About This Chapter
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
- Allusion and Illusion
- Cliché, Equivocation and Paradox
- Personification and Apostrophe
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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Other chapters within the ACT Prep: Practice & Study Guide course
- ACT: About the Test
- ACT English: Section Overview
- ACT English: Punctuation
- ACT English: Grammar and Usage
- ACT English: Sentence Structure
- ACT English: Rhetorical Strategy
- ACT English: Organization
- ACT English: Style
- ACT Math: Overview
- ACT Math: Pre-Algebra
- ACT Math: Algebraic Expressions
- ACT Math: Radicals
- ACT Math: Linear Equations
- ACT Math: Functions
- ACT Math: Absolute Value
- ACT Math: Matrices
- ACT Math: Inequalities
- ACT Math: Probability, Combinations & Factorial
- ACT Math: Data and Statistics
- ACT Math: Exponents
- ACT Math: Polynomials and Quadratics
- ACT Math: Rational Equations and Expressions
- ACT Math: Sequences
- ACT Math: Complex Numbers
- ACT Math: Exponentials and Logarithms
- ACT Math: Coordinate Geometry
- ACT Math: Conic Sections
- ACT Math: Triangles
- ACT Math: Plane Geometry
- ACT Math: Logic in Mathematics
- ACT Math: Trigonometry
- ACT Science Reasoning: Overview
- ACT Science Reasoning: Fundamentals of Science
- ACT Reading: Overview
- ACT Reading: Question Types
- ACT Reading: Understanding Reading Passages
- ACT Reading: Practice
- ACT Writing: Overview
- ACT Writing: Essay Skills
- ACT Writing: Parts of an Essay
- ACT Writing: Planning and Writing
- ACT Writing: Advanced Writing Skills