You are on page 1of 6

Fatema Rahman 12/16/11 P.

Glossary of Literary Terms


1. Literary Device: Protagonist: A protagonist is considered to be the main character or lead figure in a novel, play, story, or poem. It may also be referred to as the hero of a work. 2. Example: There was no one else like him alive. In his day, he was the mightiest man on earth, high born and powerful. (lines 196-198, pg 31) Beowulf in The Norton Anthology 3. Function: Context: The monster Grendel attacked a Kings holding and Beowulf, being the brave hero he was, went to their aid. He was said to be very strong and fearless. He is the main character Concept: Since the story sets up an adventure and test of strength for Beowulf, the reader knows he is the main character as well as the protagonist since he fights against evil. Connection: Beowulf eventually fights and defeats Grendel only then to have to take on his mother in her lair. He lived a noble life where he became king and had many great warriors under his control. He perished in the end fighting to the death with another monster. He exhibited great feats of strength and endurance and lead his people wisely. Those are basically the characteristics of the protagonist.

1. Literary Device: Novel: A fictional prose narrative of considerable length, typically having a plot that is unfolded by the actions, speech, and thoughts of the characters. 2. Example: My Fathers family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip. (pg 3) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 3. Function: Context: Pip introduced himself and set up the order of his life and story for the reader. Concept: Throughout the story the consequent actions of Pip and the people in his life brought him to a point of great drama that unfolded in a sequence throughout the novel.

Connection: This quote shows the beginning of a long story and journey that Pip undertook. In the book, he described his experiences with a convict and then later his introduction to an old lady and Estella. He uncovered many mysteries such as the mystery about Estellas parentage and his mysterious benefactor who turned out to be the convict. There was also heartache for Pip when Estella rejected his suit in favor of a man Pip despised. Finally, Pip ended on happy and content note that still left the reader to wonder about the next sequence of his life.

1. Literary Device: Tragic Flaw: the character flaw or error of a tragic hero that leads to his downfall. 2. Example: Was only for to herkne how ye singe: for trewely, ye han as merye a stevene as any angel hath that is in hevene. (lines 470-473, pg 270) The Nuns Priests Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer in The Norton Anthology 3. Function: Context: Chauntecleer was caught alone by a fox that praised him for his voice and extolled his voice in order to distract him and take him. Concept: By playing to the roosters vanity, the fox was able to momentarily distract the rooster and capture him in mouth. Connection: Chauntecleer let his vanity overpower his precaution. He had had a dream of the fox and it warned him away from the fox. However, because the fox pandered to his vanity, the rooster let the flattery blind him to the danger. It showed how clever the fox was and how easily deceived the rooster could be. The flaw was almost Chauntecleers downfall. The device warns against listening to obvious flattery for that person might be after something.

1. Literary Device: Simile: - a simile is a type of figurative language, language that does not mean exactly what it says, that makes a comparison between two otherwise unalike objects or ideas by connecting them with the words "like" or "as." 2. Example: . . . the poet like an acrobat (line 6, pg 207) Constantly Risking Absurdity by Lawrence Ferlinghetti 3. Function:

Context: The author was comparing a poet to an acrobat and naming similarities that they shared. Concept: The author claimed that a poet was like an acrobat in that they both took risks and performed for an audience to gather their approval or disapproval. Connection: The simile helped to make the whole poem an extended metaphor. The poet was like an acrobat in how they put together their poem and performed it for the audience. They also had to wait for the audiences ovation at the final act or final lines. Either the poet/acrobat achieved a great poem/act or they did not. The poet put themselves out there while the acrobat risks physical injury all for the audience. The simile made all the similarities connect to both acrobats and poets.

1. Literary Device: Humor: The quality of a literary or informative work that makes the character and/or situations seem funny, amusing, or ludicrous. 2. Example: This Nicholas anoon leet flee a fart as greet as it hadde been a thunder-dent that with the strook he was almost yblent, and he was redy with his iren hoot, and Nicholas amide the ers he smoot . . . (lines 698-702, pg 214) The Millers Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer in The Norton Anthology 3. Function: Context: Absolon asked for a kiss from Alison and as a joke, her lover Nicholas thought it would be a hoot if he made the love-struck man kiss his ass. However, Absolon was too clever and branded his ass with a hot iron. Concept: It was funny because Nicholas and Alison wanted a laugh at Absolon but he got the last laugh by branding Nicholass ass and turning the joke on Nicholas. Connection: Originally Absolon had kissed Alisons ass because her lover and she had wanted to play a joke on him. Absolon realized it and wanted revenge. So the next time Nicholas came out with his ass, Absolon decided to turn the tables. Throughout the story, there is humor in the same sense because Alisons husband thought that Nicholas was trying to help him when in reality he was sleeping with his wife. The little deceptive games that the characters play with each other make the whole story funny and a comedy.

1. Literary Device: Satire: writing that comments humorously on human flaws, ideas, social customs, or institutions in order to change them.

