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Techniques/ Literary Devices - Literature Notes
(i) Foreshadowing. The use of phrases and words that set the stage for the story to unfold. It gives the reader a hint of something that is going to happen without revealing or spoiling the story. Foreshadowing is used to suggest an upcoming outcome to the story.
(ii) Motif. This is any element, subject, idea or concept that is constantly present in a novel. It is also the repetition of a specific theme dominating the text. Motifs are very noticeable and play a significant role in defining the course of events in the story.
(iii) Characterization. The act of creating and describing characters in a story.
(iv) Juxtaposition. A technique where two concepts or ideas are placed next to each other, thereby allowing the reader to compare and contrast them.
(v) Flashback. A scene or chapter in a movie, play or novel that is set in a time earlier than the main story. The purpose of a flashback is to give the backstory to certain events.
(vi) Situational Irony. When something takes place that is the opposite of what is expected to have happened.
(vii) Setting. This is the place, time or atmosphere of a novel or short story. The setting can highlight a particular theme in a story, example racism.
(viii) Symbol. This is the tangible things; person, place animal or things, that represent bigger ideas in a story.
(ix) Dramatic Irony. A device in which the audience knows more about the situations, the causes of conflicts, and their resolutions before the characters. The characters behave inappropriately as a result of their lack of knowledge. This type of irony is usually reserved for plays.
Contributor: Leisa Samuels-Thomas
Abrahams, M.H. A Glossary of Literary Terms. (Orlando: FL). Haracourt Brace College Publisher, 1999.