Login

Ch 3: Literary Terms

About This Chapter

Watch online video lessons and learn about the different literary terms. These engaging lessons are just a portion of our online study guide and video collection.

Literary Terms - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

This chapter explains literary terminology so it can be applied to understanding, interpreting, and analyzing literature and poetry. Using illustrative examples and clear definitions, these lessons will help you define and apply these terms for practical use. At the end of this chapter you should be able to:

  • Identify terms like irony, foreshadowing, allusion, paradox, catharsis, allegory, and more!
  • Understand the differences between closely related literary terms, such as metaphor and simile, and theme and motif.
  • Be able to use literary terms to analyze literary passages and works.

Video Objective
What is a Metaphor? - Examples, Definition & Types Learn about the different types of metaphors, including extended, dead, and mixed, and how to spot them.
Synecdoche vs. Metonymy: Definitions & Examples Understand the difference between synecdoche and metonymy.
Cliches, Paradoxes & Equivocations: Definitions & Examples Define and clichés, paradoxes, and equivocations and learn how they differ.
What is a Simile? - Examples, Definitions & Types Understand the simile beyond 'like' and 'as,' as well as the epic or extended simile.
Personification and Apostrophe: Differences & Examples Examine two key terms, personification and apostrophe, and how they differ.
Types of Irony: Examples & Definitions Understand irony and how it differs from sarcasm and distinguish between dramatic, verbal, situational, and cosmic irony.
Allusion and Illusion: Definitions and Examples Explaining how an allusion to an illusion differs from an illusion of an allusion.
What Are Themes and Motifs? Explore the difference between a theme and a motif in a work. Understand leitmotif and mise-en-scene.
Understanding Point of View Define first-person, second-person, and third-person point of view, as well as character voice.
Types of Point of View: Limited, Objective, & Omniscient Narration Understand limited, objective, and omniscient narration points of view
What is Foreshadowing? - Types, Examples & Definitions Examine foreshadowing (telegraphing in drama), as well as its fake variant, the red herring.
What is Catharsis? - Definition, Examples & History in Literature and Drama Define catharsis in literature and drama from Aristotle onward.
Allegory in Literature: History, Definition & Examples A brief history of allegory from classical to medieval to modern.
Consonance, Assonance, and Repetition: Definitions & Examples Understand how repetition and vowel and consonant sounds shape a reader's perception.
Understatement & Litotes: Differences, Definitions & Examples How does understatement differ from litotes? Learn here!
Euphemism: Definition & Examples Euphemisms are everywhere! Learn what they are and how to spot one.
Symbolism & Imagery in Literature: Definitions & Examples Learn about imagery and its deeper cousin, symbolism.

17 Lessons in Chapter 3: Literary Terms
What is a Metaphor? - Examples, Definition & Types

1. What is a Metaphor? - Examples, Definition & Types

Metaphors are all around you. They're the bright sparkling lights that turn plain evergreens into Christmas trees. Learn how to spot them, why writers write with them, and how to use them yourself right here.

Synecdoche vs. Metonymy: Definitions & Examples

2. Synecdoche vs. Metonymy: Definitions & Examples

Would you lend your ears for a moment (or at least your eyeballs)? This lesson will explain what synecdoche and metonymy mean and how to spot them in a piece of prose or poetry.

Cliches, Paradoxes & Equivocations: Definitions & Examples

3. Cliches, Paradoxes & Equivocations: Definitions & Examples

Learn about cliches, paradoxes, and equivocations, and how they can weaken or strengthen certain types of writing. Explore examples of all three from literature and daily life.

Similes in Literature: Definition and Examples

4. Similes in Literature: Definition and Examples

Explore the simile and how, through comparison, it is used as a shorthand to say many things at once. Learn the difference between similes and metaphors, along with many examples of both.

Personification and Apostrophe: Differences & Examples

5. Personification and Apostrophe: Differences & Examples

In this lesson, explore how writers use personification to give human characteristics to objects, ideas, and animals. Learn about apostrophe, or when characters speak to objects, ideas, and even imaginary people as if they were also characters.

Types of Irony: Examples & Definitions

6. Types of Irony: Examples & Definitions

Discover, once and for all, what irony is and is not. Explore three types of irony: verbal, situational and dramatic, and learn about some famous and everyday examples.

Allusion and Illusion: Definitions and Examples

7. Allusion and Illusion: Definitions and Examples

Allusions and illusions have little in common besides the fact that they sound similar. Learn the difference between the two and how allusions are an important part of literature and writing - and how to spot them in text.

What Are Literary Motifs? - Definition & Examples

8. What Are Literary Motifs? - Definition & Examples

In this lesson, you will learn about how writers use themes in works of literature as a way to explore universal ideas like love and war. You will also explore motifs, or repeating objects and ideas, which can contribute to theme.

Point of View: First, Second & Third Person

9. Point of View: First, Second & Third Person

Just who is telling this story? In this lesson, we'll look at point of view, or the perspective from which a work is told. We'll review first person, second person and third person points of view.

Narrators in Literature: Types and Definitions

10. Narrators in Literature: Types and Definitions

Learn how point of view, or the angle from which a story is told, impacts the narrative voice of a work of literature. Explore, through examples, how point of view can be limited, objective, or omniscient.

What is Foreshadowing? - Types, Examples & Definitions

11. What is Foreshadowing? - Types, Examples & Definitions

Learn about how authors use foreshadowing, both subtle and direct, as part of their storytelling process. Explore many examples of foreshadowing, from classical plays to contemporary stories.

What is Catharsis? - Definition, Examples & History in Literature and Drama

12. What is Catharsis? - Definition, Examples & History in Literature and Drama

In this lesson, learn about catharsis, a purging of feelings that occurs when audiences have strong emotional reactions to a work of literature. Explore examples of literary works which lead to catharsis, including tragedies.

Allegory in Literature: History, Definition & Examples

13. Allegory in Literature: History, Definition & Examples

Learn about allegories and how stories can be used to deliver messages, lessons or even commentaries on big concepts and institutions. Explore how allegories range from straightforward to heavily-veiled and subtle.

Consonance, Assonance, and Repetition: Definitions & Examples

14. Consonance, Assonance, and Repetition: Definitions & Examples

In this lesson, explore the different ways authors repeat consonant and vowel sounds in their literary works. Learn about how writers use repeated words and phrases with well-known examples.

Understatement & Litotes: Differences, Definitions & Examples

15. Understatement & Litotes: Differences, Definitions & Examples

In this lesson, explore the use of understatement as a way to draw attention to a specific quality or to add humor. Learn about litotes, a specific form of understatement, and discover examples from literature.

Euphemism: Definition & Examples

16. Euphemism: Definition & Examples

This lesson defines euphemisms, alternate language used in place of offensive language or when discussing taboo topics. Explore some examples of euphemisms in everyday language and well-known examples from literature.

Symbolism & Imagery in Literature: Definitions & Examples

17. Symbolism & Imagery in Literature: Definitions & Examples

In this lesson you will learn how poets and authors use symbolism in their writing to make it more meaningful and interesting. Explore how descriptive writing called imagery appeals to the senses, adding to works of literature.

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Support