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Flashcards in Literary Devices Deck (100)
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1

The distinctive tone or tenor of an author’s writings. It is not just a writer's choice of words it can include the mood, attitude, dialect and style of writing. It is usually judged with reference to the prevailing standards of proper writing and speech and is seen as the mark of quality of the writing. It is also understood as the selection of certain words or phrases that become peculiar to a writer.

Diction

2

Refers to the use of the dictionary definition or literal meaning of a word. They built a house. In this sentence, house is meant literally as in a building where a family lives. If the word "home" was used instead in the above sentence in place of "house", the meaning would not be so literal as there are many emotions associated with the word "home" beyond simply the structure where people live.

Denotation

3

Refers to the actual way in which words and sentences are placed together in the writing. Usually in the English language the syntax should follow a pattern of subject-verb-object agreement but sometimes authors play around with this to achieve a lyrical, rhythmic, rhetoric or questioning effect.

Syntax

4

Satire

Refers to the practice of making fun of a human weakness or character flaw. The use of satire is often inclusive of a need or decision of correcting or bettering the character that is on the receiving end of the satire. In general, even though satire might be humorous and may “make fun”, its purpose is not to entertain and amuse but actually to derive a reaction of contempt from the reader.

5

Archetype

A reference to a concept, a person or an object that has served as a prototype of its kind and is the original idea that has come to be used over and over again. They are literary devices that employ the use of a famous concept, person or object to convey a wealth of meaning. Romeo and Juliet are an archetype of eternal love and a star-crossed love story.

6

The author bases the plot on the overall growth of the central character throughout the timeline of the story. As the story progresses, the subject undergoes noticeable mental, physical, social, emotional, moral, and often spiritual advancement and strengthening

Bildungsroman

7

Pathetic Fallacy

A type of literary device whereby the author ascribes the human feelings of one or more of his or her characters to nonhuman objects or nature or phenomena. It is a type of personification, and is known to occur more by accident and less on purpose. It was a rimy morning, and very damp. I had seen the damp lying on the outside of my little window, as if some goblin had been crying there all night, and using the window for a pocket-handkerchief. 

8

Malapropism 

Refers to the practice of misusing words by substituting words with similar sounding words that have different, often unconnected meanings, and thus creating a situation of confusion, misunderstanding and amusement.

9

Foreshadowing

Refers to the use of indicative word or phrases and hints that set the stage for a story to unfold and give the reader a hint of something that is going to happen without revealing the story or spoiling the suspense. It is used to suggest an upcoming outcome to the story.

10

Tone

The perspective or attitude that the author adopts with regards to a specific character, place or development. Tone can portray a variety of emotions ranging from solemn, grave, and critical to witty, wry and humorous. Tone helps the reader ascertain the writer’s feelings towards a particular topic and this in turn influences the reader’s understanding of the story.

11

Diction

The distinctive tone or tenor of an author’s writings. It is not just a writer's choice of words it can include the mood, attitude, dialect and style of writing. It is usually judged with reference to the prevailing standards of proper writing and speech and is seen as the mark of quality of the writing. It is also understood as the selection of certain words or phrases that become peculiar to a writer.

12

Refers to the incidence where an implausible concept or character is brought into the story in order to make the conflict in the story resolve and to bring about a pleasing solution. It is seen to be the mark of a poor plot that the writer needs to resort to random, insupportable and unbelievable twists and turns to reach the end of the story.

Deus ex Machina

13

Circumlocution 

A form of writing where the writer uses exaggeratedly long and complex sentences in order to convey a meaning that could have otherwise been conveyed through a shorter, much simpler sentence. It involves stating an idea or a view in an indirect manner that leaves the reader guessing and grasping at the actual meaning.

14

Refers to the practice of not using the formal word for an object or subject and instead referring to it by using another word that is intricately linked to the formal name or word. It is the practice of substituting the main word with a word that is closely linked to it. The pen is mightier than the sword.

Metonymy 

15

Euphony

Refers to the use of phrases and words that are noted for possessing an extensive degree of notable loveliness or melody in the sound they create. Predominant in literary prose and poetry, where poetic devices such as alliterations, rhymes and assonace are used to create pleasant sounds.

