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Lit Terms Paper

Words: 3534, Pages: 12

Paper type: Essay , Subject: Taylor Swift

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Dynamic or round character
goes through change or growth in the story. The grinch starts out as a miserable Christmas hating character, but changes to be more nice and giving.
Static or flat character
remains the same through the story- does not experience change. Sheldon Cooper is an intelligent theoretical physicist who adheres strictly to routine, lacks social skills or empathy, and is narcissistic. He always reverts back to his normal self unchanged.
Protagonist
the leading character or a major character in a drama, movie, novel or other fictional text. It is Bella Swan in the novel “Twilight”
Foil
refers to a literary device where the author created a character whose primary purpose is to create contrast to another character by laying emphasis or drawing attention to the differences in character. Dr. Jeckyll is a seemingly prosperous man, well established int he community, and known for his decency and charitable works. Mr. Hyde is violent and cruel, and everyone who sees him describes him as ugly and deformed.
Archetype
A concept, a person or an object that has served as a universally understood prototype of its kind. They are immediately identifiable and sometimes overused. In the show Glee, Quinn is the blonde, skinny cheerleader, Puck is the good looking athletic popular jock, Sue Sylvester the arrrogant, strong and bossy tough coach.
Anti-Hero
A central character who lacks conventional heroic qualities. Walter in “Breaking Bad” is a science teacher who thinks he is going to die, makes drugs to raise money for his family and then doesn’t die
Antagonist
A character, group of characters, or institution, that opposes the protagonist or main character(s). Voldemort in the novel and movie “Harry Potter”.
Nemesis
A bitter enemy, especially one that seems unbeatable. Superman’s enemy is Lex Luthor.
Charicature
A simple image showing the features of its subject in a simplified or exaggerated way. In literature, it is a description of a person using exaggeration of some characteristics and oversimplification of others. Housewife in curlers, Farmer in overalls, College student drinking tons of coffee
Tragic Flaw
the character flaw or error of a hero that leads to a character’s downfall. Dr. Gregory House from the TV show “House” has an addiction to pain medication and it causes his downfall.
Hubris
another way of saying overly arrogant. You can tell the difference y the fact that the character has seemed to allow reality slop away from them. The character portraying it has a false belief that they are “untouchable” On his way to winning 14 majors Tiger Woods felt like he was “untouchable.” His arrogance led to his downfall when he was caught in the middle of a cheating scandal with many women. He did it because he believed he could do it and no one would catch him and, if someone did somehow catch him, the wouldn’t dare “out” him.
Apostrophe
A figure of speech in which the speaker addresses an object, concept, or person (usually absent) that is unable to respond. “I am Legend” with Will Smith, the last man on earth, seeks comfort in attempting to speak to a mannequin.
Plot
refers to a sequence of events and happenings that make up a story. There is usually a pattern unintended or intentional, that threads a story together. It starts with Exposition then Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action and Ends with Resolution.
Prologue
an introduction to a story that usually sets the tone and acts a a bit of a background or a “sneak peek” into the story. They are typically a narrative “spoken” by one of the characters and not from the part of the author. the first few minutes of the movie National Treasure is one. The young Ben hears the story of the treasure and next thing you know it is 30 years later.
Setting
The time and place of the events of the story. It basically helps in establishing where and when and under what circumstances the story is taking place.
The reality TV show survivor is set in a different locations each season.
Conflict
The struggle between opposing forces. There are 4 types.
human vs human :Batman vs Bane int he “Dark Knight Rises”
human vs. self: 127 hours man must mentally and physically overcome being trapped for 127 hours.
human vs environment: 2012 human race vs environmental apocalypse
human vs society: Coach Carter uses new coaching techniques which are not approved by the community.
Climax
A part of any basic plot line. It is the most exciting or intense part of the plot. Stories build up to it. Consider the movie Titanic. You can argue that it occurs either when the ship hits the iceberg or when the ship goes under the water. These are both intense/ exciting moments that are built up up to in the plot.
Cliffhanger
A plot device in fiction which features a main character in a precarious or difficult dilemma, or confronted with a shocking revelation at the end of an episode of serialized fiction. It is used to ensure the audience will return to see how the characters resolve the dilemma. Some movies end so you have to see the next movie to find out what happens
Catharsis
the process of releasing and thereby providing relief from, strong repressed emotions. It is usually felt by the audience/reader while exposed to a story that brings about great sorrow, pity, laughter, etc.
