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a line of poetry made up of six iambs
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terms list

a line of poetry made up of six iambs
a story in which the characters, settings, and events stand for abstract or moral concepts
the repetition of consonant sounds in words that are close to one another
a reference to a statement, person, place, event, or thing that is known from literature, history, religion, mythology, politics, sports, science, or popular culture
a comparison of two things to show that they are alike in certain respects
the character or force that opposes or blocks the protagonist, or main character, in a narrative
a contrast of ideas expressed in a grammatically balanced statement
a concise sometimes witty saying that expresses a principle, truth, or observation about life
a figure of speech in which a speaker directly addresses an absent or dead person, an abstract quality, or something nonhuman as if it were present and capable of responding
private words that a character in a play speaks to the audience or to another character and that are not supposed to be overheard by others on stage
the repetition of similar vowel sounds followed by different consonant sounds in words that are close together
the mood or feeling in a literary work
a written account of the author's own life
a song or songlike poem that tells a story
an account of the series of events making up a person's life
blank verse
unrhymed verse (usually in iambic pentameter)
the natural rise and fall of the voice
a pause or break within a line of poetry, usually indicated by the natural rhythm of the language
a subdivision in a long poem, corresponding to a chapter in a book
carpe diem
a Latin phrase that literally m;eans "seize the day" - that is, "make the most of present opportunities."
an individual in a story or play
a movement in art, literature, and music that advocates imitating the principles manifested in the art and literature of ancient ("classical") Greece and Rome
an expression that was fresh and apt when first coined but is now so overused that it has become hackneyed and stale
the point of greatest emotional intensity or suspense in a plot - in drama it is the turning point or crisis
in general, a story that ends happily
a fanciful and elaborate figure of speech that makes a surprising connection between two seemingly dissimilar things
a struggle or clash between opposing characters, forces, or emotions
all the meanings, associations, or emotions that a word suggests
the repetition of final consonant sounds after different vowel sounds
two consecutive lines of poetry that rhyme
the literal, dictionary definition of a word
the final resolution of the main complication of a literary or dramatic work
deus ex machina
any artificial or contrived device used at the end of a plot to resolve or untangle the complications
a way of speaking that is characteristic of a particular region or group of people
conversation between two or more people
a day-by-day record of events and thoughts kept by an individual
a writer's or speaker's choice of words
a harsh, discordant combination of sounds
dramatic monologue
a poem in which a character addresses one or more listeners who remain silent or whose replies are not revealed
a poem that mourns the death of a person or laments something lost
end-stopped line
a line of poetry in which the meter and the meaning conclude with the end of the line
a long narrative poem that relates the great deeds of a larger-than-life hero who embodies the values of a particular society
a brief, clever, and usually memorable statement
in a literary work, a moment of sudden insight or revelation that a character experiences
an inscription on a tombstone or a commemorative poem written about a person who has died
an adjective or other descriptive phrase that is regularly used to characrterize a person place, or thing
a short piece of nonfiction prose that examines a single subject from a limited point of view
a very brief story in prose or verse that teaches a moral, or a practical lesson about life
falling action
events after the climax, leading to the resolution
a type of comedy in which ridiculous and often stereotyped characters are involved in farfetched, silly situations
figurative language
language that intentionally departs from the normal construction or meaning of words in order to create a certain effect or to make an analogy between two seemingly dissimilar things - includes all figures of speech
a scene in a movie, play, short story, novel, or narrative poem that interrupts the present action of the plot to "flash backward" and tell what happened at an earlier time
a character who sets off another character by strong contrast
the use of clues to hint at what is going to happen later in the plot
frame story
an introductory narrative within which one or more of the characters proceed to tell a story
free verse
poetry that has no regular meter or rhyme scheme
a term used to describe literary works that contain primitive, medieval, wild, mysterious, or natural elements
a figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion or create a comic effect
iambic pentameter
a line of poetry made up of five iambs
language that appeals to the senses
incremental repetition
a device widely used in ballads whereby a line or lines are repeated with slight variations from stanza to stanza
in medias res
the technique of starting a story in the middle and then using a flashback to tell what happened earlier`
a contrast or discrepancy between expectation and reality - between what is said and what is really meant, between what is expected and what really happens, or between what appears to be true and what really is true
verbal irony
occurs when a writer or speaker says one thing but really means something quite different - often the opposite of what he or she has said
situational irony
occurs when what actually happens is the opposite of what is expected or appropriate
dramatic irony
occurs when the audience or the reader knows something important that a character in a play or story does not know
a day-by-day record of events and personal impressions kept by an individual - like a diary
in Anglo-Saxon poetry, a metaphorical phrase or compound word used to name a person, place, thing, or event indirectly
lyric poetry
poetry that focuses on expressing emotions or thoughts, rather than on telling a story
a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two seemingly unlike things without using the connective words - like, as than, or resembles
dead metaphor
a metaphor that has become so common that it is no longer recognized as a figure of speech
extended metaphor
a metaphor that is extended, or developed, over several lines of writing or even throughout an entire poem
mixed metaphor
the incongruous mixture of two or more metaphors
metaphysical poetry
a term applied to the poetry of John Donne, Andrew Marvell, and other seventeenth-century poets who wrote in a similarly difficult and abstract style
a generally regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry - measured in units called feet which consist of one stressed syllable and one or more unstressed syllables