16

A figure of speech containing two phrases that are parallel but inverted to each other.  You can take the patriot out of the country but you cannot take the country out of the patriot.

Chiasmus

17

A figure of speech whereby the author refers to a subject matter such as a place, event, or literary work by way of a passing reference. It is up to the reader to make a connection to the subject being mentioned. It’s no wonder everyone refers to Mary as another Mother Teresa in the making; she loves to help and care for people everywhere

Allusion

18

A form of writing where the writer uses exaggeratedly long and complex sentences in order to convey a meaning that could have otherwise been conveyed through a shorter, much simpler sentence. It involves stating an idea or a view in an indirect manner that leaves the reader guessing and grasping at the actual meaning.

Circumlocution 

19

Cacophony 

Refers to the use of words and phrases that imply strong, harsh sounds within the phrase. These words have jarring and dissonant sounds that create a disturbing, objectionable atmosphere. His fingers rapped and pounded the door, and his foot thumped against the yellowing wood.

20

Refers to the use of indicative word or phrases and hints that set the stage for a story to unfold and give the reader a hint of something that is going to happen without revealing the story or spoiling the suspense. It is used to suggest an upcoming outcome to the story.

Foreshadowing

21

Refers to the use of excessive language and surplus words to convey a meaning that could otherwise be conveyed with fewer words and in more direct a manner. The use of this literary device can be to embellish a sentence, to create a grander effect, to beat around the bush and to draw attention away from the crux of the message being conveyed.

Periphrasis

22

Refers to the use of words and phrases that imply strong, harsh sounds within the phrase. These words have jarring and dissonant sounds that create a disturbing, objectionable atmosphere. His fingers rapped and pounded the door, and his foot thumped against the yellowing wood.

Cacophony 

23

A symbolism device where the meaning of a greater, often abstract, concept is conveyed with the aid of a more corporeal object or idea being used as an example. Usually a rhetoric device, it suggests a meaning via metaphoric examples. Faith is like a stony uphill climb: a single stumble might send you sprawling but belief and steadfastness will see you to the very top.

Allegory

24

Oxymoron

A significant literary device as it allows the author to use contradictory, contrasting concepts placed together in a manner that actually ends up making sense in a strange, and slightly complex manner. It is an interesting literary device because it helps to perceive a deeper level of truth and explore different layers of semantics while writing. He possessed a cold fire in his eyes.

25

Foil

Another character in a story who contrasts with the main character, usually to highlight one of their attributes.  Albus Dumbledore is constantly shown to believe in the power of true love and is portrayed as a strong, benevolent and positive character while the antagonist Lord Voldemort is constantly shown to mock and disbelieve the sentiment of love and think of it as a foolish indulgence, a trait that is finally his undoing.

26

Synecdoche

A literary devices that uses a part of something to refer to the whole or vice versa. It is somewhat rhetorical in nature, where the entire object is represented by way of a fraction of it or a fraction of the object is symbolized by the whole.

27

A literary device that contains several layers of meaning, often concealed at first sight, and is representative of several other aspects, concepts or traits than those that are visible in the literal translation alone. It is an object or action that means something more than its literal meaning.

Symbol

28

Verisimilitude 

Verisimilitude tends to be based around the appearance or proximity to being real, or the truth. It is a way of implying the believability or likelihood of a theory or narrative. However, just because something can be described as having Verisimilitude does not mean that it is true, only that merely appears to or seems to be true. 

29

This literary device refers to the practice of drawing attention to a fact that is already obvious and noticeable. Understating a fact is usually done by way of sarcasm, irony, wryness or any other form of dry humor. Understating something is akin to exaggerating its obviousness as a means of humor.

Understatement

30

Refers to the use of concepts or ideas that are contradictory to one another, yet, when placed together hold significant value on several levels. The uniqueness lies in the fact that a deeper level of meaning and significance is not revealed at first glace, but when it does crystallize, it provides astonishing insight. High walls make not a palace; full coffers make not a king.

Paradox