- Literary Devices-dot-com
- A College Professor’s Literary Terms
- Poetic Devices & Terms (DeMiero & Corona)
DeMiero’s List of Terms
Rhetoric the art of effective or persuasive communication, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques and literary devices.
Want to watch a the presentation we saw in class? Click HERE.
Three key rhetorical types
Ethos is an appeal to ethics and morals; often based on the character or credibility of the source or persuader.
Pathos is an appeal to emotion; convincing an audience by creating in them an emotional response.
Logos is an appeal to logic; persuasion through reason.
Characterization is how a writer chooses to reveal a character to the reader.
Direct & Indirect characterization
Direct Characterization is information about a character the audience learns from the character himself/herself, or directly from the narrator.
Indirect Characterization is information about a character the audience learns from secondary characters.
Flat & Round Characters
Flat characters tend to be static, mono-dimensional and predictable.
Round characters tend to be dynamic, multi-dimensional and unpredictable.
Protagonist & Antagonist
The protagonist is the central character in a story. Without the protagonist there is no story. In classical literature, keep in mind that the protagonist usually experiences a moment of truth in which he or she recognizes and acknowledges his or her mistakes, failures, and/or sins. If the character you think might be the protagonist has not had this experience, be careful!
The antagonist is a character or entity who is in direct conflict with the protagonist.
A fixed, commonly held notion or image of a person or group, based on an oversimplification of some observed or imagined trait of behavior or appearance.
The reason behind a character’s action; what induces a character to act; the root cause of a character’s behavior. Here’s the psychoanalytical information we discussed in class: Psychoanalysis of Motivation.
When something happens that is in stark contrast to or opposite of what was normally expected.
When the audience knows more than the characters in the story know.
When something is said, but the speaker actually means the opposite – intentionally or not.
The Oatmeal. Okay, this site is incredibly funny, but a bit profane. Still, this explanation of irony is a hoot!
Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic.” Here’s the link to official YouTube video.
Connotations are the associations people make with words that go beyond the literal or dictionary definition. Many words have connotations that create emotions or feelings in the reader.
Denotation refers to the use of the common dictionary definition or literal meaning of a word.
An idea or conclusion that’s drawn from evidence and reasoning.
A symbol is anything that can stand for or signify something else. Often one of the two (or more) symbolic elements is concrete or literal while representing something that is figurative. For example, the American flag (a real object) may symbolize the concept of freedom (an idea).
A word or expression that in literal usage denotes one kind of thing is applied to a distinctly different kind of thing. The purpose of using a metaphor is to take an identity or concept that we understand clearly and use it to better understand the lesser known element. For example, in the phrase “my roller coaster life” I’m comparing the unsettling and often dramatic dips and climbs of a roller coaster ride to what my life is like right now. My life and a roller coaster do not, in fact, have anything in common in a literal sense, but in a figurative sense the comparison helps me explain how my life feels right now.
A simile is a subset of a metaphor. It’s essentially the exact same thing as a metaphor except that the comparison is made using either “like” or “as.” For example, instead of using a metaphor about my life (see above), I could have used a simile – “my life is like a roller coaster” or “my life is as settled as a roller coaster.”
Think FEELINGS or EMOTIONS. The emotions inherent in a scene/passage of a story. Sometimes the feeling that audience members experience are the same as those being experienced by the characters, but not always.
Think ATTITUDE. It’s the attitude that the author/writer/poet/director takes toward the subject matter or theme of a work.
A contradiction that seemingly rings true. An absurdity that expresses a kind of truth.