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Flashcards in Literary Devices Easier Version Deck (50)
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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.



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



Used to create a stark contrast using two divergent elements that come together to create one uniform whole. It plays on the complementary property of opposites to create one vivid picture.
When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon it might have been one small step for a man but it was one giant leap for mankind.



A concise statement that is made in a matter of fact tone to state a principle or an opinion that is generally understood to be a universal truth. They are often adages, wise sayings and maxims aimed at imparting sense and wisdom.
Upon seeing the shoddy work done by the employee the boss told him to “either shape up or ship out”. 



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.



Refers to a practice in literature whereby the author purposely leaves out conjunctions in the sentence, while maintaining the grammatical accuracy of the phrase. Use of this literary device helps in creating a strong impact and such sentences have greater recall worth since the idea is presented in a nutshell.
Read, Write, Learn.


Authorial Intrusion

The author penning the story, poem or prose steps away from the text and speaks out to the reader. It establishes a one to one relationship between the writer and the reader where the latter is no longer a secondary player or an indirect audience to the progress of the story but is the main subject of the author’s attention. 



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



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.



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.



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.



It is a literary device used for expressing a resistance the protagonist of the story finds in achieving his aims or dreams. The conflict is a discord that can have external aggressors or can even arise from within the self. It can occur when the subject is battling his inner discord, at odds with his surroundings or it may be pitted against others in the story. 



The associations people make with words that go beyond the literal or dictionary definition. Many words have connotations that create emotions or feelings in the reader. 
And once again, the autumn leaves were falling.
This phrase uses ‘autumn’ to signify something coming to an end.



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.


Deus ex Machina

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.



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.



The term is derived from the German language and literally translates into ‘double walker’. It refers to a character in the story that is actually a counterfeit or a copy of a genuine character. Doppelgangers of the main characters usually bear the ability to impersonate the original but have vastly different spirits and intentions. The doppelganger usually has a different appearance but an earthly soul and supernatural hoodwinking abilities that allow it to fool other unsuspecting characters.



It refers to a form of writing, mostly poetry, wherein the author describes another work of art, usually visual. It is used to convey the deeper symbolism of the corporeal art form by means of a separate medium. It has often been found that ekphrastic writing is rhetorical in nature and symbolic of a greater meaning. 



Epilogues are an inherent part of any story or poem and are essential to the structure of any written form. The epilogue is an important literary tool that acts as the afterword once the last chapter is over. The purpose of an epilogue is to add a little insight to some interesting developments that happen once the major plot is over.



Usually used to add to a person or place’s regular name and attribute some special quality to the same. They are remarkable in that they become a part of common parlance over time. These descriptive words and phrases can be used to enhance the persona of real and fictitious places, objects, persons and divinities.
Example: “Alexander the Great”



This device is used when writing about matters such as sex, violence, death, crimes and things "embarrassing". They substitute unpleasant and severe words with more genteel ones in order to mask the harshness.. They are sometimes manipulated to lend a touch of exaggeration or irony in satirical writing.



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.



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.



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.



Another way of saying overly arrogant. You can tell the difference of hubris and just regular arrogance or pride by the fact that the character has seemed to allow reality slip away from them. The character portraying hubris, also commonly referred to as hybris, may have just gained a huge amount of power and the false belief that they are “untouchable”.



Refers to playing around with words such that the meaning implied by a sentence or word is actually different from the literal meaning. Often irony is used to suggest the stark contrast of the literal meaning being put forth. The deeper, real layer of significance is revealed not by the words themselves but the situation and the context in which they are placed.



The author places a person, concept, place, idea or theme parallel to another. The purpose of juxtaposing two directly or indirectly related entities close together in literature is to highlight the contrast between the two and compare them.



Figures of rhetoric speech that use an understated statement of an affirmative by using a negative description. Sometimes called an ironical understatement and/or an avoidance of a truth which can be either positive or negative.
Common examples: “not the brightest bulb,”or “he's definitely not a rocket scientist.”



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.



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.