2. Example: What is a little housebreaking, shoplifting, or highway robbing; what is a son now and then corrupted and hanged, a daughter debauched and poxed, a wife stabbed or a husband's throat cut, or a child's brains beat out with an axe, compared with this improvement and well peopling of the colonies? (handout) Rattlesnakes for Felons by Benjamin Franklin 3. Function: Context: The author makes light of a corrupted son, a debauched daughter, and murdered parents in context to the fact of convicts being free to roam about in their society. Concept: it is satirical because Franklin is making such a gruesome and horrid occurrence at the hands of convicts seem like an ordinary and perfectly acceptable thing when in fact he is lamenting the loss of safety the people will have because of the convict migration. Connection: Britain wanted to send their convicts to the new world and gave the excuse that it would be for the betterment of their society so Franklin suggested that they in return send England their rattlesnakes and compared some characteristics that both rattlesnakes and felons had in common. The sarcasm in the essay serves to show that felons would not be a good addition to their society, and would in fact cause more problems. The whole essay is satirical in that it blithely accepts the felons and sarcastically offers to send Britain snakes in return. Underlying it is the reality that convicts would be bad for society, and like rattlesnakes, are not to be welcomed.

1. Literary Device: Allusion: a reference in a literary work to a person, place, or thing in history or another work of literature 2. Example: I doubt if Phaethon feared more- that time he dropped the sun-reins of his father's chariot and burned the streak of sky we see today - or if poor Icarus did - feeling his sides unfeathering as the wax began to melt, his father shouting: "Wrong, your course is wrong" (Canto XVII: 106-111) The Inferno of Dante by Dante Alighieri 3. Function: Context: Dante alluded to the situations that mythological figures Phaethon and Icarus went through to express his fear as he entered the eighth circle. Concept: Phaethon lost the reins of his fathers chariot and Icarus got to close to the sun and because of those actions, the two died and so Dantes allusion to them shows that he thought he was close to or felt like dying since the fear of the eighth circle was so great. Connection: The allusion allowed the reader to relate Dantes emotions and feelings to another situation and to understand the depth of his fears. They summarized the tumult of

Dantes fear and apprehension in one quick summary of the situations of Phaethon and Icarus. Throughout the story, Dante alluded to many things so the reader could understand what was going on and the feelings he experienced in the inner circle of hell. No other mortal had been to hell and back and so none would know the feeling. Dante needed to relate some things to other familiar things in order for the passage to have a real effect on the reader. . 1. Literary Device: Syntax: the way in which linguistic elements (as words) are put together to form constituents (as phrases or clauses). 2. Example: He slowly ventured into the pond. The bottom was deep soft clay, he sank in, and the water clasped dead cold around his legs. (warm-ups) The Horse-Dealers Daughter by D. H. Lawrence 3. Function: Context: Mabel was drowning in a pond and the doctor, Jack, went in to save her. He had just realized he felt some attraction to her. Concept: The length of the descriptions adds slowness to the motion and then the suddenness in the last part of the second sentence adds a suddenness of the situation and makes it seem more dangerous. It extended Jacks actions. Connection: The syntax slowed down the action and then the suddenness of the last action took the reader by surprise. The whole story was like that. It started out slow starting in medias res where it talked about Mabel and her three brothers and then it became more fast paced as the story unveiled their history and Jacks fascination with Mabel. It culminated to Mabel becoming apprehensive of Jack and doubting his love for her. The syntax adds a bit of uncertainty to Jack, almost as if he was afraid. The characters in the book also share that feeling; mainly Mabel in the end when she does not believe Jack truly loves her.

1. Literary Device: Diction: Choice and use of words in speech or writing 2. Example: Art is the antidote that can call you back from the edge of numbness, restoring the ability to feel for another, (warm-ups) High Tide in Tucson by Barbara Kingsolver 3. Function:

Context: It is saying that unfeelingness is a disease that only art can cure, meaning art can make a person care about things. Concept: The diction enhances the power of art, making it seem to be a healing medicine for a disease of unfeelingness. Connection: The author compiled essays on nature and art and how people should be more in harmony. The diction showed how art was an important factor of a persons life in that it could make apathy absolute. The wording makes an unfeeling person look sick and the art is made to look like a medicine. It gives the passage a sense of harmony in that it is suggesting art is a medicine and informing people how they can be cured of their apathy.

1. Literary Device: Tone: a literary technique that is a part of composition, which encompasses the attitudes toward the subject and toward the audience implied in a literary work. 2. Example: Gwendolen-Cecily-it is very painful for me to be forced to speak the truth. It is the first time in my life that I have ever been reduced to such a painful position, and I am really quite inexperienced in doing anything of the kind. However I will tell you quite frankly that I have no brother Ernest. I have no brother at all. I never had a brother in my life, and I certainly have not the smallest intention of ever having one in the future. (pg 2210) The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde in Norton Anthology 3. Function: Context: Jack confessed to his love and his ward that he had no brother and he had no intention of having a brother after having lied about having one for years in order to escape and have a few days alone to do what he would like to do. Concept: The tone of the passage makes Jack seem very cold and the exact opposite of Ernest. He basically admit that the truth was a foreign concept to him and that he liked to be in control when he implied he could control whether he could have a brother or not. Connection: The tone of the quote reveals much of Jacks characteristics. The author shows a respect towards the audience because of the ironic situation of Jack actually being Ernest and having told the truth when he was lying and lying when he was telling the truth. The ladies both liked the name Ernest because they thought it a good name to inspire trust when Jack being Ernest did nothing but lie. The whole tone of the story shows much Jack wanted to control his life and he was willing o do anything to get his way like change his name, lie, and deny Cecily marriage to Algernon in order to be with Gwendolen.