Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Core terms

A local private school has asked me to help revise and standardize the English curriculum. By the time its students graduate and head off to college, they should know, in my opinion, at least these core terms, arranged under three headings:

Genres
Allegory
Comedy
Drama
Elegy
Epic
Fiction
Lyric
Melodrama
Novel
Poetry
Satire
Sonnet
Short story
Tragedy

Formal components and structural devices
Character
Couplet
Imagery
Meter
Monologue
Plot
Point of view
   First-person
   Omniscient
   Unreliable narrator
Prose
Rhyme
Setting
Stanza
Stream of consciousness
Symbol
Theme and motif
Verse
   Blank verse
   Free verse
   Iambic verse

Elements of style
Alliteration
Cliché
Conceit
Connotation and denotation
Diction
Irony
Metaphor
Onomatopoeia
Personification
Tone
Wit

The accomplished student ought to progress from definition to recognition of literary examples and finally to application of the terms in criticism.

1 comments:

R. T. said...

Irony--above all others--may be the most difficult. As Harold Bloom has noted, modern readers rarely detect it, and--when it is pointed out--rarely appreciate it.