Common Literary Terms (Part 1)

shakespeare

GAMSAT Section 1: Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences involve vignettes from fiction, non-fiction, poetry and picture studies. Although the questions don’t expect students to have any prior knowledge of the humanities as such, some of the questions use some terms that students from any discipline are expected to be familiar with. Given below are some of the most general terms that will help you in your preparation and make it easier to tackle the questions in GAMSAT Section 1.

Glossary of Terms

Alliteration:

You’ll not only find this one in poetry questions but also in general literature questions. As a simple definition it’s the repetition of a consonant sound to produce an effect in the reader. E.g. “Dirty Deals”.

Allusion:

This is a reference to something either literary, factual (current or historical) or mythological. The author can make a reference to a person, place or object, either directly or indirectly.

Aside:

An actor on stage will sometimes turn and speak directly to the audience or to himself/herself, to advance the story of the play. This is known as an aside.

Connotation:

This is the meaning that people or groups of people associate with a word. For example, poetry might have a very different connotation to a gang of bikers than it would to a classics professor! The opposite of this is denotation which is the actual dictionary definition of a word.

Characterisation:

Characterisation refers to the creation of characters for a narrative. The thoughts, speech and actions of a particular character can denote the attributes of the same, along with actual descriptions the author gives in the course of the narrative.

Dialogue:

This refers to the conversation that takes place between two or more characters.

Didactic:

Literally, this refers to a text that teaches. It’s laden with instructions and lessons. In the case of plays these are normally moral in nature. Practically any write-up can be didactic in nature, be it an essay, a story and even a piece in a periodical or a journal.

Read Also: Common Literary Terms (Part 2)

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