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Literary and Drama Terms

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1 Literary and Drama Terms
The “MUST KNOW” words

2 ALLEGORY A narrative (story in prose or poem) in which the characters and events represent deeper ideas EXAMPLE Coyote, Fox & Whale “Tortoise and the Hare” Biblical parables (i.e. Good Samaritan)

3 ALLITERATION Repeated consonant sounds at the beginning of words
EXAMPLES: “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” “Tiptoe through the tulips.” Tiny Tim

4 ALLUSION an indirect reference, usually to a historical figure or literary character EXAMPLES: “Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy.” (Senator Lloyd Bentson to Dan Quayle during 1988 vice-presidential debate) “Monica’s love of sweets is her Achilles’ heel.”

5 APOSTROPHE When a speaker or writer addresses an absent person, an idea, or an inanimate object EXAMPLE Wilson in Castaway “Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone/ Without a dream in my heart/ Without a love of my own” (Lorenz Hart)

6 ASIDE A piece of dialogue supposedly not heard by the other actors on the stage (a.k.a. “stage whisper”) EXAMPLES: Saved by the Bell, Scrubs, Ferris Beuller

7 ASSONANCE Repetition of vowel sounds, in stressed syllables
Examples: fleet feet sweep by sleeping geeks That is one pale pear, Sarah!

8 BEAT Rhythm and meter in verse EXAMPLE:
“It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea” ~ “Annabel Lee” by E.A. Poe

9 BLACKOUT A scene (in drama) that ends with lights off for dramatic or comic effect EXAMPLE Alien Adventure Ride Sopranos final episode cuts to black, leaving it unclear if the main character lived or died

10 CLIMAX A moment of great intensity, usually the turning point in a story EXAMPLE ~ Horror film-music screeching, on edge of seat ~ Big fight between the good guy and bad guy

11 COMIC RELIEF Humor used in a serious literary work to relieve tension or heighten emotional impact EXAMPLE Fresh Prince Han Solo in Star Wars

12 CONFLICT Opposition, or struggle, between characters or forces in a work of drama or fiction EXAMPLE ~ Batman versus Joker ~ Characters fighting tornadoes in Twister ~ Simba in The Lion King trying to decide whether to go back to his pride

13 CONNOTATION Associations implied by a word beyond its literal meaning (emotions or feelings associated with a word) EXAMPLE Gold=luxury, riches, wealth Scrawny = negative; Thin = positive

14 CONSONANCE Repetition of consonants or of a consonant pattern, especially at the end of words Example: I don’t like when you flick my neck, Jack!

15 COUPLET unit of verse with two lines in a row that rhyme and have the same meter EXAMPLES: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long as lives this, and this gives life to thee. SHAKESPEARE “I have the measles and the mumps,/ a gash, a rash, and purple bumps.” SHEL SILVERSTEIN

16 DENOTATION The direct (dictionary) meaning of a word
Gold=yellow shining substance usually found in the form of jewelry Thin & scrawny mean almost the same thing

17 Denouement Pronounced: “Day-new-mah”
Events after the climax in which the resolution happens – “unraveling of the knot” EXAMPLE Law & Order-after high speed chase, get the crook & get confession

18 DIALECT The manner or style of expressing oneself in language EXAMPLE
“I reckon we’re fixin’ to go over thar later.” “Eh, Jo, my fren, you like it here, non?”

19 DIALOGUE A literary work in the form of a conversation EXAMPLES
Heroes: 2 characters speaking Tony: “Hey, man. What’s going on? Scott: “Not much. We’re on our way to the movies.”

20 DRAMA A prose or verse composition intended to be performed by actors
EXAMPLES: Titanic, Law & Order Romeo and Juliet, The Crucible

21 DRAMATIC IRONY The dramatic effect in which the characters in the play are unaware of something the audience/ reader knows EXAMPLES: Any horror movie – you know the murder is in the room, but the character doesn’t Mean Girls – We know Lindsay Lohan & friends are setting up The Plastics, but they don’t know it

22 ELEGY A poem or song composed as a lament (praise/ sadness) for a deceased person EXAMPLES: “Candle in the Wind” – by Elton John to honor Marilyn Monroe (later used for Princess Diana) “One Sweet Day” – Mariah Carey & Boys 2 Men (about producer David Cole)

23 END RHYME in poetry, a rhyme that occurs in the last syllables of verses Also called external rhyme EXAMPLE I do not like green eggs and ham I do not like them, Sam I am Seuss

24 EXTENDED METAPHOR A metaphor that continues into the following sentences. A metaphor developed at great length . EXAMPLE: Painting – by Megan Sutter, Laura Young, and Sarah Peterson Painting is an untamed bird. You're free to show how you feel without consequence. There's nothing holding you back. Your emotions fly wildly.

25 FOIL Character contrasted with another to emphasize distinctive characteristics EXAMPLES: “SpongeBob”-Squidward & Patrick Han Solo & Luke Skywalker

26 FORESHADOW to give a hint or suggestion beforehand EXAMPLE
Grinch=show heart too small in beginning-predict will grow in end

27 FREE VERSE Verse with no fixed pattern of rhyme or meter EXAMPLE:
Running through a field of clover, Stop to pick a daffodil I play he loves me, loves me not, The daffy lies, it says he does not love me! Well, what use a daffy When Jimmy gives me roses? -- Flora Launa

28 HYPERBOLE A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect EXAMPLE: ~ I’ve told you a million times to take the trash out! ~ “I can’t live, if living is without you.” - Air Supply

