Literature Terms Vocabulary Practice (page 3)
Literature Terms Vocabulary Practice
Words in Context
The following exercise will help you figure out the meaning of some words from the vocabulary list by reading context clues. After you have read and understood the paragraph, explain the context clues that helped you with the meaning of the vocabulary word. Refer to the answer section for an explanation of the clues.
When asked why the prose of the new novelist, Jane Jackson, appealed to me, I immediately thought of what makes any good novel. Considering the standard archetype, I think the successful novel should include mastery of a range of literary elements. In Jackson's case, she indeed effectively employs the device of anthropomorphism, in particular, when she writes of the "angry storm" waiting to take her revenge. It is as if the storm itself is the novel's protagonist: its central and most dynamic character. An anecdote I would like to share regarding the popularity of Jackson's writing takes place on the New York City subway. I noticed a young woman reading Jackson's latest novel, a satire that exposes and pokes fun of dating in the big city. When I, instinctively as a literary critic, approached the reader to ask her opinion, I realized it was Jackson herself! The irony of the situation was that the novelist still wished to critique the text she had authored; she was her own worst critic!
Some people learn best by doing. Try writing a short story or poem using some of the concepts defined in this list. Seeing them in action will help you commit the words to memory.
Insert the correct word from the vocabulary list into the following sentences.
- My dad told us a(n) _____ about his childhood that was so funny, none of us could stop laughing.
- I love to learn the origin of words, so my teacher suggested I might like to read a book on the _____ of language.
- I _____ (d) his smile as accepting my offer.
- I decided to start my novel with a(n) _____ to get readers thinking about what was to come.
- The little girl's favorite cartoon is one that uses _____ to tell the story; the silverware, refrigerator, and everything else in the kitchen come to life.
- When something or someone typifies or embodies a given idea, it is a(n) _____ of that concept.
- An ideal example of a given type is known as a standard or a(n) _____.
- A(n) _____ is a play on words.
- _____is the art of effective language use.
- When a character or performer reveals her thoughts without addressing a listener, she is issuing a _____.
- A brief statement of truth or opinion is known as a(n) _____ or a saying.
- One is often able to _____, or to reach a conclusion by reasoning or inference.
- The complex device, _____, is when words are used to express something different from, and opposite to, their literal meaning.
- _____is often used in children's books to help kids learn the sounds that animals make, like "moo" for a cow and "meow" for a cat.
- To _____ is to understand from a hint or implication, rather than from something directly statee.
- Putting a situation in the proper _____ often requires a certain mental outlook or point of view.
- A novel's main character, or _____, is central to the action of the text.
- When a saying, idea, or word is so overused that it fails to evoke interest or convey meaning, we may call it _____.
- The finest novelists have a real signature to their writing or the _____ they produce.
- Irony and wit contribute to the makings of an effective _____ that attacks human folly.
The following exercise lists vocabulary words from this chapter. Each word is followed by five answer choices. Four of them are synonyms of the vocabulary word in bold. Your task is to choose the one that is NOT a synonym.
- main character
- principal figure
- fastest player
- first actor
- leader of a cause
- point of view
- evaluation of significance
- perceived interrelations
- depressing language
- ordinary writing
- nonmetrical writing
- commonplace expression
- ordinary speech
- ambiguous expression
- play on words
- similar sound
- rhetorical joke
- powerful understanding
- classical text
- ironic ridicule
- witty literature
- statement of truth
- to go against
- explain the meaning of
- analyze the structure of
In the space provided, write a T if the sentence is true, and an F if the sentence is false. If the sentence is false, cross out the false word and write the correct word from the vocabulary list above it.
- _____In journalism class, we used the news article as an archetype of what quality journalism looks like.
- _____In Shakespeare's play, Hamlet is not only the title but also the satire of the story.
- _____Based on the given evidence and circumstances, I was able to construe my own hypothesis.
- _____Irony is when words imitate the sounds associated with the actions to which they refer.
- _____My perspective on the subject shifted when the author's prose helped me step into another point of view.
- _____Cinderella, a well-known pun, captivates many readers who dream of transformation.
- _____The film was a parody or soliloquy of the futuristic genre, as it poked fun at depictions of space travel and alien encounters.
- _____Her prose was seamless and descriptive as she narrated her travels abroad for a captive audience.
- _____Throughout the story, the lion was a personification of all things regal and really stood as a symbol of royalty.
- _____A word's epigram can reveal a great deal about the history of its usages.
Choosing the Right Word
Circle the word in bold that best completes the sentence.
- I thought she was such a good storyteller as she shared a number of humorous (anecdotes, archetypes) about her beloved grandmother.
