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Ch 37: ACT Reading: Literary Terms

About This Chapter

Prepare to shine on the college-entry ACT reading test by reviewing key literary terms through these lessons. The engaging videos, followed by quizzes that check for understanding, will assist you in your preparations.

ACT Reading: Literary Terms - Chapter Summary

Get comfortable with these crucial elements of literature to aid your reading comprehension. This chapter includes a variety of topics:

  • Themes and Motifs
  • Symbolism and Imagery
  • Metaphor and Simile
  • Irony
  • Allusion and Illusion
  • Cliché, Equivocation and Paradox
  • Personification and Apostrophe
  • Foreshadowing
  • Allegory
  • Point of View: Objective, Limited and Omniscient

The lessons in this chapter include examples, definitions, types and histories for a wide range of literary terms. Understanding these elements of literature may be especially helpful when reading the prose fiction and humanities passages in your ACT reading test.

ACT Reading Objectives

The ACT reading test analyzes your readiness to comprehend college-level texts. This 40-question exam, timed at 35 minutes, assesses your reading comprehension in the following areas:

  • Prose Fiction (short stories and novel excerpts)
  • Humanities (passages from personal essays and memoirs)
  • Social Studies (passages from content areas such as business, education and history)
  • Natural Sciences (passages from content areas like biology, chemistry and meteorology)

These reading lessons address the following objectives from the ACT test:

  • Making conclusions, generalizations and comparisons
  • Locating and interpreting important details
  • Using reasoning to find implied meanings
  • Determining main ideas
  • Deriving meaning from all four types of reading selections
  • Analyzing a selection's voice

Each 25% of the test accentuates one of the four types of reading. The questions are multiple-choice and follow the reading passages. Your results will include an overall score for all 40 questions, along with sub-scores in prose fiction/humanities and social studies/natural sciences.

11 Lessons in Chapter 37: ACT Reading: Literary Terms
What Are Literary Motifs? - Definition & Examples

1. 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.

Symbolism & Imagery in Literature: Definitions & Examples

2. 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.

What is a Metaphor? - Examples, Definition & Types

3. 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.

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.

Types of Irony: Examples & Definitions

5. 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

6. 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.

Cliches, Paradoxes & Equivocations: Definitions & Examples

7. 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.

Personification and Apostrophe: Differences & Examples

8. 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.

What is Foreshadowing? - Types, Examples & Definitions

9. 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.

Allegory in Literature: History, Definition & Examples

10. 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.

Narrators in Literature: Types and Definitions

11. 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.

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