Keystone Exam: Literature


one or more letter occurring as a bound form attached to the beginning, end, or base of a word and serving to produce a derivative word or an inflectional form
(ex: prefix or suffix)


the process or result of identifying the parts of a whole and their relationships to one another


the position or claim the author establishes. arguments should be supported with valid evidence and reasoning and balanced by the inclusion of counterarguments that illustrate opposing viewpoints

Author's Purpose

The author's intent either to inform or teach someone about something, to entertain people or to persuade or convince his/her audience to do or not do something


the subtle presence of a positive or negative approach toward a topic


Distinguish, tell apart, and recognize differences between two or more items


the genre of literature represented by works intended for the stage; a work to be performed by actors on stage, radio, or television; play

Dramatic Script

the written text of a play, which includes the dialogue between characters, stage directions and often other expository information

draw conclusion

to make a judgment or decision based on reasoning rather than direct or implicit statement

elements of fiction

traits that mark a work as imaginative or narrative discourse (ex: plot, theme, symbol)

elements of nonfiction

traits that mark a work as reportorial, analytical, informative or argumentative (ex: facts, data, charts, graphics, headings)


a written account of another person's life


the method an author uses to reveal characters and their various traits and personalities (ex: direct, indirect)


place together characters, situations, or ideas to show common and/or differing features in literary selections


a struggle or clash between opposing characters, forces, or emotions

context clues

words and phrases in a sentence, paragraph, and/or whole text, which help reason out the meaning of an unfamiliar word

cultural significance

the generally accepted importance of a work representing a given culture

defense of a chain

support provided to mark an assertion as reasonable


examine and judge carefully. to judge or determine the significance, worth or quality of something; to assess


to make understandable, plain or clear


clearly expressed or fully stated in the actual text


a piece of information provided objectively, presented as true


any story that is the product of imagination rather than a documentation of fact. characters and events in such narratives may be based in real life, but their ultimate form and configuration is a creation of the author

figurative language

language that cannot be taken literally since it was written to create a special effect or feeling


the center of interest or attention


a conclusion drawn from specific information that is used to make a broad statement about a topic or person


a category used to classify literary works, usually by form, technique or content (ex: prose, poetry)

headings, graphics and charts

any visual cues on a page of text that offer additional info to guide the reader's comprehension. Headings typically are words or phrases in bold print that indicate a topic or the theme of a portion of text; graphics may be photographs, drawings, maps or


though unexpressed in the actual text, meaning that may be understood by the reader; implied


a judgement based on reasoning rather than or a direct or explicit statement. a conclusion based on facts or circumstances; understanding gained by "reading between the lines

informational text

nonfiction written primarily to convey factual info. informational texts comprise the majority of printed material adults read (ex: textbooks, newspapers, reports, directions, brochures, technical manuals)


to give reasons through an explanation to convey and represent the meaning or understanding of a text

key/supporting details

points of info in a text that strongly support the meaning or tell the story. Statements that define, describe, or otherwise provide info about the topic, theme or main idea

key word

specific word choices in a text that strongly support the tone, mood, or meaning of the text

literary device

tool used by author to enliven and provide voice to the text (ex: dialogue, alliteration)

literary element

an essential technique used in literature (ex: characterization, setting, plot, theme)

literary form

the overall structure or shape of a work that frequently follows an established design. Forms may refer to a literary type (narrative, short story) or to patterns of meter, lines, and rhymes(stanza, verse)

literary movement

a trend or pattern of shared beliefs or practices that mark an approach to literature (ex: realism, naturalism, romanticism)

literary nonfiction

text that includes literary elements and devices usually associated with fiction to report on actual persons, places, or events. examples include nature and travel text, biography, memoir and the essay

main idea

the author's central thought; chief topic a a text expressed or implied in a word or phrase; the topic sentence of a paragraph


an extended speech spoken by one speaker, either to others or as if alone

multiple-meaning words

words that have several meanings depending upon how they are used in sentence


a story, actual or fictional, expressed orally or in text


text that is not fictional; designed primarily to explain, argue, instruct or describe rather than entertain. for the most part, its emphasis is factual


a personal view, attitude, or appraisal


in its broadest sense, text that aims to present ideas and evoke an emotional experience in the reader though use of meter, imagery and connotative and concrete words. some poetry has a carefully constructed structure based on rhythmic patterns. poetry ty

propaganda techniques

persuasive tactics are used to influence people to believe, buy or do something. students should be able to identify and comprehend the propaganda techniques and persuasive tactics


an attack on a person instead of an issue


tries to persuade the reader to do, think or buy something because it is popular or because "everyone" is doing it

red herring

an attempt to distract reader with details not relevant to the argument

emotional appeal

tries to persuade the reader by using words that appeal to the reader's emotions instead of to logic or reason


attempts to persuade the reader by using a famous person to endorse a product or idea (celebrity endorsement)


attempts to persuade the reader by repeating a message over and over again

sweeping generalization(stereotyping)

makes an oversimplified statement about a group based on limited info

circular argument

states a conclusion as part of the proof of the argument

appeal to numbers, facts, or statistics

attempts to persuade the reader by showing how many people think something is true

sentence variety

various sentence structures, styles, and lengths that can enhance the rhythm of or add emphasis to a piece of text(simple, complex, compound, compound-complex) and/or various sentence beginnings (ex:dependent and independent clauses, phrases, single words

sequence of steps

a literary organizational form that presents the order in which tasks are to be performed


a dramatic speech, revealing inner thoughts and feelings, spoken aloud by one character while alone on the stage

sound devices

elements of literature that emphasize sound (Ex: assonance, consonance, alliteration, rhyme, onomatopoeia)


the voice used by an author to tell/narrate a story or poem. the speaker is often a created identity, and should not automatically be equated with the author, see also narrator and POV

stage direction

a playwright's written instructions provided in the text of a play about the setting or how the actors are to move and behave in a play

structure of poem

they rhyming pattern, meter, grammar, and imagery used by a poet to convey the meaning


to capture all of the most important parts of the original text(paragraph, story, poem), but express them in a much shorter space, and as much as possible in the reader's own words

text organization/structure

the author's method of structuring a text; the way a text is structured from beginning to end. in literary works, the structure could include flashbacks and foreshadowing, for ex. in nonfiction works, structure could include sequence, question-answer, cau

universal character

a character that symbolically embodies well-known meanings and basic human experiences, regardless of when or where he/she lives(ex: hero, villain, intellectual, dreamer)

universal significance

the generally accepeted importance or value of a work to represent human experience regardless of culture or time period