Literary Devices Test-Ib English

Allegory

a story that is used to represent a more general message about real-life (historical) issues and/or events

Alliteration

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

Allusion

an indirect reference to a figure, place, event, or idea originating from outside the text

Anachronism

an (intentional) error in the timeline of a text. Ex: character who appears in a different time period than when he actually lived, technology that appears before it was invented. Often used for comedic effect.

Anaphora

a word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of multiple sentences throughout a piece of writing

Anthropomorphism

when something nonhuman, such as an animal, place, or inanimate object, behaves in a human-like way.

Asyndeton

When the writer leaves out conjunctions (such as "and," "or," "but," and "for") in a group of words or phrases so that the meaning of the phrase or sentence is emphasized. Often used for speeches since sentences containing asyndeton can have a powerful, memorable rhythm.

Colloquialism

the use of informal language and slang. often used to lend a sense of realism to their characters/dialogue. Forms: words, phrases, and contractions that aren't real words (such as "gonna" and "ain't").

Epigraph

a famous quotation, poem, song, or other short passage or text at the beginning of a larger text (e.g., a book, chapter, etc.). Typically written by a different writer (with credit given) and used as a way to introduce overarching themes or messages in the work. Ex: Herman Melville's 1851 novel Moby-Dick, incorporate multiple epigraphs throughout.

Epistrophe

the repeated word or phrase appears at the end of successive statements. Used to evoke an emotional response from the audience.

Euphemism

A more mild or indirect word or expression is used in place of another word or phrase that is considered harsh, blunt, vulgar, or unpleasant.

Flashback

an interruption in a narrative that depicts events that have already occurred, either before the present time or before the time at which the narration takes place. Used to give background info

Foreshadowing

an indirect hint—through things such as dialogue, description, or characters' actions— of what's to come later on in the story.

Hyperbole

An exaggerated statement that's not meant to be taken literally by the reader

Imagery

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

Irony

When a statement is used to express an opposite meaning than the one literally expressed by it. Three types: verbal (opposite of what is said), situational (opposite of what is expected), dramatic (audience knows what character does not)

Juxtaposition

The comparing and contrasting of two or more different (usually opposite) ideas, characters, objects, etc.

Malapropism

An incorrect word is used in place of a word that has a similar sound, used to convey humor.

Metaphor

A comparison without using like or as

Simile

A comparison using "like" or "as

Metonym

When a related word or phrase is substituted for the actual thing to which it's referring

Mood

Feeling or atmosphere that a writer creates for the reader

Onomatopoeia

A word or group of words that imitates the sound it represents.

Oxymoron

A combination of two words that, together, express a contradictory meaning. Ex: organized chaos

Paradox

A statement that appears illogical or self-contradictory but, upon investigation, might actually be true or plausible. Entire phrase/sentence. Ex: This statement is false

Personification

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

Repetition

A word or phrase is written multiple times, usually for the purpose of emphasis. It is often used in poetry (for purposes of rhythm as well).

Satire

A genre of writing that criticizes something, such as a person, behavior, belief, government, or society. Ex: Candide

Soliloquy

A type of monologue that's often used in dramas. When a character speaks aloud to himself (and to the audience), thereby revealing his inner thoughts and feelings.

Symbolism

The use of an object, figure, event, situation, or other idea in a written work to represent something else—typically a broader message or deeper meaning that differs from its literal meaning.

Synecdoche

A literary device in which part of something is used to represent the whole, or vice versa. Ex: Help me out, I need some hands (hands=people, the whole human)

Tone

The writer or narrator's attitude towards a subject