In the novel and film “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks the audience is able to cry when Ryan Gosling finally kisses Rachel McAdams in the rain. This display of emotion would be otherwise inappropriate or difficult to face.
Motif
A specific theme that dominates a literary work. They are noticeable and play a significant role in defining the nature of the story, the course of events and the very fabric of the literary piece. One example from the “lord of the Rings” is temptation because the temptation of the ring is the motivating force behind every acton.
Theme
The base topic or focus that acts as a foundation for the entire literary piece. It links all aspects of the literary work with one another and is basically the main subject.
Example: In the movie Avatar: Imperialism, Militarism, Anti-Americanism
Tone
The perspective or attitude that the author adopts with regards to a specific
character, place, or development. It can portray a variety of emotions ranging from solemn, grave and critical to witty, wry and humorous. It helps the reader ascertain the writer’s feelings towards a particular topic and this in turn influences the reader’s understanding of the story.
Example Forest Gump is optimistic. It is clear that the author’s perspective and attitude about Forest is a positive one.
Mood
The author’s emotional perspective towards the subject of the literary work. It refers to the mental and emotional disposition of the author toward the subject, which in turn lends a particular character or atmosphere to the work.
Example: Miranda Lambert’s song “The House that Built Me” tells the story of going back to her childhood home. It is nostalgic and the author is searching to be healed.
Atmosphere
Created when the setting or scene creates an emotional response in the reader or viewer.
Example In the gloom the courtyard looked of considerable size, and as several dark ways led from it under great round arches…I have not yet been able to see it by daylight.- Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Imagery
In literature, one of the strongest devices, wherein the author uses words and
phrases to create “mental pictures” for the reader using the 5 senses. It helps the reader to visualize, and therein, more realistically experience the author’s writings and awaken the readers’ sensory perceptions.
Example The song “Vincent” is about Van Gogh’s painting “Starry Starry Night”
Pathos
Used in literature and film. It represents an appeal to the audience’s emotions.
Example: Lion King Sadness for Mufassa’s Death
Aladdin Sympathy for a boy in poverty
Verbal Irony
Occurs when a writer makes a statement in which the actual meaning differs from the meaning that the words appear to express.
Example: sarcasm Great weather we’re having (during a rain storm)
Situational Irony
Occurs when the reader is led to believe that one thing will occur but, in fact, the opposite occurs. This can be humorous or tragic.
Example: A cat chasing a dog. A senior citizen texting or blogging.
Dramatic irony
Occurs when the reader/audience knows something, but the characters within the story do not.
Example: In horror movies, the audience often knows that the killer is present, when the characters do not
1st Person Point of View
The story is told by the narrator from his/her point of view. It is easily identified by the use of “I” or “Me”.
Example: “Diary of Anne Frank” tells the true story of Anne Frank, who lived in hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
2nd Person Point of View
This point of view addresses the reader and uses the pronouns “you,” “your,” and “yours.”
Example: The Twilight Zone talks to the audience
3rd Person Point of View
The narrator does not participate in the events of the story and tells the story by referring to all characters and places with pronouns and proper nouns (he, she, they).
Example: The narrator in the movie “Stranger Than Fiction” is all knowing
Genre
A category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter.
Example: nonfiction, fiction, myths, biography, fantasy, realistic fiction, humor, fable, historical
Dark Comedy
A comic work that uses black humor, which, in its most basic definition, is humor that makes light of otherwise solemn subject matter.
Example Sweeney Todd is a musical about a barber who kills his customers. He disposes of his victims by pulling a lever that makes them fall into a trap door leading to the basement.
Parody
An imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.
Example: The film “Scary Movie” makes fun of all other scary movies.
Satire
Occurs when a piece of writing is making fun of a human weakness or character flaw. In general, even though it 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.
Example The Hunger Games: Our need to be constantly entertained, even if it is at the expense of others. Desensitization to violence on TV
Tragedy
A series of unfortunate events by which one or more of the literary characters in the story undergo several misfortunes, which finally culminate into a disaster of epic proportions.
Example: The movie Titanic is a an example. The main characters must face a number of unfortunately events that eventually lead to the sinking of their ship.
