VHS 11th Grade Lit. Terms & Devices

  1. Hyperbole
    An extreme exaggeration (Ex.  my backpack weighs 1,000 pounds).
  2. Dialect
    Characteristic language of a particular region or social group.
  3. Oxymoron
    A figure of speech that combines contradictory (opposite) statement/words (ex.:  jumbo shrimp).
  4. Aphorism
    A short statement/saying that expresses a wise saying about life.  It is often memorable even if out of context.
  5. Assonance
    Consecutive/adjacent words that begin with the same VOWEL SOUND.
  6. Epitaph
    A short saying/phrase honoring someone who has died.  It is typically placed on the gravestone.
  7. Comedy
    A literary work that ends happily.
  8. Epigraph
    Not to be confused with epitaph, this is a short quote at the beginning of a piece that introduces a theme.
  9. Foreshadowing
    When the author gives hints or clues about upcoming events in the story.
  10. Caricature
    Portrayal of characters with exaggerated/ distorted physical traits (huge noses, squints).
  11. Point of View
    The perspective from which something is told.

    1st person - the speaker is talking from within - the use of the pronoun "I" is prevalent.

    2nd person - is when the story is addressing the reader directly - talking to "you".

    3rd person omniscient - an all knowing outside narrator.

    3rd person limited - an outside narrator who only divulges information from certain characters' perspectives.
  12. Conflict
    Two opposing forces.  Could be external - meaning between a character and another character or some outside force.  Could be internal where a character has a conflict within himself.
  13. Imagery
    Descriptive language used to create a vivid picture in the mind of the reader.  It should appeal to the readers senses.
  14. Parallelism
    Use of phrases or sentences that are similar in structure of wording.  Often used for emphasis.
  15. Rhetoric
    Use of language for persuasion.  An author's appeal to reason, intellect, and emotion in an effort to convince an audience.
  16. Sonnet
    A 14 line poem with specific rhyme scheme and structure.  Typically the rhyme scheme is:  abab, cdcd, efef, gg.
  17. Repetition
    Repeating of a word, phrase, or concept with the purpose of emphasizing its importance.
  18. Tone
    The attitude of a writer toward a subject.  Tone is usually implied.
  19. Flashback
    The interruption in a story to reveal a past event (often before the story takes place).
  20. Allegory
    A story in which the characters, actions, objects, or settings represent abstract or symbolic ideas.
  21. Antagonist
    The character opposed/in conflict with the main character.
  22. Consonance
    The repetition of IDENTICAL CONSONANT SOUNDS that are preceded by different vowel sounds.
  23. Stanza
    Group of lines in a poem that functions as one unit; like a paragraph in prose.
  24. Characterization
    How an author develops the characters in a story.  Can be direct or indirect.
  25. Soliloquy
    Speech made by an actor along on stage, usually done to reveal a characters' feelings to the audience.
  26. Denotation
    Basic or literal meaning of a word or expression - the dictionary definition.
  27. Mood
    How the reader feels when reading the passage.  Mood is usually created by the tone.
  28. Diction
    Authors choice of words to provide a certain effect.
  29. Iambic Verse
    Alternating stressed and unstressed syllables.

    Iambic couplet = usually the last lines in a poem when the lines are in iambic verse and the last words in each line rhymes with one another.
  30. Inference
    A reasonable conclusion about a character or an event drawn from the limited information presented by the author.
  31. Connotation
    Emotional association or implication attached to a word or phrase (ex.:  unique has a positive connotation, while strange has a negative connotation).
  32. Rhyme Scheme
    The pattern given to the rhyming patterns at the end of lines in a poem
  33. Symbolism
    When an author uses objects or descriptions to represent something else (ex.: white might stand for purity).
  34. Figurative Language
    Language that suggests more than the literal meaning of the words.
  35. Motif
    Recurring feature (image, word, phrase, etc) in a literary work that contributes to the overall theme
  36. Alliteration
    Consecutive or adjacent words that begin with the same CONSONANT SOUND.
  37. Ballad
    A song-like poem that tells a story often dealing with adventure, romance; contains simple language, four to six line stanzas, rhyme, and regular meter.
  38. Genre
    Category or type of literature (ex.: poetry, prose, drama, short story, novel).
  39. Allusion
    Reference to a historical, mythological, or literary person/place/or thing.  It can also be a reference to a work of art.
  40. Vernacular
    Everyday spoken language of people in a locality, writing that imitates or suggests language.
  41. Blank Verse
    Poetic lines of unrhymed iambic pentameter (containing 5 literary metric feet).
  42. Anecdote
    A rhetorical device used to appeal to an audience's emotion.  When an author uses a short story in a speech or a piece of writing to emphasize a point.
  43. Satire
    Technique which employs wit to ridicule a subject, usually some social institution or human foible (minor flaw) with the intention to inspire reform.
  44. Idiom
    An expression peculiar to a language; not literally translatable (ex.: a dime a dozen, a chip on his shoulder).
  45. Theme
    An underlying idea, moral, or lesson of a piece of writing.
  46. Protagonist
    The main character.
  47. Quatrain
    A stanza of four lines; rhymed or unrhymed.
  48. Metaphor
    A comparison of two unlike things NOT using "like" or "as"
  49. Free Verse
    Poetry which is unrhymed and unmetered.
  50. Irony
    The contract between what is stated and what is meant OR between what is expected to happen and what actually happens.
  51. Setting
    The time and place where the story takes place.
  52. Simile
    A comparison of two unlike things USING "like" or "as"
  53. Couplet
    A pair of rhymed lines.
  54. Tragedy
    A work of serious fiction involving the downfall of hero(es).
  55. Personification
    Giving lifelike characteristics to something without life.
  56. Syntax
    The grammatical structure of a sentence (the way the words in a sentence are arranged).
  57. Rhetorical Question
    A question posed for effect.  The answer is usually obvious.
  58. Onomatopoeia
    Words that imitate the sounds they make (ex.: buzz).
  59. Paradox
    An apparently untrue or contradictory statement or circumstance that proves true upon reflection.
Card Set
VHS 11th Grade Lit. Terms & Devices
These are the literary terms and literary devices you need to know for 11th grade English at VHS.