Rhetorical Devices and Elements

Plot

Sequence of events in a story

Setting

The time and place of a story

Protagonist

Main character in a story

Antagonist

A character or force in conflict with the main character

Narrator

a speaker or character who tells a story

Conflict

A struggle between opposing forces

Mood

Feeling or atmosphere that a writer creates for the reader

Theme

a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in a literary or artistic work

Tone

Attitude a writer takes toward the audience, a subject, or a character

point of view

the perspective from which a story is told

Allegory

A story in which each aspect of the story has a symbolic meaning outside the tale itself.

Alliteration

the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.

Allusion

A reference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art

Analogy

A similarity or comparison between two different things or the relationship between them.

Assonance

Repetition of a vowel sound within two or more words in close proximity

Foreshadowing

A narrative device that hints at coming events; often builds suspense or anxiety in the reader.

Genre

A category or type of literature (or of art, music, etc.) characterized by a particular form, style, or content.

Hyperbole

exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.

Imagery

Description that appeals to the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste)

Irony

the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning

Metaphor

a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. (Without using like or as)

Onomatopoeia

A word that imitates the sound it represents.

Personification

the giving of human qualities to an animal, object, or idea

Pun

a humorous play on words

Satire

the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Simile

A comparison of two unlike things using like or as

Synecdoche

A figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole (as hand for sailor), the whole for a part (as the law for police officer), the specific for the general (as cutthroat for assassin), the general for the specific (as thief for pickpocket), or the material for the thing made from it (as steel for sword).

Symbol

A thing that represents or stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract.