Rhetorical Figure

Rhetorical Figure – Wikipedia: “A technique that an author or speaker uses to convey to the listener or reader a meaning with the goal of persuading him or her towards considering a topic from a different perspective.” There are literally hundreds of literary devices and rhetorical figures, or tools for communication. Some of these tools [...]



Rhizome – In terms of the rhizome/tree distinction of Deleuze and Guattari, rhizomes (potatoes and grasses) are the spaces in which they, as machines of meaning, make meaning. They are the whole world. There is one world—the real world of signs. Trees suppose a world “out there,” roots in the mud, nourished and real, to [...]

Realism and Naturalism


Realism and Naturalism – In prose that we term realist (small R), the style of expression is “realistic,” meaning “as things actually happen,” not exaggerated for emotional effect. A real story, with real people, drives the power of the text. The style of content is that of a “real” story, in which a true-to-life seeming [...]

Prose versus Poetry, structure of


Prose versus Poetry, structure of – Prose is written language whose structure is that of ordinary speech. Prose is opposed to poetry, which is language structured by a scheme other than that of ordinary speech. Such schemes include: Rhyme – Assonance and consonance Rhythm – Accented and unaccented syllables; number of syllables Shape – Where [...]

Period, literary–historical

Period, literary–historical – In the study of literature, we often group texts according to when they were written. Writings in the same period often (but not always) share similar points of style. By “style,” we mean style of expression and style of content. The first concerns writing. What sort of words, punctuation, etc. More pathetic [...]

Quotation Marks

Quotation Marks – You must punctuate dialogue in fiction and nonfiction (unless you are Cormac McCarthy). In American English, quotation marks fall outside of other punctuation marks. In British English, the reverse is true. If you are taking a college class in America, place closing quotation marks on the outside. Learn the rule: “Write like this.” [...]

Rhetoric, Rhetorical Appeals

Rhetoric, Rhetorical Appeals – Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. The three rhetorical appeals, into which evidence can be sometimes be divided, are: The Ethical – You ask the reader to think of how society thinks she should act The Pathetic (the emotional) – You ask the reader to laugh or to cry; these emotional peaks [...]



Romanticism – In prose that we term romantic (small R), the style of expression is exaggerated. Look for exclamation points and em dashes. Actions and feelings are often expressed via conventions—symbols the reader and writer would both have “agreed upon,” already understand. For example, when talking about how powerful you, you compare yourself to Julius Caesar. [...]



Postmodernism – Just as modernity is the period after the Middle Ages, so is postmodernity the period of modernity after modernity’s global (but incomplete) ascendancy—after the exhaustion of the modern and its turn toward severe self-awareness. Generally, we talk about postmodernity as beginning after World War II. The style or movement in art, thought, and [...]

Rubric, Grading


Rubric, Grading – A rubric is a system for determining whether or not an essay fulfills its prompt—a way of grading essays. Generally, we grade on four big ideas: Thesis – Is your main idea clear and powerful? Can it be proved through research? Does it have the weight of common sense behind it? Evidence [...]