- The valentine card included a short, witty (etymology, epigram) that I found quite clever.
- The character was a (personification, satire) of fear as she truly embodied the emotion.
- There was such (irony, onomatopoeia) in the way she unexpectedly ended up rejecting the job she had worked for all her career.
- Sometimes, two words that mean different things yet sound the same provide the opportunity for a (prose, pun).
- The (rhetoric, protagonist) in the persuasive essay was so strong it convinced me to change my position.
- As a reader, I tend to relate to a (soliloquy, protagonist) whose experiences reflect mine.
- Although the poet did have some unique talent, he employed many phrases that were overused and that I found (trite, ironic).
- What was so compelling about the actor's (soliloquy, satire) was how the audience came to understand the inner workings of his mind, even though he never addressed them directly.
- There's an old (soliloquy, aphorism) that says, "A watched pot never boils."
The next time you read a piece of literature, see if you can spot some of the concepts explained in this chapter.
Rent a movie with a friend and try talking about the way the story unfolds: how the actors, screenplay writers, and directors give you, the viewer, your information. In your film (also a literary text) discussion, try to use, in context, a number of words from the vocabulary list
Recommend a book to a friend and in explaining why it is a worthwhile read, try using some of the literary terms you learned in the vocabulary list. Also, read the New York Times book review section. You'll see that those literary critics may talk about the quality of prose, an author's rhetorical gift or style, or the ironic plot twist the reader encounters.
Choose the word from the vocabulary list that best fits into the crossword puzzle. You can check your answers at the end of the chapter following the answers to the questions.
Words in Context
After reading this paragraph, we understand one literary critic's opinion of new novelist Jane Jackson's prose. We understand that prose refers to the novelist's writing: written text as opposed to metrical poetry (Jackson is a novelist, not a poet). We are also privy to a direct experience the critic had with the novelist herself. The critic shares this anecdote, or story-like episode, in order to convey the irony, or unlikelihood, of Jackson being more critical of her own work than any other reader. We are able to recognize archetype as meaning ideal or standard both because of the way the critic refers to it as a model of what "good prose" should have, and also because the word is used in conjunction with the word standard, a synonym for archetype. The three literary terms—anthropomorphism, protagonist, and satire—may be understood in context as the critic explains how they specifically relate to the novelist's prose. Jackson evidently writes about a storm that possesses human qualities (anthropomorphism) and, in fact, this animated storm operates as the main character (protagonist). The critic also describes Jackson's latest novel as a satire: a text that exposes and mocks dating in the big city.
- anecdote. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- etymology. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- construe. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- epigram. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- anthropomorphism. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- personification. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- archetype. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- pun. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- rhetoric. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- soliloquy. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- aphorism. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- deduce. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- irony. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- onomatopoeia. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- infer. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- perspective. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- protagonist. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- trite. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- prose. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- satire. If you got this question wrong, refer back to the word's definition.
- b. statement. An archetype is an original model after which other things are patterned, so statement, simply something that is said or put forth, would not be a synonym.
- c. fastest player. A protagonist is the main character in a drama or other literary work. In ancient Greek drama, a protagonist is the first actor to engage in dialogue. A protagonist is also a champion or leader of a cause.Speed has little to do with a protagonist's centrality; therefore, fastest player would not be a synonym.
- b. prescription. Perspective is a mental outlook, point of view, or the ability to perceive things as they actually relate to one another. Prescription is the establishment of a claim up front: literally, written beforehand, and would not be a synonym.
- a. depressing language. Prose is ordinary speech or writing, without metrical structure. It is also a term used to denote commonplace expression. That language may be depressing does not define it as prose. Thus, depressing language would not be a synonym.
- e. powerful understanding. A pun is wordplay, sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar sense or sound of different words. Powerful understanding would not be a synonym.
- a. classical text. A satire is a literary work in which human folly or vice is attacked through wit or irony. A text's being considered a classic does not make it a satire. Therefore, classical text would not be a synonym.
- c. powerful. When language is trite, it lacks power to evoke interest because of its overuse or repetition. Powerful is in fact the opposite of trite and thus would not be a synonym.
- d. euphemism. An aphorism is a brief statement of truth or opinion: Adage and maxim are essentially synonymous with aphorism while a euphemism is a nice way of saying something that may be offensive. Euphemism is not a synonym for aphorism.
- b. compare. To deduce is to reach a conclusion by reasoning or to infer from a general principle. Comparison—considering two things in terms of each other—is not a matter of deductive reasoning. Therefore, compare would not be a synonym.
- a. to go against. To construe is to explain the meaning of, to interpret, or to analyze the structure of a sentence, for example. This does not mean to go against. It is not a synonym for construe.
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