Literary Glossary: A–B
(The Irish word for “dream-vision”) A traditional Irish poetic genre that flourished in Ireland in the 17th and 18th centuries. These poems were allegorical and frequently recounted a visit by a supernatural female figure to a poet in a dream-vision. These early aislings were political where the female apparition or spéirbhean (“sky-woman”) often served as a metaphor for the poet’s dispossessed Irish homeland or for the Irish people. William Butler Yeats and subsequent modern Irish poets adopted aspects of the aisling into their poetry.
EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Aisling"
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"
- Analyzing Poetic Devices: Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays" and Theodore Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz"
- Edward Lear, Limericks, and Nonsense: A Little Nonsense
- Pictures in Words: Poems of Tennyson and Noyes
- Poetry of The Great War: 'From Darkness to Light'
- The Beauty of Anglo-Saxon Poetry: A Prelude to Beowulf
- “The Song of Wandering Aengus” by W. B. Yeats: A Common Core Exemplar
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 Storybook Romance: Dante's Paolo and Francesca
- A Raisin in the Sun: The Quest for the American Dream
- Chaucer's "Wife of Bath"
- Let Freedom Ring: The Life & Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Ambiguity"
A direct address to an absent person, inanimate object, or abstract ideal as though expecting a reply.
EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Apostrophe"
A universal symbolic form, such as a figure, plot action, motif, object or pattern of behavior developed in a literary work or a fairytale that reappears in similar manifestations in other stories, myths and legends of cultures throughout the world and across time.
EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Archetype"
- A Wrinkle in Time: The Board Game
- Cinderella Folk Tales: Variations in Character
- Cinderella Folk Tales: Variations in Plot and Setting
- The Metamorphoses and Later Works of Art: A Comparison of Mythic Imagery
- John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath: Verbal Pictures
- Pioneer Values in Willa Cather's My Antonia
- Sarah Orne Jewett’s “A White Heron:” A Common Core Exemplar
- “Tale as Old as Time”: Archetypes in Beauty and the Beast
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.