Dystopia
An imagined setting in which everything is unpleasant or bad. This could be totalitarian, apocalyptic, or environmentally degraded society.
Example: Zombie takeover in The Walking Dead or Hunger Games with unpleasant setting and totalitarian government
Utopia
Fiction is set in an ideal or perfect community.
Example: The setting of the movie Pleasantville is at first considered to be ideal or perfect. By the end of the movie; however, we learn that it isn’t as perfect as it seems.
Suspense
The intense feeling that an audience goes through while waiting for the outcome of certain events. It basically leaves the reader holding their breath and wanting more information. The amount of intensity is why it is hard to put a reading down.
Example: Prison Break and 24 have many of these moments.
Understatement
Draws attention to a fact that is already obvious and noticeable in a sarcastic or ironic way. It is akin to exaggerating its obviousness as a means of humor.
Example: In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when Willie Wonka says that cannibalism is “frowned on in most societies.”
Cliche
An expression, idea, or element of work which has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning, even to the point of being trite or irritating.
Example: Slam Dunk, Keep your eye on the ball, hole in one, play hard ball, knock it out of the park
Wit
A form of intelligent humor, the ability to say or write things that are clever and usually funny. A person skilled at making clever and funny remarks.
Example: Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean is know for his remarks.
Foreshadowing
Refers to the use of words/phrases that give hints to the reader 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.
Example: The movie “The Sixth Sense” has many hints that Bruce Willis is actually a ghost.
Flashback
A literary cinematic device in which an earlier event is inserted into the normal chronological order of a narrative. This device is often used to give background information that is important to the plot.
Example: In the T.V. series “LOST” Jin and his wife Sun are getting an ultrasound and remember their relationship on the island.
Flash forward
A literary or cinematic device in which later events interrupt the normal chronological order of a narrative. This device is often used to give important about what may happen later in the plot.
Example: In “How I Met Your Mother,” the characters go forward and are shown as retired seniors.
Anthropormorphism
Occurs when a human quality, emotion or ambition is given to a non-human object or being.
Example: Rabbit in clothes with watch in the novel, “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carol
Pathetic Fallacy
The treatment of inanimate objects as if they had human feelings, thought, or sensations. It is most often used to describe weather in a story.
Example: The band Chemical Romance sings “So bright the sun is ashamed to rise”
Personification
One of the most commonly used and recognized literary devices. It refers to the practice of attaching human traits and characteristics with inanimate objects, phenomena and animals.
Example: Michael Buble:
Dance with me, make me sway
Like a lazy ocean hugs the shore
Antithesis
Used when the writer puts two sentences of contrasting meanings close to one another.
Example: ‘Cause you’re hot then you’re cold
You’re yes then you’re no
You’re in then you’re out
You’re up then you’re down
You’re wrong when it’s right
Metaphor
implied comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something important in common.
Example In the song “One Thing”
You’re my kryptonite
You keep making me weak.
Although at first glance kryptonite and love don’t seem to have much in common, but they actually do! Kryptonite makes Superman feel weak like love makes the man in the song feel weak. This is a direct comparison between two unlike things that have something in common.
Similes
Comparisons between two unrelated and dissimilar things using like or as (and sometimes than).
Example But lately her face seems
Slowly sinking, wasting
Crumbling like pastries
Analogy
A comparison between two things for the purpose of explanation or clarification.
Example:
Your whining is as annoying as fingernails on a chalkboard.
She was as quiet as a mouse.
Onomatopoeia
Words that imitate or represent a sound.
Example: Nicki Manaj:
Boy you got my heartbeat runnin’ away
Beating like a drum and it’s coming your way
Can’t you hear the boom, badoom, boom,
Boom, badoom, boom, bass?
Oxymoron
Occurs when opposite words are placed together in a manner that actually ends up making sense.
Example: True Lies, Fairy Tale A True Story, Little Big Man, Urban Cowboy
Symbol
An object that represents something else, usually something more meaningful.
Example: The light in a story represents hope.
Allegory
A symbolic device in which characters or events in a story represent ideas and concepts.
Example: In The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe Aslan the lion represents Christ from the Christian Bible.
