allegory- a tale in prose or verse in which characters, actions, or settings represent abstract ideas or moral qualities.
Ex. The Cave is an allegory.
alliteration- the repetition of similar initial sounds, usually consonants, in a group of words.
Ex. Shelly sells sea shells by the sea shore.
allusion- a reference to a person, a place, an event, or a literary work that a writer expects a reader to recognize.
Ex. As he continued his story, his nose began to grow.
ambiguity- something uncertain as to interpretation.
Ex. The child yelled "Duck!" We didn't know if we were supposed to drop or look for birds.
anachronism- something that shows up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ex. As she walked in with tears in her eye, obviously wanting to be alone, everyone yelled, "surprise!"
analogy- a comparison made between two things to show the similarities between them.
Ex. The lizard had a long tail and slithered just like a snake.
analysis- a method in which a work or idea is separated into its parts, and those parts given rigorous and detailed scrutiny.
Ex. The scientist provided a complete analysis of his findings.
anaphora- a device or repetition in which a word or words are repeated at the begining of two or more lines, phrases, clauses, or sentences.
Ex. "You is kind, you is smart, you is important." -The Help
anecdote- a very short story used to illustrate a point.
Ex. My uncle broke his knee cap trying to water ski on one foot.
antagonist- a person or force opposing the protagonist in a drama or narrative.
The antagonist in Hamlet is King Claudius.
antithesis- a balancing of one term against another for emphasis or stylistic effectiveness.
Ex. "Speech is silver, but Silence is Gold." http://literarydevices.net/antithesis/
aphorism- a terse, pointed statement expressing some wise or clever observation about life.
Ex. Life is hard.
apologia- a defense or justification for some doctrine.
Ex. I spoke up because the speaker was coming to conclusions without any good evidence.
apostrophe- a figure of speech in which an absent or dead person is addressed directly.
Ex. Come back to me grandfather, I need your advice!
argument- the process of convincing a reader by proving either the truth or the falsity of an idea.
Ex. Basketballs need to be round so that they can bounce.
assumption- the act of supposing, or taking for granted that a thing is true.
Ex. Stars are small.
audience- the intended listener or listeners.
Ex. Every writer has an audience.
characterization- the means by which a writer reveals a character's personality.
Ex. The tall thin man with sun kissed skin worker his entire life for what he had.
chiasmus- a reversal in the order of words so that the second half of a statement balances the first half.
"I had a teacher I liked who used to say good fiction's job was to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable."
(David Foster Wallace)