CAHSEE Literary Terms Review Rationale: As you prepare for the CAHSEE, there are some literary terms that you will want to review. We have been learning terms all year, and you WILL see them on the test. Studying these terms regularly is one MAJOR thing you can do to help you prepare for the test. – how will you feel you don’t pass because you forgot what a simile is? You will be required to make flashcards, and it is a good idea to review at least ½ of the cards every night. Be prepared for pop quizzes on this information for the next several weeks!
A poem or part of a drama in which a speaker addresses one or more silent listeners, often reflecting on a specific problem or situation.
Jay Leno, Dave Letterman, and Conan O’Brien all perform a monologue every night on their programs. Most SNL episodes also begin with a monologue in which the guest host speaks to the audience.
Long speech in which a character who is alone onstage expresses private thoughts or feelings.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is one example (“To be or not to be, that is the question.”) A more modern example is when the characters in The Office speak directly to the camera during an interview – no other characters are there and we learn their private thoughts and feelings.
In a play, words spoken directly to the audience or to another character, but not overheard by others onstage.
Shakespeare is famous for his asides. A more modern example would be Malcom in the Middle, when Malcom turns to speak to the camera in the middle of a scene, but none of the other characters can hear him.
Character who serves as a contrast to another character.
A modern example would be Bart and Lisa Simpson (The Simpsons), or Michael and Dwight (The Office).
When what actually happens is the opposite of what is expected.
A man wins the lottery, then becomes homeless.
When the reader or the audience knows something important that a character does not know.
When Little Red Riding Hood says, “What big teeth you have, grandma!” We, as an audience, know that it is the wolf!
When a speaker says one thing but intentionally means the opposite.
When you say to a person consuming an entire pizza, “Oh, having a little snack?”
The first and most prominent ambiguity in "The Cask of Amontillado" is in the "thousand injuries" that Montesor has supposedly borne from Fortunato. The narrator never discloses what those “injuries” were.
When meaning is delicate, almost undetectable.
In The Office, the characters roll their eyes at the camera when Michael does something stupid instead of saying that they don’t like him.
The use of clues to hint at what is going to happen later in the plot.
In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Romeo’s expression of fear in Act I, Scene 4 foreshadows the catastrophe to come: “By some vile forfeit of untimely death.”
The quality in a story or play that makes the reader eager to discover what will happen next or how the story will end.
In “Contents of a Dead Man’s Pocket,” suspense is generated from Tom’s precarious position on the ledge outside his apartment – we wonder whether he will make it back safely into the apartment or fall to his death.
The time and place in which a story unfolds.
The setting in Act I, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, for example, is a public square in Verona, Italy, during the summer.
The main character in a story.
The protagonist of “The Most Dangerous Game” is Rainsford.
The character or force that blocks the protagonist from achieving his or her goal.
The antagonist of “The Most Dangerous Game” is General Zaroff.
The use of words and phrases that appeal to the five senses.
It was a dark and stormy night as the wind rustled softly through the trees. A quiet, but eerie howl was heard in the distance as he approached the deserted mansion on the hill.
Figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”
Her smile was like the sun.
Figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unlike things without using “like” or “as”
Her smile makes the sun seem dim.
Figure of speech in which a nonhuman thing or quality is talked about as if it were human.
Sorrow came knocking at my door.
Figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion or create a comic effect.
The limousine is as long as an ocean liner.
A phrase or expression that means something different than what the words actually say.
“It’s raining cats and dogs!”
Person, place, thing, or event that stands both for itself and for something beyond itself.
The heart can be a symbol for love, as can red roses also.
A narrative (story) in which characters and settings stand as symbols expressing truths about human life.
The novel Animal Farm is not just a “cute” story about animals; it is an allegory for the Russian Revolution.
A reference in a literary work to a person, place, or thing in history or another work of literature (often indirect or brief references to well-known characters or events)
“That football player is a modern-day Hercules.” (allusion to the Hercules of Greek mythology, who was exceptionally strong)
A grouping of two or more lines in a poem.
A stanza in a poem is like a paragraph in an essay.
Repetition of the same or similar consonant sounds in words that are close together, especially at the beginning of words.
Sally sells seashells by the seashore.
Use of a word whose sound imitates or suggests its meaning.
Buzz, splash, hiss, and boom are all examples. Think “comic book words”
Repetition of accented vowel sounds and all sounds following them in words that are close together in a poem. End rhyme occurs at the end of the line.
I love Billy.
So does Milly.
People say it’s silly.
The attitude a writer takes toward a subject, a character, or the reader. Tone is given through the writer’s choice of words or details.
The happy ending of most fairy tales produces a romantic, positive, or hopeful tone toward life.
The emotional effect that a piece of writing evokes in the reader.
A story that takes place on a dark and stormy night creates a scary mood.
A writer’s or speaker’s choice of words. Diction is an essential element of a writer’s style.
A writer’s diction can be simple (clothing) or flowery (apparel), modern (dress) or old-fashioned (frock).
All the meanings, associations, or emotions that a word suggests. Connotations play an important part in creating diction, mood, and tone.
An expensive restaurant might advertise its delicious “cuisine” rather than its good “cooking.” The word “cuisine” would be a better choice for the restaurant to use because it has connotations of elegance and sophistication.
The literal, dictionary definition of a word.
“Cuisine” and “cooking” have the same denotation- literal meaning – “prepared food.”
The central idea or insight about human life the author wants us to obtain from reading the author’s writing. Theme is the revelation about life the writer wishes us to discover about the subject. To discover theme, two clues to consider are the way the main character has changed and the way the conflict has been resolved.
Theme must be stated in a complete sentence. It is not just enough to say that the theme of Romeo and Juliet is love; a better theme would be: Romeo and Juliet reveals that life is full of contrasts – love and hate, oy and sorrow, light and dark, youth and age, life and death – all of which have a big impact on us.
An educated guess; reading “between the lines” to make guesses about what’s left unsaid.
If a friend, who’s never late, doesn’t appear at the usual time to pick you up for school, you might infer that something’s happened: a traffic jam, she’s sick, or she’s been in an accident.
The reasons for a character’s behavior, what he/she says, or the decisions he/she makes.
In “Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket” Tom’s motivation for going out on the ledge to retrieve the paper was money.