29 IAMBIC PENTAMETER a meter in poetry -- unrhymed line with 5 iambs (or feet). Iambic means the stress is on the 2nd syllable Pentameter means a line has 5 feet. When Iambic pentameter is read aloud it would follow a beat such as Da-dum Da-dum. EXAMPLE (stressed syllables are in green): “Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon” (Romeo and Juliet)

30 IMAGERY “The sun rolling high/ Through the sapphire sky”
Use of vivid (highly descriptive) language to represent objects, actions or ideas EXAMPLE “The sun rolling high/ Through the sapphire sky”

31 INTERNAL RHYME Rhymes which occur within a line of verse EXAMPLE
“I may be skinny at times but I'm fat for the rhymes” (Jason Mraz) “You can tell your ma I moved to Arkansas” (Billy Ray Cyrus)

32 IRONY Expressing something different from and often opposite to what is expected EXAMPLE When Romeo sees Juliet apparently dead and kills himself, right before she wakes up

33 LYRIC Category of poetry that expresses thoughts and feelings, often in a song EXAMPLE Words of a song

34 METAPHOR A figure of speech in which two unlike things are compared; one is used as a symbol of another EXAMPLE A comfortable sofa is fertile soil for the couch potato.

35 MONOLOGUE A long speech given onstage, within the hearing of other characters EXAMPLE Johnny Carson-Tonight Show Jay Leno-Late Show Saturday Night Live-beginning

36 ONOMATOPOEIA Use of words to imitate sound EXAMPLE Buzz, Hum, Click

37 OXYMORON A phrase in which words that seem to be opposites are used together EXAMPLE Jumbo Shrimp, Sweet sorrow, Deafening silence

38 PARADOX A statement that seems to contradict itself but expresses a truth EXAMPLES: “Nobody goes to that restaurant anymore. It’s too crowded.” ~ Yogi Berra “What a pity that youth must be wasted on the young” - George Bernard Shaw

39 PARAPHRASE restatement of text in other words EXAMPLE
Read textbook, put meaning in your own words Most of the definitions on these slides

40 PARTIAL RHYME a.k.a. Slant Rhyme, off rhyme, half rhyme, near rhyme, approximate rhyme A partial or imperfect rhyme, often using assonance or consonance only. EXAMPLES: “I eat filet mignon, and I’m nice and young.” ~ Ciara “All those teenage dreams of rapping, Writing rhymes on napkins, Was really visualization, making this here actually happen” ~ Talib Kweli

41 PERSONIFICATION Figure of speech in which inanimate objects or ideas are given human qualities EXAMPLE: “The wind stood up and gave a shout. He whistled on his two fingers.” JAMES STEVENS

42 PLOT pattern of events or main story in a narrative or drama
Includes: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution

43 REFRAIN a phrase or verse repeated throughout a song or poem (in song, it’s called a chorus) EXAMPLE: "All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong?" ~ Beatles, “Eleanor Rigby”

44 REPETITION Use of repeated words or phrases for literary effect
EXAMPLE: T. S. Eliot's "Ash-Wednesday": Because I do not hope to turn again Because I do not hope Because I do not hope to turn....

45 RHYME Similarity of ending sounds of words or lines of verse EXAMPLE: “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” ~ Dr. Seuss

46 RISING ACTION Series of events that lead to the climax, usually conflicts or struggles of the protagonist (main character) EXAMPLE Police shows – evidence is being collected * Most of the story happens in the rising action*

47 SETTING Time & place in which a narrative, drama, or film takes place
EXAMPLE Sound of Music –Austria during WWII

48 SIMILE Figure of speech in which two unlike things are compared using “like” or “as” or “than” EXAMPLES: Ms. Harris’ English class is as fun as going to my favorite concert. “I want a girl . . ./ With fingernails that shine like justice/ And a voice that is dark like tinted glass.” ~ Cake, “Short Skirt, Long Jacket”

49 SOLILOQUY Speech given onstage in which a character reveals his or her thoughts when alone or unaware of the presence of other characters. EXAMPLE To be or not to be, that is the question — Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep … Shakespeare (Hamlet)

50 SONNET A 14 line form having a specific meter and rhyme schemes
EXAMPLE   Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?   Thou art more lovely and more temperate:   Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,   And summer’s lease hath all to short a date:   Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,   And often is his gold complexion dimm’d:   And every fair from fair sometime declines,   By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d.   By thy eternal summer shall not fade   Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;   Nor shall Death brag thou wandered in his shade,   When in eternal lines to time thou growest:   So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,   So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. SHAKESPEARE

51 SPEAKER One who delivers a public address
Also, the narrator of a poem or story EXAMPLE: Martin Luther King, Jr.

52 STAGE DIRECTION Part of the script of a play that tells actors how they are to move or to speak their lines. EXAMPLES: Enter, exit, and exeunt [sadly], [with conviction]

53 STANZA A division of a poem or song (called a verse in song)
Similar to paragraphs in prose writing

54 SYMBOL Something that represents something else (often a physical object representing a person or idea) EXAMPLES: Lion = courage Owl = wisdom

55 THEME The central meaning or strongest idea in a work of literature
EXAMPLES: “All is not what it seems to be” Isolation from others

56 TONE Manner of expression in speech or writing – reveals the author’s attitudes toward his/her subject EXAMPLES: Respectful (or not) Sympathetic (or not)

57 VERNACULAR Standard language spoken of a country or locality, a.k.a. slang, “everyday” language EXAMPLE: “They’ve gone up the road a piece.” “You want I should do it for you?”

58 VOICE Distinctive style of an author or of character in a book – what makes an author or speaker unique EXAMPLE: An author may use short sentences, description, everyday language, or figures of speech

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