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Defining Literary Terms And Concepts!

By Expert Author: Joe Jenkins

Allusion
The definition of allusion refers to the act of alluding, or having an indirect reference. It simply implies that it is a hint, or a covert indication of something that is supposed to be known, but was not explicitly mentioned.
Example of Allusion
An example of allusion can be seen in the reading of the "Hack Driver" by Sinclair Lewis where she demonstrates the factor of "trust" between the main character and the hack driver while searching for Oliver Lutkins, which was an allusion to our own lives and how we trust others.
Connotation
The definition of connotation simply refers to the meaning or idea that the word suggests or implies. It includes any associations or emotions that surround a word, including its literal meaning.
Example of Connotation
An example of connotation can be seen in the reading of the "Factory Work" by Deborah Boe where she mentions how the factory worker saw his breath rise out of him like his own "ghost" each morning he comes to work. Where ghost holds connotation to the feeling of death because there is no excitement in his line of work anymore, so much that he is basically a zombie showing up to work everyday, with nothing to look forward to.
Denotation
The definition of denotation refers to the literary, or basic meaning of the word, and not its connotations. It does not take into contrasts its figurative or associated meanings at all.
Example of Denotation
An example of denotation can be seen in the reading of the "Old Florist" by Theodore Roethke where he mentions how the old florist was "tamping and stamping" dirt into pots, where tamping refers to the process of tightly packing down something with successive blows and stamping refers to the force required for tamping.
Figurative language
The definition of figurative language refers to any writing or speech that departs from its literary meaning so that it's able to achieve a specific meaning and or effect. In its simplest form, it basically means a figure of speech that is used by any literature or language by the author to get their message across to the readers more effectively.
Example of Figurative Language
An example of figurative language can be seen in the reading of "Nick Salerno" by Studs Terkel, where he mentions that the students at school made a "crack" at his kids. The most specified meaning for the word "crack" refers to the breaking or giving away of something, but in this instance, he is referring to how other students made fun of his kids because he was a garbage man.
Simile
The definition of simile is the comparison of one thing versus another of a different type or kind by using "figure of speeches".
Example of Simile
An example of simile can be seen in the reading of "Balthazar's Marvelous Afternoon" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, where she described that Balthazar had bristly hair like the mane of a mule. The comparison between Balthazar's hair and the hair of a mule showed an in-depth description and comparison of how his hair appeared to others around him, when he didn't shave.
Metaphor
The definition of metaphor is the figure of speech in which a phrase or word is literally denoting an idea or object that is used in place of another. It is used to suggest the analogy or likeness between the object and idea at hand.
Example of Metaphor
An example of metaphor can be seen in the reading of "To Be of Use" by Marge Piercy, where she describes the love of people that harness themselves, like an ox to a heavy cart. This simply means that she admires people who understand themselves, and what is required of them to achieve their goals through similar characteristics like an ox, such as persistence, stubbornness, and patience.
Symbol
The definition of symbol means something that stands for something, whether visible or invisible. It suggests something else by the reason of relationship, either through conventional, accidental resemblance, or association.
Example of Symbol
An example of symbol can be seen in the reading of "Balthazar's Marvelous Afternoon", where the cage was a symbol of Balthazar's ultimate passion, which was why it was constructed so
beautifully, with disregard to his own health because he enjoyed working on it so much.
Hyperbole
The definition of hyperbole is an exaggeration that is used to emphasize the effect of something through the use of figure of speech.
Examples of Hyperbole
An example of hyperbole can be seen in the reading of "Balthazar's Marvelous Afternoon", where Bill refers to Oliver's mom as a "cyclone", to emphasize that the mom was dangerous like a violent rotating windstorm and one should be careful when dealing with her.
Personification
The definition of personification is the representation of an abstract quality or idea as a person or creature, which is divine or imaginary. It could also include an attribution to personal qualities.
Example of Personification
An example of personification can be seen in the Electronic Reserves Reading for the "Teaching Literature and Language Through Guided Discover and Informal Classroom Drama" by Gina DeBlase, where she mentions students personified the characters in "Macbeth" to help them comprehend Shakespeare's language further.
Irony
The definition of irony refers to a figure of speech where the intended meaning is actually the opposite of what the word expresses, normally done through ridicule or sarcasm. The expressions are used to imply contempt or condemnation.
Examples of Irony
An example of irony can be seen in the Electronic Reserves Reading for "Literature Teaching in the 21st Century: A Hopeless Endeavour or the Start of Something New" by Susan Bassnett, where she describes the irony in using past tools to inspire the students of the future was hopeless. That we need to start looking at the new tools and methods that are available to spark the interests and minds of the next generation.

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