Rhyme Scheme
The practice of rhyming words placed at the end of the lines in poetry. It refers to the order in which particular words rhyme. If the alternate words rhyme, it is an “a-b-a-b”
Example: Find light in the beautiful sea
I choose to be happy
You and I, you and I
We’re like diamonds in the sky
AABB
Internal Rhyme
A practice of forming a rhyme in only one line of verse. It is also known as the middle rhyme because it is typically constructed in the middle of a line to rhyme with the word at the end of the same line.
Example: “Eminem”
His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti.
He’s nervous, but on the surface
Stanza
Refers to a single, related chunk of lines in poetry. It basically refers to one unit or group of lines, which forms one particular section in poetry.
Example: I’ve been walking heartache
I’ve made a mess of me
The person that I’ve been lately
Ain’t who I want to be
Connotation
A word that has, in addition to its straightforward dictionary meaning, a secondary meaning. It can usually be formulated as a series of qualities, contexts, and emotional responses commonly associated with it.
Example: Simon Cowell,from American Idol, could be described with two words that are very different ; Strong- Willed or Pig-Headed.
Denotation
The literal or primary meaning of a word, in contrast to the feelings or ideas that the word suggests. It is the dictionary definition of a word.
Example: extremely impressive is the dictionary definition of the word stupendous.
Euphemism
Used to refer to the use of a comparatively milder or less harsh form of a negative description instead of its original form. This device is used when writing about matters such as sex, violence, death, crimes and anything “embarrassing”.
Example: passed away for died. Passed away is less harsh and makes a more positive association.
Allusion
A figure of speech where the author refers to a subject matter such as a person, place, event, or literary work in a passing reference. It is up to the reader to make a connection to the subject being mentioned.
Example: Taylor Swift’s song and Shakespeare
“ That you were Romeo, You were throwing pebbles, And my daddy said, Stay away from Juliet.”
Hyperbole
An exaggeration in writing that is used for effect.
Example: Bruno Mars:
I’d catch a grenade for ya.
Throw my hand on the blade for ya.
I’d jump in front of a train for ya.
You know I’d do anything for you.
Pun
A play on words, sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar sense or sound of different words.
Example: Eminem:
But you lied again,
now you get to watch her
leave out the window
Guess that’s why they call it window pane
Idiom
An expression that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements, but is understood by most people.
Example: Gloria Delgado on “Modern Family” has trouble understanding “We live in a dog-eat-dog world.” and “Blessings in disguise”
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.
Example: Someone might accidentally say “well, we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it” or “I’m getting a prescription for Cosmopolitan Magazine.”
Alliteration
The repetition of an initial consonant sound. This literary term is often used in poetry.
Example: “Shatter every window
‘Til it’s all blown away.
Every brick, every board,
Every slamming door blown away.”
by Carrie Underwood
Spoonerism
Refers to the practice of interchanging the first letters of some words in order to create new words or even to create nonsensical words in order to create a humorous setting. While they are often unintentional and known as a “slip of the tongue”, in literature they are welcomed as witty word-play.
Example: Fighting A Liar: Lighting a Fire
Synecdoche
A literary device that uses a part of something to refer to the whole.
Example: All Hands on Deck
Lend me your ears,
Lay your bones next
Metonymy
The practice of not using the formal word for an object/subject and instead referring to it by using another word that is somehow linked to the formal name/word. It is the practice of substituting the main word with a word that is closely linked to it.
Example: The pen is mightier than the sword. The pen in the phrase stands for the written word.
If you like it than you should have put a ring on it (marriage)
Kenning
Characteristically related to works in Old English poetry where the author would create a new poetic compound-phrase to describe a familiar person, place, or idea.
Example: bone-house (body)
sea-wood (ship)
word-hoard (capacity for speech)
Paradox
A seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.
Example: This statement is false. (If this is true, then the sentence is false, which would in turn mean that it is false and so on without end)
Epithet
Descriptive device. It is usually used to add to a person or places regular name and attribute some special quality to the same. They become a part of common usage over time.
Example: Alexander The Great
Anagram
Extremely popular form of literary device wherein the writer jumbles up parts of the word to create a new word. It is a type of wordplay!
Example: So dark the con of man
“Madonna of the Rocks”

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This sample paper is crafted by Elizabeth. She studies Communications at Northwestern University. All the content of this paper is just her opinion on Lit Terms and can be used only as a possible source of ideas and arguments.

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