Poetry Literary Terms Test Questions

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Alliteration
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The repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words. Ex: Black buckets of big blueberries.
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Vowel alliteration
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The repetition of vowel sounds at the beginning of words. Ex: Every elephant eats eggplants eagerly.
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Anaphora
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Repetition of a word or group of words at the beginning of successive lines, clauses, or sentences. Ex: FIVE years have passed; FIVE summers, with the length of FIVE long winters! And again I hear these waters…
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Assonance
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Repetition of vowel sounds within and at the end of words that don’t end with the same consonant sound. Ex: Deep green sea. (The E sound)
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Caesura
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A pause or break within a line of poetry. This pause maybe signaled by various punctuation marks, like a comma, semicolon, dash, ellipsis, etc. Poets use a caesura to emphasize the word or phrase that precedes it or to very the rhythmical effects. In the example below, a caesura follows the word die. Ex: If we must die, let it not be like hogs Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot…
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Connotation
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The associations, overtones, or feelings called up by a word that go beyond the words literal, dictionary meaning. (A word generally has a positive, neutral, or negative connotation. For example, “home” would have a positive connotation, “hate” or “death” would have negative connotations, and “paper” would have a neutral connotation. More specifically, “home” would generally call up images of friends and family and would bring to mind feelings of warmth and security.)
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Consonance
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Repetition of consonant sounds within and at the end of words. Ex: Mr. Ball fell ill. (The L sound at the end of the words.)
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Denotation
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The literal, dictionary definition and meaning of the word. (The denotation of mother would be “a female pregnant or guardian.” Generally speaking, mother would have positive connotations and call up ideas of comfort, care, and love.)
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Diction
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Word choice; the words and author uses in a literary text.
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End rhyme
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When rhyme comes at the end of a line of poetry, it is called end rhyme. The pattern of end rhyme in a poem is called “rhyme scheme” and is charted by assigning a letter, beginning with the letter a, to each line. Lines that rhyme are given the same letter. The rhyme scheme in the example below is AABBCC. Ex: In silent night, when rest I took (a) For sorrow near I did not look (a) I wakened was with thund’ring noise (b) And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice. (b) That fearful sound of “Fire!” and “Fire!” (c) Let no man know is my desire. (c)
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Enjambment
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The running over a sentence or thought from one line to the next without a pause. Ex: To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language…
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Figurative language
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Language that communicates ideas beyond the literal meaning of words. Figurative language often helps make descriptions and unfamiliar or difficult ideas easier to understand. LITERAL: His shirt is brightly colored. FIGURATIVE: His shirt is as bright as 1000 halogen lights–all directly trained right at my face!
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Figures of speech
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The most common types of figures of speech, are simile, metaphor, personification, and hyperbole.
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Form
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The structure of a poem–The physical arrangement of words and a poem, including the length and placement of limes and the grouping of lines into stanzas.
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Traditional form
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Poems with the traditional form follow fixed rules, such as having a set of number lines and/or having a regular pattern of rhythm and/or rhyme. The kinds of problems that utilize traditional forms include epics, odes, ballads, sonnets, haikus, limericks, etc. Ex: In silent night, when rest I took (a) For sorrow near I did not look (a) I wakened was with thund’ring noise (b) And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice. (b) That fearful sound of “Fire!” and “Fire!” (c) Let no man know is my desire. (c)
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Organic form
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Poems with an organic structure do not follow established rules for form; do not have a regular, pre-set pattern of rhythm and may not rhyme at all; and may employ unconventional punctuation, spelling, and grammar. The kinds of poems that utilize organic form include poems written and free verse and concrete poetry (also known as shape poetry). Ex: we’re everyanything more than believe (with a spin leap alive we’re alive) we’re wonderful one times one
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Free verse
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Poetry that does not follow a regular pattern of rhythm or rhyme. in other words, it is poetry that does not have a regular metrical structure or a regular rhyme scheme. Ex: we’re everyanything more than believe (with a spin leap alive we’re alive) we’re wonderful one times one
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Hyperbole
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Exaggeration for emphasis or effect. Ex: We ran 5000 miles in cross country practice today!
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Understatement
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A technique of creating emphasis by saying less than is actually or literally true. Ex: Saying that LeBron James (one of the greatest basketball players of all time) is a decent athlete would be an example of understatement.
