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GLOSSARY OF LITERARY TERMINOLOGY

ALLEGORY – A story which carries within it a deeper meaning. A story which can be read on many levels.

ALLITERATION – A pattern of sound formed when words close together start with the same letters.

AMBIGUITY – The deliberate use of an expression which could have more than one meaning.

ASSONANCE – A pattern of sound formed when words close together have similar vowels inside the words.

COUPLET – (Poetry) Two lines of rhyme; one following the other.

EUPHEMISM – A more discreet and less direct way of expressing something rude or unpleasant.

FREE VERSE – Poetry which does not use rhyme. Irregular line lengths using the rhythm of the natural speaking voice rather than a set pattern.

HYPERBOLE – Exaggeration for effect.

IMAGERY – Language used in such a way that it creates vivid pictures or sensations in the mind.

IRONY – Saying one thing when the other is meant.

METAPHOR – A figure of speech where one thing is said to be something quite different. A metaphor gives a clearer image, and reveals the user’s attitudes to the subject.

ONOMATOPOEIA – A sound is conveyed with a word that conveys the actual sound.

OXYMORON – This figure of speech uses two contradictory words side by side to express a complex idea or feeling.

PARADOX – A statement which seems to contradict itself, its apparent nonsense, however, emphasises a truth.

PERSONIFICATION – This is where something inanimate, or an abstract concept, is given personality, movement or some human attribute. It adds drama and excitement, and brings an idea alive.

POINT OF VIEW – Through whose eyes does the reader see events and characters?

PUN – A play on words, either on two meanings of the same word, or on two words which sound alike.

RHETORICAL QUESTIONS – A kind of trick used by a speaker or writer where a direct question is asked but no answer is being looked for.

RHYME – The arrangement of the ends of lines of poetry so that the words end with the same sound.

RHYTHM – The arrangement of words to make use of a regular beat, similar to what is found in music.

SARCASM – This is closely linked to irony, but is more cruel and cutting, and less humorous in intention.

SATIRE – This is an extended work ridiculing something, and often uses comedy to make serious criticisms. Satire frequently employs irony and sarcasm.

SIMILE – Brings out a point or points of likeness between two different things. It is usually introduced by the words ‘like’ or ‘as’.

SOLILOQUY – A speech spoken aloud by a charachter onstage, but meant to be understood as a speaking out of the character’s thoughts; other characters may be onstage at the time, but in this convention , only the audience hears the soliloquy.

SONNET – A particular kind of poem which has 14 lines.

THEME – The deeper meaning behind the story; the writers main idea thet they want the reader to think about.

Elements of Poetry

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