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  1. 9 IB Prep Literary TermsPut these terms into your notebook. There will be a test on them on Tuesday the 15th.

  2. Allusion A brief and sometimes indirect reference to a person, place, event, or work of art that is familiar to most educated people. ex. “He was a mild, good-natured, sweet-tempered, easy-going, foolish, dear fellow – a sort of Hercules in strength, and also in weakness.”

  3. Character A fictional personality created by an author

  4. Characterization The means by which an author shows what a character is like; the representation of a character or characters in writing, especially by imitating or describing actions, gestures, qualities, peculiarities, or speeches.

  5. Character Sketch A type of biography (usually short) which presents aspects of a person’s character and personality; may be real or fictional (When you write a character sketch, you are trying to introduce the reader to someone. You want the reader to have a strong mental image of the person, to know how the person talks, to know the person's characteristic ways of doing things, to know something about the person's value system. Character sketches only give snap shots of people; therefore, you should not try to write a history of the person.)

  6. Character Trait A quality that a character possesses, such as selfishness, understanding, etc.

  7. Chronological Order The relation or narration of events in the order they occurred in time

  8. Conflict Struggle between opposing forces; a central element in most plots

  9. Critic A judge of defects and merits in literature or in other arts; one who analyzes the various elements of a literary work

  10. Dialogue Conversation between two or more characters

  11. Diction An author’s choice of words; as such, diction is part of a writer’s style

  12. Empathy Entering into the feelings and motives of the characters Sympathy vs. Empathy Sympathy:I am sorry for your loss. What can I do to help you during this difficult time? Empathy: I feel and understand your pain; my grandmother passed away last year as well. Sympathy: A doctor may feel sympathy and understands a patient's illness and try to alleviate the pain, but she may not feel his/her distress and pain. Empathy: A cancer support group can empathize with the radiation therapy of a member and understand his/her fear because they have experienced the procedure as well.

  13. Fiction Prose writing with imaginary characters, events, or settings

  14. Figurative Language Language and expressions which are not meant to be taken literally, but to some extent must be understood imaginatively

  15. Flashback A sudden shifting backward in time

  16. Foreshadowing Implication by the author of events to come later in a narrative Ex.I fear, too early: for my mind misgivesSome consequence yet hanging in the starsShall bitterly begin his fearful dateWith this night's revels and expire the termOf a despised life closed in my breastBy some vile forfeit of untimely death.But He, that hath the steerage of my course,Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen.(1.4. 104-111)

  17. Genre Kind, sort, or species; a short story is one genre of literature

  18. Image Any sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste the author’s words suggest to the imagination; a sensory perception created through words

  19. Imagery The imagery of a literary work is made up of all the images contained in it; the array of images in a literary work

  20. Irony Verbal irony: expression in which the ordinary meaning of words is the opposite of the thought in the speaker’s mind Ex. For example, in Julius Caesar, Mark Antony repeats the words "and Brutus is an honorable man“ in the famous “Friends, Romans, countrymen” speech. Mark Antony’s meaning, however, is that Brutus is completely dishonorable because Brutus, Caesar’s best friend, joined the other conspirators and plunged a knife into Caesar’s chest.

  21. Irony (cont.) Irony of Situation: an event contrary to what would naturally be expected; Situational irony defies logical cause/effect relationships and justifiable expectations. Ex. If a greedy millionaire were to buy a lottery ticket and win additional millions, the irony would be situational because such a circumstance cannot be explained logically. Such a circumstance seems “unfair.” This sense of being “unfair” or “unfortunate” is a trademark of situational irony. Because people cannot explain the unfairness, it causes them to question whether or not the world makes sense.

  22. Literal Language Language in which the words are meant to be taken at face value

  23. Monologue A work presented entirely through the speech of one person

  24. Mood The state of mind which a literary work arouses in the reader

  25. Moral The lesson of the story; what the story teaches, if anything

  26. Motivation That which makes a character act (may be a need, emotion, desire, etc.); to be believable, a character should have adequate motivation

  27. Narrative Any writing which contains a series of events

  28. Narrator The person who tells the story

  29. Overstatement The use of exaggeration

  30. Plot The pattern of events in a play, story, or poem

  31. Plot Steps Incidents, in order, which form the plot

  32. Poetic Justice The proper distribution of rewards and punishments; when a character gets what the read thinks he deserves

  33. Point of View Refers to the author’s choice of narrator for his story; the person through whose eyes the reader sees a story

  34. Prose The ordinary form of spoken or written language; language not arranged in verses

  35. Satire The use of sarcasm or irony to ridicule an idea, custom, habit, etc.; writing that seeks to arouse a reader’s disapproval of an object by ridicule Pop Culture Examples Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update The Daily Show The Colbert Report Political cartoons The Onion Comment or criticism being made: Identification of human flaws and vices related to politics, entertainment, and current events.

  36. Setting The place and time in which the events of a narrative take place

  37. Short Story A short work of narrative prose fiction that is meant to be read in one sitting

  38. Style The distinctive use of language by an author Many elements contribute to style… diction, syntax, figurative language, imagery, selection of detail, sound effects, tone, etc.

  39. Symbol A person, place, event, or object which has a meaning in itself, but suggests other meanings as well; something that is simultaneously itself and a sign of something else. For example, winter, darkness, and cold are real things, but in literature they are also likely to be used as symbolsof death.

  40. Symbolism The use of symbols in literature

  41. Theme The main idea of a literary work; a subject which recurs in the same work For example, in Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck explores the ideas of The American Dream, Loneliness, and The Common Man.

  42. Tone The author’s attitude toward his material; tone in literature corresponds to the tone of voice a speaker uses. Tone is described by adjectives, and the possibilities are nearly endless…loving, ironic, bitter, pitying, fanciful, solemn, etc. When Robert Frost explained his theory of the sound of sense, he said tone is what comes through a closed door when people are speaking out of earshot. We cannot understand the exact words, but the tones of voice tell us what is going on. You can tell if the voice is pleading, demanding or doubtful.