Philip Nel > Courses > English 355: Literature for Children (Fall 2016) > Journal > Aesthetics: Words
English 355: Literature for Children
Aesthetics: Words | Images
Required Texts
Schedule of Assignments
Terms listed here in roughly the order that they'll appear during the semester

poem: Written in verse. Intended to be read aloud (sound is as important as meaning).

meter: When the rhythms (pattern in the beat of stresses in the stream of sound) of language have a regular structure, then you have meter.

verse: Compositions written in meter are verse


alliteration: repetition of initial consonant sounds:
Gloppy glumps of old oatmeal
Cold french fries (from Silverstein)
Rumbling, Rattling, Round, roofs, roads, roars, raging, raving, racing [from Bennett, “Windy Nights,” p. 86]

consonance: repetition of a sequence of two or more consonants, but with a change in the intervening vowel such as…rider to reader, farer to fearer, hearer to horror
It cracked the window and blocked the door  (from Silverstein)
Pickety, clickety, lickety, rickety  (from McCord, “The Pickety Fence,” p. 76)]

assonance: repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds.
yams, hams
ceilings, peelings
peas, cheese           (all from Silverstein’s “Sara…”)

tone: Attitude toward the listener and the object of discourse

diction:  Word choice.  Words can be…
abstract            concrete
colloquial         formal
literal               figurative

image: a literal or concrete representation of a sensory experience or of an object that can be known by one or more senses.  Ezra Pound defines it as “a radiant node or cluster into which, out of which, and through which ideas are constantly rushing.”  Loosely, imagery may refer to all figures of speech in a poem.
      “Its eyes try all the corners of the night” (Jarrell’s poem about the Owl)
“silver liquid drops” (Hughes’ “April Rain Song”)

simile: a figure of speech in which a similarity between two objects is directly expressed; usually the comparison is introduced by like or as.
eg: “and I was shaken, shaken / like a mouse / between their jaws” (35).
eg: “soft / as a velvet newborn mouse” (68)

metaphor: an implied analogy which imaginatively identifies one object with another and ascribes to the first one or more qualities of the second, or invests the first with emotional or imaginative qualities of the second.  According to the critic R.P. Blackmur, all metaphors are made up of two parts: a tenor, which is the idea being expressed or the subject of the comparison, and a vehicle, which is the image by which the idea is conveyed or the subject is communicated

personification: a figure of speech which endows animals, ideas, abstractions, and inanimate objects with human form, character, or sensibilities.
“Let the rain sing you a lullaby” and “The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night” (Hughes’ “April Rain Song”)

symbol: literally, something which is itself and yet stands for or suggests something else, usually abstract.

onomatopoeia: a word that sounds like what it means
eg: “heaves” -- as in “all the air swells and heaves” (Owl) -- is onomatopoetic.
eg: “Drippy” in “Drippy ends of ice cream cones,” “Gloppy glumps” in “Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal” (Silverstein’s “Sara Cynthia Sylvia Stout…”)
eg: “cheerful bumpy sound” in Lear’s “The Table and the Chair”

free indirect discourse: third-person narrator closely aligned with first-person point of view.  Classic example: Jane Austen (in general). Examples from this class: Rowling, Gaiman.

Sources: Some of these are adapted from this worksheet, which itself borrows heavely from: a glossary of terms created by Professor Mark Jarman, H. Holman's The Handbook to Literature, and M.H. Abrams's Glossary of Literary Terms

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Contexts (for Journals)




  • NAME, the National Association for Multicultural Education
  • Reading While White: “Allies for Racial Diversity & Inclusion in Books for Children and Teens”
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