Literary Terms
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Why is Jeannette’s glass
castle more like a sand
castle? (metaphor)
The glass castle represents
the hopes of a positive future
for the family. Those hopes
can be represented in a sand
castle because it can be built
but it will soon be washed
away, just like the children’s
hopes are often washed away.
Figurative Language/Literary
Terms Review
Also known as descriptive
language, or poetic language,
figurative language helps the
writer paint a picture in the
reader’s mind.
Allusion
A casual reference in literature to a person,
place, event, or another passage of literature.
 Example: "Fluffy" -- the three headed dog in
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

In Greek Mythology, Cerberus guards the gate to
the underworld. He is "a three-headed, dragontailed dog, who permits all spirits to enter, but none
to return."
-- from Edith Hamilton's Mythology

Colloquialism
A word or phrase used in everyday plain
and relaxed speech, but rarely found in
formal writing.
 Example: The opening line from Mark
Twain’s Huckleberry Finn
 "You don’t know about me without you have
read a book by the name of The Adventures
of Tom Sawyer, but that ain’t no matter."

Colloquialism cont’d
Another example: The first sentence of J.D.
Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye
 "If you really want to hear about it, the first
thing you'll probably want to know is where I
was born, and what my lousy childhood was like,
and how my parents were occupied and all
before they had me, and all that David
Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like
going into it, if you want to know the truth."

Hyperbole
Exaggeration or overstatement for
an effect.
“I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”
“This test is going to take forever to finish.”
Now you write one:
Begin with “My dog is so ugly…” and finish the
sentence using hyperbole.
(example: My dog is so ugly we had to pay the fleas to
live on him!)
Idiom
An expression in one language that cannot
be matched or directly translated wordfor-word in another language.
“tough nut to crack”
“piece of cake”
Now you write one.
Verbal Irony
 An
implied discrepancy between what
is said and what is meant
 Example: From Antony’s speech in
Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
 "Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And
Brutus is an honorable man.“
 In the context of the play, he is really
saying that Brutus is NOT honorable.”
Symbol
Using an object or action that means
something more than its literal meaning
 Example: From William Golding’s Lord of the
Flies
 The conch is a concrete object, but it
represents the abstract concepts of law and
order and of course a civilized society.

Metaphor
A comparison of two unlike things,
but does NOT use the words "like"
or "as".
“She was an ice cube before the
heat kicked on.”
“They are two peas in a pod.”
Simile
A comparison of two unlike things
using the words "like" or "as".
“She is as cold as ice.”
“The stars shine like diamonds.”
Theme
the general idea or insight about life
that a writer wishes to express
 Example: From Harper Lee’s To Kill a
Mockingbird,:
 “Even if one person stands up for
what is right, when all others are
against him or her, it can make a
positive difference.”

The Appeals
Appeal to character: Ethos
 To make an argument that is a persuasive
appeal to someone’s moral and ethical nature.
 Example: William Golding’s Lord of the Flies
 Right after Simon is killed, Ralph says, “`That
was murder…’ Ralph’s voice, low and stricken,
stopped Piggy’s gestures…`Don’t you
understand, Piggy? The things we did…’”
 Ralph is trying to do the right thing, ethically.

The Appeals cont’d
Appeal to reason: Logos
 To use rational thinking to persuade by
means of an argument “suitable to the case
in question.”
 Example: Dr. Martin Luther King's speech


Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic
shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation
Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great
beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had
been seared in the flames of withering injustice.
Another example of Logos
From William Golding’s Lord of the Flies
 Right after the ship goes by because Jack
pulled Samneric from the fire, Jack tries to
explain that he HAD to hunt.
 “The job was too much. We needed
everyone.…We needed meat.”

The Appeals cont’d
Appeal to Pity: Pathos
 To make an argument with emotional
appeal that targets the audience’s altruism
and mercy.
 Example: From Jeannette Walls’ The Glass
Castle
 “Quixote landed with a screeching meow
and a thud, Dad accelerated up the road,
and I burst into tears” (18).

Finish your Literary Terms sheet





Use your book to find the quotes you need to
complete the handout.
Decide which two you would like to “perfect”
and type up.
Typed quotes with pink sheet stapled to the
back is due on Thursday, Dec. 15th.
When you finish the pink handout, read, work
on discussion questions or study for your prefix
test.
All of this is independent work.
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Figurative Language Review