Literary Terms project example

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Literary Terms
By Carol Spring
Simile
 A simile compares two unlike objects using the words
“like” or “as” in the comparison.
 Example: “On the sand banks the rabbits sat as quietly
as little gray, sculptured stones” (Steinbeck 2).
 This simile compares rabbits to stones, demonstrating
how they were completely still.
Metaphor
 A metaphor compares two unlike objects without using
the words “like” or “as”.
 “Suddenly he was caught from behind and whirled
violently, a toy boat caught in a whirlpool” (Cormier 7).
 This example compares the force with which Jerry was
tackled to a toy boat caught in a whirlpool.
Personification
 When writing, the author uses human qualities to
describe objects or abstract ideas.
 “It was raining, and a damp wind argued with the noisy
trees” (Chekhov 7).
 This example from “The Bet” by Anton Chekhov
demonstrates personification because the wind is
described as arguing, a human trait.
Onomatopoeia
 Definition: using words in writing that sound like their
meaning.
 Example: “KABOOM!” a poem by Denise Rogers
“Kaboom!
Ka-blast
Way in the past
the miners mined for ore.
They searched for copper, iron and salt,
for that and much, much more.”
This poem demonstrates words that sound like their
meanings, such as ka-blast, which sounds like an explosion.
Alliteration
 Repetition of sounds at the beginning of words
 “A man stood one winter night watching and listening,
as though he waited for some beast of the woods” (Saki
159).
 This example from the short story “The Interlopers” by
Saki uses repetition of the letter “w”.
Symbolism
 An object or idea that carries a deeper meaning or
represents something beyond itself.
 “The shadows of the goalposts definitely resembled a
network of crosses, empty crucifixes” (Cormier 17).
 This example from the novel The Chocolate War by
Robert Cormier demonstrates symbolism because the
goal posts also represent crosses.
Allusion
 A reference in a work of fiction to literature, art or
history is called an allusion.
 “But now, listening to Leon sounding as if the school was
embarking on the Crusades, for crying out loud, Archie
was doubtful” (Cormier 55).
 This example from The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
contains an allusion to a famous historical event, The
Crusades.
Oxymoron
 When two seemingly opposite items are paired together,
it is called an oxymoron or a paradox.
 “Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!” (Romeo and
Juliet).
 This example from Juliet shows how she pairs two
opposing ideas: love that fights/love that hates.
Imagery
 Using language to add visual or sensory images in a
poem or fictional work.
 “Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire” (Frost Poems).
This poem “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost demonstrates
imagery with the many senses used, such as touch and
taste. Also, the use of strong visual ideas such as the
world’s end, either in fire or ice, add to the imagery.
Hyperbole
 Extreme exaggeration in literature is called hyperbole.
 “All the time somethin’ like that—all the time. I wisht I
could put you in a cage with about a million mice an’ let
you have fun” (Steinbeck 11).
 This example from Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
demonstrates hyperbole when George, in his anger, says
he wishes he could cage Lennie with a million mice.
Irony
 Irony refers to a contrast between what is expected to
happen and what actually occurs.
 At the conclusion of Saki’s short story “The Interlopers”
both Ulrich and Georg have agreed to stop fighting and be
friends. They await their men to come to their rescue but
receive a surprise instead.
 “They are making with all the speed they can, brave lads,”
said Ulrich gladly.
 “Are they your men?” asked Georg.
 “No,” said Ulrich with a laugh, the idiotic chattering of a
man unstrung with hideous fear.
 “Who are they?” asked Georg quickly.
 “Wolves” (Saki 165).
Tone
 Tone refers to the emotional feeling of a work.
 “Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.”
In the poem “The Rose That Grew from Concrete” by Tupac
Shakur, the author’s overall feeling is of hope and
determination.
Foreshadowing
 This term refers to clues or hints given by the author to
future events in the story.
 “Look Candy. This ol’ dog just suffers hisself all the time.
If you was to take him out and shoot him right in the
back of the head—” (Steinbeck 45).
 This passage, where Carlson convinces Candy to let him
shoot the dog out of mercy, foreshadows George and
Lennie’s final moments at the book’s conclusion.
Plot
 The five basic parts of the plot: exposition, rising action,
climax, falling action and resolution.
 The plot development in the novel Of Mice and Men by John
Steinbeck follows the typical pattern:
 Exposition: basic background about George Milton and
Lennie Small as they begin their new job at Tyler Ranch.
 Rising action: they meet Curley and Curley’s wife, signals of
future conflict.
 Climax: After accidentally killing his pup, Lennie kills
Curley’s wife.
 Falling action: Lennie escapes from the barn and the men
go after him.
 Resolution: George chooses to shoot Lennie and save him
from a terrible death at the hands of Curley.
Characterization
 Characterization refers to the methods employed by the
author to convey information about characters to the
reader.
 “Where we goin’ George?”
The little man jerked down the brim of his hat and
scowled over at Lennie. “So you forgot awready, did
you? I gotta tell you again?”
“I forgot,” Lennie said softly. “I tried not to forget.
Honest to God I did, George” (Steinbeck 4).
 In chapter one of John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and
Men, the reader learns about Lennie and his disability
through Lennie’s words and actions and George’s
comments.
Conflict
 Conflict refers to the type of problems in a story.
 Conflict can occur between two or more persons,
between an individual and himself or herself, between a
person and society, or between a person and nature.
 In The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier, Jerry Renault
experiences several conflicts. One is between himself
and The Vigils, symbolizing man v. society.
Dynamic Character
 A dynamic character changes over the course of a story.
 The young lawyer in Chekhov’s short story “The Bet”
changes dramatically during the fifteen years he spends
imprisoned in the old banker’s home.
 “To show that I despise all that you live by, I give up the
two million I once so desired. Can your money buy
wisdom? No. I shall come out of here by my own volition
five minutes before noon tomorrow. I shall thus break
our agreement” (Chekhov 9).
Point of View: First Person
 Stories are related to the reader from what is commonly
called point of view.
 First person POV is when the story is told through the
view point of the main character using I-me-mine to
explain and describe events.
 In Chekhov’s short story “The Bet” the old banker’s
thoughts are presented : “No—its too much. Too much
for anyone. I must escape ruin and shame, even if he
has to die!” (Chekhov 7).
 This quote demonstrates first person as it reveals the
actual thoughts of the character using first person.
Theme
 Theme is the author’s purpose, lesson or moral in a work
of fiction or poetry. There is often more than one theme.
 “Funny it seems, but by keeping it's dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air” (Shakur).
This excerpt from Tupac Shakur’s poem “The Rose That
Grew From Concrete” demonstrates the theme of
overcoming obstacles, using the concrete as a symbol of
life’s difficulties and the rose as a symbol of one’s dreams.
Works Cited
 Chekhov, Anton. “The Bet.” Moscow: Russia, 1889.
 Saki. "The interlopers." The Toys of Peace, and Other Papers.
London: England, 1914.
 Cormier, Robert. The Chocolate War. New York: Random House,
1974.
 Frost, Robert. "Fire and Ice." New Hampshire.. New York: Henry
Holt and Co., 1923.
 Rogers, Denise. "Ka-Boom!" Great Lakes Rhythm and Rhyme. New
York: River Road publications, Inc, 2003.

Shakur, Tupac. The Rose That Grew From Concrete and Other
Poems. 1. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999.
 Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Globe Theatre Press, 1595.
 Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin Group, 1937.

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