Literary Terms

Nay Moon
Mind Map by Nay Moon, updated more than 1 year ago
Nay Moon
Created by Nay Moon about 1 year ago
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Literary Terms
  1. THE BASICS
    1. Characterization: The ways individual characters are represented by the narrator or author of a text. This includes descriptions of the characters’ physical appearances, personalities, actions, interactions, and dialogue.
      1. Dialogue: Spoken exchanges between characters in a dramatic or literary work, usually between two or more speakers.
        1. Genre: A kind of literature. For instance, comedy, mystery, tragedy, satire, elegy, romance, and epic are all genres.
          1. Imagery: A term used to describe an author’s use of vivid descriptions “that evoke senseimpressions by literal or figurative reference to perceptible or ‘concrete’ objects, scenes, actions, or states”
            1. Plot: The sequence of events that occur through a work to produce a coherent narrative or story.
              1. Point of View: The perspective (visual, interpretive, bias, etc) a text takes when presenting its plot and narrative.
                1. Style: Comprised of an author’s diction, syntax, tone, characters, and other narrative techniques, “style” is used to describe the way an author uses language to convey his or her ideas and purpose in writing.
                  1. Symbol(ism): An object or element incorporated into a narrative to represent another concept or concern. Broadly, representing one thing with another.
                    1. Theme: According to Baldick, a theme may be defined as “a salient abstract idea that emerges from a literary work’s treatment of its subject-matter; or a topic recurring in a number or literary works”
                      1. Tone: A way of communicating information (in writing, images, or sound) that conveys an attitude. Authors convey tone through a combination of word-choice, imagery, perspective, style, and subject matter. By adopting a specific tone, authors can help readers accurately interpret meaning in a text.
                        1. Types of narrative: The narrator is the voice telling the story or speaking to the audience. However, this voice can come from a variety of different perspectives
                          1. First person: A story told from the perspective of one or several characters, each of whom typically uses the word
                            1. Second person: A narrative perspective that typically addresses that audience using “you.”
                              1. Third person: Describes a narrative told from the perspective of an outside figure who does not participate directly in the events of a story.
    2. Types of Prose Texts
      1. Bildungsroman: This is typically a type of novel that depicts an individual’s coming-ofage through self-discovery and personal knowledge. Such stories often explore the protagonists’ psychological and moral development
        1. Epistolary: A novel comprised primarily of letters sent and received by its principle characters.
          1. Essay: According to Baldick, “a short written composition in prose that discusses a subject or proposes an argument without claiming to be a complete or thorough exposition”
            1. Novella: An intermediate-length fictional narrative
        1. Terms for Interpreting Authorial Voice
          1. Apology: refers to an instance in which the author or narrator justifies his or her goals in producing the text.
            1. Irony: Typically refers to saying one thing and meaning the opposite, often to shock audiences and emphasize the importance of the truth.
              1. Satire: A style of writing that mocks, ridicules, or pokes fun at a person, belief, or group of people in order to challenge them.
                1. Stream of consciousness: A mode of writing in which the author traces his or her thoughts verbatim into the text. Typically, this style offers a representation of the author’s exact thoughts throughout the writing process
          2. Terms for Interpreting Characters
            1. Antagonist: A character or characters in a text with whom the protagonist opposes
              1. Anti-hero: A protagonist of a story who embodies none of the qualities typically assigned to traditional heroes and heroines
                1. Archetype: “. Archetypes differ from allegories because they tend to reference broader or commonplace
                  1. Epithet ; An epithet usually indicates some notable quality about the individual with whom it addresses
                    1. Personification: The use of a person to represent a concept, quality, or object.
                      1. Protagonist: The primary character in a text, often positioned as “good” or the character with whom readers are expected to identify
            2. Terms for Interpreting Word Choice, Dialogue, and Speech
              1. Alliteration: Alliteration is typically used to convey a specific tone or message
                1. Apostrophe: usually employed for emotional emphasis, can become ridiculous [or humorous] when misapplied
                  1. Diction: Word choice, or the specific language an author, narrator, or speaker uses to describe events and interact with other characters
              2. Terms for Interpreting Plot
                1. Climax: The height of conflict and intrigue in a narrative
                  1. Denouement: The “falling action” of a narrative, when the climax and central conflicts are resolved and a resolution is found
                    1. Deus Ex Machina: According to Taafe, “Literally, in Latin, the ‘god from the machine’; a deity in Greek and Roman drama who was brought in by stage machinery to intervene in the action; hence, any character, event, or device suddenly introduce to resolve the conflict
                      1. Exposition: Usually located at the beginning of a text, this is a detailed discussion introducing characters, setting, background information, etc
                        1. Frame Narrative: a story that an author encloses around the central narrative in order to provide background information and context.
                          1. In media res: Beginning in “the middle of things,” or when an author begins a text in the midst of action
                2. Terms for Interpreting Layers of Meaning
                  1. Allegory: a literary mode that attempts to convert abstract concepts, values, beliefs, or historical events into characters or other tangible elements in a narrative
                    1. Allusion: When a text references, incorporates, or responds to an earlier piece
                      1. Hyperbole: exaggerated language, description, or speech that is not meant to be taken literally, but is used for emphasis
                        1. Metaphor: a figure of speech that refers to one thing by another in order to identify similarities between the two (
                          1. Metonymy: a figure of speech that substitutes one aspect or attribute for the whole itself.
                            1. Parody: a narrative work or writing style that mocks or mimics another genre or work.
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