts, and memories are presented in an apparently random form, without regard for logical sequence, chronology, or syntax. Often such writing makes no distinction between various levels of reality--such as dreams, memories, imaginative thoughts or real sensory perception. Examples: James Joyce and Virginia Wolff are known for their stream of consciousness style of writing
50STRUCTUREThe way in which the parts of a work of literature are put together. The structure may be made up of paragraphs, chapters, acts, scenes, lines, and stanzas, depending upon the genre; form Examples: The numbering of T.S. Eliot’s sections to his poem “Preludes,” which allows him to shift time and place
51STYLEThe author's words and the characteristic way that writer uses language to achieve certain effects Examples: Emily Dickinson’s distinctive use of the em-dash (long dash) at the end of her poetic lines; Charles Dickens’ distinctively long descriptions of various scenes throughout his novels.
52SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS Traits that make up a supernatural tale; ghostly beings, power, or phenomena that go beyond the realm of reality Examples: The Green Knight who picks up his head after it is chopped off; the Ghost of Christmas Future who takes Scrooge on a journey to his potential future
53SUPERNATURAL TALEA story that goes beyond the bounds of reality, known forces, or laws of nature. Examples: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, with the emphasis that Dickens wanted to create a ghost story Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, with the emphasis that Shelley wanted to create a blood-curdling tale about a monster
54SURPRISE ENDINGA totally unexpected and unprepared-for turn of events, one which alters the action in a narrative and occurs at the end of the story Examples: In Sixth Sense, when Bruce Willis finds out that he is one of the dead people that Haley Joel Osmend sees; In The Others, when Nicole Kidman finds out that the strange noises and incidents have not been caused by ghosts, but by the live people living in the same house she and her children occupy in the spiritual realm.
55SUSPENSEThe tension or excitement readers feel as they are drawn into a story and become increasingly eager to know the outcome of the plot. Suspense is created when a writer purposes leaves readers uncertain or apprehensive about what will happen. Examples: The feeling that the Creature’s threat was not meant for Victor; a scene in a movie when the audience is uncertain about whether a train will go off the end of a bridge or not
56SYMBOLA word, place, character, or object that means something beyond what it is on a literal level Examples: The falcon in “Federigo’s Falcon,” with the idea that it comes to represent the love between Mona and Federigo; Herot in Beowulf, with the idea that it means “heart” and stands for the brotherhood and loyalty of the warriors
57SYNECDOCHEA figure of speech in which the name of a part is used to refer to a whole Examples: The use of “wheels” to refer to a car Eliot’s use of “muddy feet” to refer to early-morning crowds of people heading to work The use of “Twenty eyes watched our every move” to mean that ten people were watching
58SYNESTHESIAThe use of one sensory image to describe another Examples: “the cold smell of potato mold” “a heavy silence fell across the crowd” “the scent of roses rang clearly throughout the garden”