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Terms: Literary 1.

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1 Terms: Literary 1

2 CONVENTION: A device of style or subject matter so often used that it becomes a recognized means of expression, or a traditional aspect of a literary work.

3 For example a soliloquy is a convention of a Shakespearean play; a tragic hero is a convention of Greek tragedy; stream-of- consciousness is a convention of Joyce works. Applied to characters, a lover observing the literary love conventions cannot eat or sleep and grows pale and lean (Romeo in the beginning of the play is a conventional lover.)

4 Stereotype: A conventional pattern, expression, character, or idea
Stereotype: A conventional pattern, expression, character, or idea. In literature, a stereotype could apply to the unvarying plot and characters of some works of fiction or to stock characters and plots.

5 PERSONA: Literally, a mask
PERSONA: Literally, a mask. In literature, a speaker created by a writer, with a voice not to be confused with the author’s, to tell a story or to speak in a poem. A persona is not a character in a story or narrative, nor does a persona necessarily directly reflect the author’s personal voice- although there may be some overlap; it is a separate self, created by and distinct from the author through which he or she speaks.

6 ATMOSPHERE: The emotional mood created by the entirety of a literary work, established partly by the setting and partly by the author’s choice of objects that are described; elements such as description of weather can also contribute to the atmosphere. Often, atmosphere foreshadows events. For instance, the setting and descriptions of Wuthering Heights can be said to create a wild, inharmonious atmosphere

7 SUBPLOT: A secondary plot that explores ideas different from the main storyline.
Example: in Hamlet, the main storyline has Hamlet avenging the death of his father; the subplot has Hamlet dealing with his love for Ophelia.

8 PARALLEL PLOT: A secondary storyline that mimics and reinforces the main plot.
Example: Hamlet deals with the death of his father, as Ophelia deals with the death of hers.

9 DIGRESSION: The use of material unrelated to the subject of a work
DIGRESSION: The use of material unrelated to the subject of a work. (Think Dickens or Fielding) EUPHEMISM: A figure of speech using indirection to avoid offensive bluntness, such as “passed away” for “died”

10 CLICHE: An idea or expression that has become tired and trite from overuse, its freshness and clarity having worn off; usually a sign of weak writing ELLIPSIS: The omission of a word or several words necessary for a complete construction that is still understandable. Example: “If rainy, bring an umbrella” is clear though the words “it is” and “you” have been left out.

11 SYLLOGISM: A deductive system of formal logic that presents two premises (the first one called “major” and the second “minor”) that inevitably lead to a sound conclusion. A syllogism’s conclusion is only valid if each of the two premises is valid. Example: major premise: All human beings are mortal minor premise: You are a human being conclusion: Therefore, you are mortal

12 INFERENCE: To draw a reasonable conclusion from the information presented. When a multiple-choice question asks for an inference to be drawn from a passage, the most direct, most reasonable inference is the safest answer choice. If the answer choice is directly stated, it is not inferred and a wrong choice.

13 PEDANTIC: An adjective that describes words, phrases, or general tone that is overly scholarly, academic, or bookish

14 ARCHETYPE: Describes the universal symbols that evoke deep and sometimes unconscious responses in a reader. In literature, characters, images, and themes that symbolically embody universal meanings and basic human experience, regardless of when or where they live, are considered archetypes. (See handout)

15 SEMANTICS The branch of linguistics that studies the meaning of words, their historical and psychological development, their connotations, and their relation to one another Refers to aspects of meaning, as expressed in language or other systems of signs.

16 DIDACTIC From the Greek, literally means “teaching.” Refers to works that have the primary aim of teaching or instructing, especially the teaching of moral or ethical principals

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