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Personification – a figure of speech ascribing human or life-like qualities to inanimate things. Derisive Death hurled his spear at the crouching hag.

“But look the morn, in russet mantle clad,    Walks o’er the dew of you high eastern hill.” – Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Phraseology – the grouping or arrangement of words, a narrower term than style.

Plagiarism – the stealing or appropriation of the ideas or literary creations of someone else and using them as one’s own.

Picaresque  (from picaro, the Spanish for vagabond or rogue – a designation applied to a narrative whose central figure is a vagabond or wanderer who travels about having a loosely connected  series of adventures in various places (Cervantes’s Don Quixote, Fielding’s Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn).

Plot – the chain or succession of events in a story. A long and complicated plot is often made up of a series of episodes, which in turn are made up of a series of incidents. It can also have one or more subplots, less important than the main plot but which moves along with it, sometimes crossing back and forth over it, and usually resolved with it at the end of the story (Dickens’s Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities both have complex plots and several subplots).

Poetaster (po’ et as ter; po et as’ ter) (pronounced so the last two syllables rhyme with master) an uncomplimentary term meaning a petty or paltry poet; a writer of poor or trashy verse. The Latin diminutive ending aster here denotes inferiority. The word does not means one who tastes poetry.

Poetic Justice – the appropriateness or justice of a character’s receiving the reward or punishment he deserves, such as when a good character is rewarded or a bad one punished. It is all the more striking, although occasionally too contrived, if he is paid back in a fitting or appropriate way, as when a bad person is caught in his own trap. A spectacular contrived example occurs in Dickens’s Oliver Twist when Bill Sikes, who has brutally murdered Nancy, tries to flee across a London rooftop and in doing so, accidentally hangs himself.

Poetic License – the liberty an author takes in departing from strict fact, form, or rule for the sake of artistic effect.

Point of View of Narrator – the point of view from which the story is told. A story is said to be told in the first person if it is related exclusively from the position of a single character who uses I throughout (Poe’s short stories). Examples of stories in the second person are rare. It is called third person if the point of view is restricted to that of a single character referred to always by name or by a pronoun in the third person. There is also the all-seeing eye or omniscient point of view in which the author uses the third person but does not limit the point of view to that of just one person. He tells the story from the vantage of the all-seeing eye or an omniscient being who looks down upon all his characters alike.

If in using this method, the author discloses the thoughts and emotions of his characters, he is said to be using Subjective Characterization. If he simply reveals their words and actions, he is said to be using Objective Characterization. A story told exclusively from the point of view of a

single character gains intimacy and realism, but makes it difficult for the author to present a scene or incident from the all-seeing eye, which enables the author to tell what is happening simultaneously in various places, gives a broader scope, and provides the author with more freedom to work in his own comments.

Precis – a concise statement, summary or abstract, shorter than a paraphrase.

Premise – a previous statement or proposition from which another is inferred. The major premise is the one that contains the major term, the first proposition of a regular syllogism. The minor premise is the one that contains the minor term, that is, the second proposition of a regular syllogism. (See Syllogism.)

Prologue – an incident or episode occurring before the beginning of a story or play proper; also a speech in prose or verse addressed by an actor to the audience before the beginning of the play itself. The purpose of prologue is to give the reader or audience an explanation as to what the piece is going to be about, to hint at what moral or ideas to look for in it, or perhaps to settle the audience and arouse their interest. (Thornton Wilder’s Our Town has a prologue.)

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