a figure of speech in which something closely related to a thing or suggested by it is substituted for the thing itself
mock epic
a comic narrative poem that parodies the epic by treating a trivial subject in a lofty, grand manner
in literature, a word, character, object, image, metaphor, or idea that recurs in a work or in several words
the reasons for or forces behind the action of a character
an anonymous traditional story that usually serves to explain a belief, custom, or mysterious natural phenomenon
one who tells, or narrates, a story
the revival of classical standards and forms during the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
a long fictional prose narrative, usually of more than fifty thousand words
an eight-line stanza or poem or the first eight lines of an Italian, or Petrarchan, sonnet
a complex, generally long lyric poem on a serious subject
the use of a word whose sound imitates or suggests its meaning
ottava rima
an eight-line stanza in iambic pentameter with the rhyme scheme abababcc
the imitation of a work of literature, art, or music for amusement or instruction
a type of poem that depicts rustic life in idyllic, idealized terms
a kind of metaphor in which a nonhuman thing or quality is talked about as if ti were human
the series of related events that make up a story or drama, consisting of a basic situation or exposition, conflict, complications, suspense, climax, and a resolution or denouement
point of view
the vantage point from which a writer tells a story
first-person point of view
the narrator is a character in the story using the pronoun "I"
limited third-person point of view
the narrator is outside the story
omnisicient or "all-knowing" point of view
the person telling the story knows everything that's going on in the story
the main character in fiction, drama, or narrative poetry
rounded or dynamic characters
characters who change in some important way by the end of the story
flat characters
minor characters that are not very deep and do not undergo any substantial change or growth
a play on the multiple meanings of a word or on two words that sound alilke but have different meanings
a four-line stanza or poem or a group of four lines unified by a rhyme scheme
in literature and art, the attempt to depict peole and things as they really are, without idealization
a repeated word, phrase, line, or group of lines
the final unraveling or solution of the plot
the repetition of accented vowel sounds and all sounds following them in words that are close together in a poem
end rhyme
occurs at the ends of lines
internal rhyme
occurs within lines
approximate rhyme
half rhymes, slant rhymes, or imperfect rhymes when words sound similar but do not rhyme exactly
rhyme scheme
the pattern of rhymed lines in a poem
the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables in language
historically, a medieval verse narrative chronicling the adventures of a brave knight or other hero who must undertake a quest and overcome great danger for the love of a noble lady or high ideal
a literary, artistic, and philosophical movement that developed during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as a reaction against neoclassicism
run-on line
a line of poetry that does not contain a pause or conclusion at the end, but rather continues on to the next line
the continuation of a syntactic unit from one line of verse into the next line without a pause
a kind of particularly cutting irony, in which praise is used tauntingly to indicate its opposite in meaning
a kind of writing that ridicules human weakness, vice, or folly in order to bring about social reform
the time and place of a story or play
short story
a brief work of fiction
a revelation, sudden knowledge, or insight
a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two seemingly unlike things by using a connective word such as like, as, than, or resembles
a long speech in which a character who is usually alone onstage expresses his or her private thoughts or feelings
a fourteen-line lyric poem, usually written in iambic pentameter, that has one of several rhyme schemes
Petrarchan sonnet
after the fourteenth-century Italian poet Petrarch - popularized the form of a sonnet divided into two parts: an eight-line octave with the rhyme scheme abbaabba and a six-line sestet with the rhyme scheme cdecde or cdcdcd
Shakespearean or English sonnet
three four-line units, or quatrains, followed by a concluding two-line unit, or couplet
Spenserian sonnet
developed by Edmund Spenser - is divided into three quatrains and a couplet, but uses a rhyme scheme that links the quatrains: abab bcbc cdcd ee
the imaginary voice, or persona, assumed by the author of a poem
Spenserian stanza
a nine-line stanza with the rhyme scheme ababbcbcc
sprung rhythm
a term coined by Gerard Manley Hopkins to designate his unconventional use of poetic meter - based on the stressed syllables in a line without regard for the number of unstressed syllables
a group of consecutive lines in a poem that form a single unit
stream of consciousness
a writing style that tries to depict the random flow of thoughts, emotions, memories, and associations rushing through a character's mind - sometimes called interior monologue
the manner in which writers or speakers say what they wish to say
the uncertainty or anxiety we feel about what is going to happen next in a story
a person, place, thing, or event that stands both for itself and for something beyond itself
a literary movement that began in France during the late nineteenth century and advocated the use of highly personal symbols to suggest ideas, emotions, and moods
in literature, a term used for descriptions of one kind of sensation in terms of another
symbolism; the part signifies the whole, or the whole the part (all hands on board)
tall tale
a type of folk literature characterized by humorous exaggeration and outlandish plot details
a triplet, or stanza of three lines, in which each line ends with the same rhyme
terza rima
an interlocking, three-line stanza form with the rhyme scheme aba bcb ded and so on
the central idea or insight of a work of literature
the attitude a writer takes toward the reader, a subject, or a character
a play, novel, or other narrative depicting serious and important events, in which the main character comes to an unhappy end
tragic flaw
an error in judgment or character weakness - the downfall may result from forces beyond his or her control
tragic hero
character who wins some self-knowledge and wisdom, even though he or she suffers defeat, possibly even death
a figure of speech that consists of saying less than what is really meant or saying something with less force than is appropriate
a nineteen-line poem divided into five tercets (three-line stanzas), each with the rhyme scheme aba, and a final quatrain with the rhyme scheme abaa
a quality of speech or writing that combines verbal cleverness with keen perception, especially of the incongruous
a metrical foot consisting of one short syllable followed by one long syllable or of one unstressed syllable followed by one stresed syllable


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