Literary Terms

Allegory: A narrative in which the characters and actions represent general concepts or moral qualities.

Alliteration: A series of words beginning with the same sound, as in "fifty fearless fighters."

Ballad: A narrative song.

Blank Verse: Iambic pentameter without rhyme.

Cliché: An expression which has been employed so often that is over familiar.

Drama: A serious play of human conflict.

Elegy: A formal poem lamenting about the dead.

Epic: A long narrative poem about the deeds of a hero.

Epigram: A brief pointed poem.

Euphemism: Soft words masking a hard reality, as "he passed away" to relate death.

Free Verse: Verse lacking the discipline of meter.

Genre: Type of style or subject.

Hyperbole: Exaggeration used for striking effect, like "as soft as the wind."

Irony: The meaning is opposite to the literal meaning of the words.

Melodrama: A play which suspends the audience through action and tension but contains the conventional "happy ending."

Meter: The number of stressed syllables in a line of verse; pentameter has five feet or stresses

Ode: A lyrical poem of high emotions.

Prose: The ordinary language of speaking or writing, without the regular patterns of poetry.

Realism: Writing conveying a sense of everyday life.

Romanticism: Writing that that creates an ideal or fanciful world.

Sarcasm: Caustic words for the purpose of wounding another.

Satire: An attack on a person, custom, or institution, holding it up to ridicule or scorn by means of criticism and wit.

Sonnet: A poem with fourteen lines of iambic pentameter.

Symbol: Something used to represent something else, as a bulldog for tenacity.

Tragedy: A play in which the hero’s faults lead to catastrophe.