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Imagery
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Descriptive language that re-creates or evokes sensory experiences for the reader by appealing to one or more of the five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch). An image is an instance or example of imagery. Ex: “Cold, wet leaves/Floating on moss-colored water”
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Internal rhyme
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Rhyme that occurs within a single line of poetry. Ex: I ATE everything on my PLATE; I SHOULD feel GOOD.
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Metaphor
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An implied comparison between two things that does not use like or as. Ex: •Life is a journey. •The journey of life is long and arduous. •As the curtain of night fell over the land, the old man’s eyes began to close. •It took him a few hours to digest the ideas from the difficult lecture. •The ship plowed through the ocean’s waves.
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Paraphrase
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When you paraphrase lines from a poem, you re-write/translate those lines into your own words.
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Personification
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A description of an object, an animal, place, or an idea in human terms (this item is giving human characteristics, emotions, or abilities). Ex: •Justice cringes whenever someone takes advantage of the poor. •The squirrels chattered for hours outside my window.
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Rhythm
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The pattern or flow of sound created by the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables, particularly in poetry. Some poems follow a regular pattern, or meter, of accented or unaccented syllables.
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Simile
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A comparison between two things, containing the words like or as. Ex: •Her smile was warm like sunshine. •He jumped up towards the backseat as quickly as a cat.
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Setting
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The time and place in which the action of a literary work occurs.
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Slant rhyme
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Rhyme that is not exact but only approximate is known as slant rhyme (or off rhyme). Ex: •Charm and barn •Room and storm •Noise and voice
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Speaker
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The speaker of the poem, like the narrator of the story or novel, is the voice that speaks or narrates the poem. In some poems, the speaker can be identified with the poet. In other poems, the speaker maybe a character that the poet has created.
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Stanza
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A division of poetry named for the number of lines it contains. In more formal or traditional poems, stanzas often share a common pattern of meter and/or rhyme. •Couplet (2 lines-usually that rhyme and have a similar meter). •Tercet (3 Lines – don’t have to rhyme or share same meter) or Triplet [3 lines that rhyme (AAA BBB etc.) and may or may not share the same meter]. •Quatrain (4 lines). •Quintet (5 lines). •Sestet (6 lines). •Septet (7 lines). •Octave (8 lines).
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Style
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The distinctive way in which a work of literature is written; it’s the way the poet says what she says. In other words, style refers not so much to what is said but rather to how it is said. Diction, sentence length, tone, imagery, figuratively good, form, etc. all contribute to a poet’s style. (For example, one might say that Walt Whitman has a flamboyant, democratic style, while Anne Bradstreet has a restrained, yet subversive, formal style).
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Symbol
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A concrete person, place, object, animal, or activity that has a concrete meaning in itself and also stands for something beyond itself, such as an idea or a feeling. For example, the eagle on the back of a quarter might symbolize freedom or the strength of our country.
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Tone
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The speakers attitude towards her subject matter and her implied to/intended audience. A writer can communicate tone through diction, figurative language, imagery, choice of topic and details, direct statements, style, etc. you might characterize the speakers tone as caring, optimistic, caustic, defiant, cheerful, etc.
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Mood
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The feeling or atmosphere (dreary, optimistic, melancholy, threatening, etc.) that a writer creates for the reader. Mood refers to the atmosphere or feeling of a scene, situation, or moment in a text, as well as to the feeling that that scene, Situation, or moment creates for the reader. The writers use of connotation, dramatic details (like setting and situation), figurative language, sound and rhythm, and descriptive details all contribute to mood.
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Topics
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The subjects that a poem addresses (in other words, what the poem’s about).
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Theme (and how to write a theme sentence)
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What statement or truth does the poem express about one of its topics? (For example, the topic might be lost, and the theme might be that suffering loss-and overcoming it-makes people stronger and more resilient). Themes often offer larger perceptions or insights about life, human nature, or the nature of the world/society. These insights are often universal truths that can be applied to the lives of most people. In most cases, themes are not directly stated but must be inferred (figured out) by the reader. To determine a theme, first identify one of the works topics. Then, write a sentence that expresses the statement the work is making about that topic.

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