Literary Glossary: A–B

Home | A–B | C–D | E | F–G | H | I–L | M | N | O–P | Q–R | S | T–Z


An extended metaphor, whether in prose or verse, in which characters and objects hold both a literal meaning as well as a secondary, implied meaning through the careful use of specific symbols. Usually this secondary meaning offers relevant commentary on contemporary social, political, or religious issues.

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Allegory"


A repetition of the initial consonant sounds in a series, as in the following example from "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden. Note that the repetition of consonant sounds in other places in a sequence of words is called consonance and is often used in conjunction with alliteration, as with the hard "c" sound in "blueblack" and "ached."

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Alliteration"


A reference to a person, place or thing or to another literary work, often brief or indirect.  Allusions are often used to contain complex emotions and ideas in a single powerful image.

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Allusion"


A direct address to an absent person, inanimate object, or abstract ideal as though expecting a reply.

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Apostrophe"


A repetition of vowel sounds, initially and/or within a word, as in the following example from Wilfred Owen's "The Things That Make a Soldier Great" (note the repetition of the "u" sounds within the first few lines, including the endings of lines 2 and 4).

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Assonance"


An account of a life written by the individual detailed in the account. A self-authored biography.

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Autobiography"