Odyssey Literary Terms

Epic Poetry Long, formal narrative poem written in an elevated style that recounts the adventures of a hero of mythic proportions. Example: “The Odyssey”
Invocation A direct and explicit request for help in writing/storytelling. Example: “Sing in me Muse”
Epithet An adjective or phrase applied to a noun to accentuate a certain trait or characteristic. Examples: “the man skilled in all ways of contending”; “the red-haired king” and “Grey-Eyed Goddess”
Epic Hero A man of great stature and significance with two traditional virtues: wisdom and bravery. Example: Odysseus
In Medias Res A literary term coined by Horace that means literally “in the middle of things.” It is used to describe stories that begin in the middle the action rather than at the beginning of a character’s life. Example: Books IX-XIII
Epic Simile An extended or elaborate simile in which the image used in comparison is described at such length that it obscures the subject of the comparison. Unlike a regular simile which uses “like” or “as” to compare the two unlike things, the key comparison words in a regular simile are “so” or “just so” Example: As a man will bury his glowing brand in black ashes, off on a lonely farmstead, no neighbors near, to keep a spark alive, SO great Odysseus buried himself in leaves and Athena showered sleep upon his eyes.
Point of View (Omniscient) godlike, all-knowing; multiple points of view at the same time; will go into more than one character’s thought or feeling in the same sentence or paragraph
Point of View (Limited Omniscient) Usually limited to one character’s thought or feelings, but can switch POV, usually at the start of a new section or chapter. THere is also a limit to what the narrator knows, unlike the omniscient narrator who often knows everything.
Point of View (Objective) No internal thought or feeling, only what can be seen from outside a character; NOT colored by bias or emotion
Point of View (Subjective) No internal thought or feeling, only what can be seen from outside a character; colored by bias or emotion
Unreliable Narrator Can’t be trusted to tell the truth. Example: Odysseus’ many lies to the Cyclops such as telling the cyclops his name is Nhbody
Indirect Narration The things we learn about characters or events that are said in dialogue Example: Chapter IX-XIII
Direct Narration The things that are said by a narrator
Theme NOt simply the subject of a literary work, but rather a statement that the text seems to be making about that subject.
Irony A contradiction or incongruity between appearance or expectation and reality
Dramatic Irony When the audience or reader knows something that one or more of the characters doesn’t
Situational Irony Events or situations become ironic.
Verbal Irony Something said becomes ironic. FOr example, “Yay, I’m the biggest loser! I just won a million dollars!
Tone The narrator’s attitude toward the characters and/or events
Metaphor A comparison between two unlike things
Simile A comparison between two unlike things, using “like” or “as”
Personification Using human traits or qualities to describe something inhuman
Imagery The language a writer uses to convey a visual picture
Hyperbole A gross exaggeration for dramatic effect
Consonance repetition of consonant sounds, especially at the ends of words.
Alliteration The repetition of sounds in a sequence of words
Assonance The repetition of vowel sounds in a sequence. sounds Example: She sells sea shells at the sea shore.
Meter the more or less regular pattern of accented and unaccented syllables in poetry
Connotation The associations evoked by a word beyond its literal meaning
Denotation The primary, literal meaning of a word
Aside Something a character says under his or her breath on stage that the audience understands is mean to be herad by the audience but not by one ore more characters on stage
Catharis The purging of emotion that takes place when witnessing both comedy and tragedy, but more commonly during a tragedy
Tragic flaw The trait in a tragic hero that is responsible for his or her rise and fall from power
Hubris Excessive pride; the most common of all the tragic flaws
Comedy An amusing and entertaining work that ends happily and presents the “lighter side” of life
Tragedy A serious form and often somber drama that ends in disaster and focuses on a character who undergoes unexpected reversals
History ONe of Shakespeare’s plays that concerns itself with English Tudor history
Prologue Occurs before the action of the play begins; one or more of the characters comments on what is about to take place
Epilogue Occurs after the action of the play has taken place; one or more of the characters comments on what has taken place
Monologue A long, dramatic speech given by one character
Soliloquy A long, dramatic speech spoken when a character is alone on stage
Chorus Comments on the action/events of the play
Round Multidimensional; the main or principal players
Flat One dimensional, one-sided
Dynamic Changes
Static Doesn’t change
Foil A minor character that provides contrast with one of the main characters
Exposition The beginning of a story that exposes the problems/conflicts
Rising Action Events leading up to the climax
Falling Action Events following the climax
Climax The peak of emotional intensity in a work. There are mini climaxes too
Denouement The resolution of the climax/conflicts
Deus Ex Machina A god introduced into a play to resolve the entanglement of the plot
First Folio In 1632, two actors from Shakespeare’s company published the most famous folio ever printed, the First Foio of Shakespeare’s plays. This first collection of Shakespeare’s works contained 36 plays
Blank verse Shakespearean blank verse consists of unrhymed lines in iambic pentameter, a meter made up of five “feet”. Each foot consisting of an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable. Slight variations sometimes occurt.
Douplet Two consecutive lines in a poem or play that rhyme
Pun A joke based on words with several meanings, or on words that sound alike but have different meanings
Paradox A statement seemingly self-contradictory but in reality expressing a possible truth.
Allusion A reference in a work of literature to a character, place or situation from another work of literature, music or art
Chicano Literature Took shape after the conclusion of the Mexican War in 1848; Influential Cultural Forces: Spanish Conquistadors, 16th century; Navaho-Americans; later Anglo-Americans; oral tradition, myths, and folklore; spiritualism and naturalism; and Roman Catholicism
Ethnic Identity Demonstrated through characters, cultural situations, cultural and religious values, and patterns of speech
Social Realism Emphasizes influence of social and economic conditions of an era on characters, events, and social institutions
Magical Realism the interweaving of sharply etched realism with fantastic and dream-like elements; combines the everyday, the fantastic, the mythical and the nightmarish to blur traditional distinctions between things; also can include experimental style, non-linear plot and dream sequences
Bildungsroman A novel that recounts the development, psychological and spiritual, of a youthful main character
Indirect Narration Narration that occurs through dialogue, not from the narrator
Direct Narration Narration that occurs directly though the narrator
Stream of Consciousness Narration Approximates the flow of thoughts and sensory impressions that pass through the mind; choppy, fragmented style
Prophesy A prediction for the future
Moral Ambivalence Uncertainty of right and wrong
Epiphany (1) an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (2): an illuminating discovery, realization or disclosure b: a revealing scene or moment

You Might Also Like