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literature posters > literary elements index > LITERARY TERMS | Literary Techniques | Literary Devices

Literary terms: alliteration, foreshadowing, irony, metaphor, onomatopoeia, paradox, personification, simile - examples with definition.

Literary Terms: Alliteration
Literary Terms: Alliteration

Alliteration - repeating the same consonant sound at the beginning of two or more words in close succession.

“While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly they came a tapping...” The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe

Literary Techniques: Foreshadowing
Literary Terms: Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing - hints at events to occur later.

“... but a singular sense of impending calamity, that should indeed have served me as a warning, drove me onward.”

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

Literary Terms: Irony
Literary Terms: Irony

Irony - an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually stated.

“Trusting no man as his friend, he could not recognize his enemy when the latter actually appeared.”

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Literary Term: Metaphor
Literary Terms:

Metaphor - an analogy between two objects or ideas, conveyed by the use of a word instead of another.

“The greater part of the untested men appeared quiet and absorbed. They were going to look at the war, the red animal – the blood-swollen god.”

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Literary Term: Onomatopoeia
Literary Terms:

Onomatopoeia - suggests the source of the sound that it describes.

“And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered,
You heard as if an army muttered;
And the muttering grew to a grumbling;
And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling;
And out of the houses the rats came tumbling.”

The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning

Literary Devices: Paradox
Literary Terms:

Paradox - a statement or group of statements that leads to a contradiction or a situation which (if true) defies logic or reason, similar to circular reasoning.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Literary Term: Personification
Literary Terms:

Personification - using comparative metaphors and similes to give living characteristics to non-living objects.

“... the moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding-places.”

Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Literary Term: Simile
Literary Terms:

Simile - a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced with the words “like”, “as”, or “than”.

“Let us go then, you and I,
When the evenings is spread out against the sky,
Like a patient etherized
upon the table;”

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot

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LITERARY TERMS | Literary Techniques | Literary Devices

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