As freshmen, you should learn these if you haven't already. As upperclassmen, you are expected to have mastered all of these already. As writers, you should begin to use these as technique.
Some hints for using these terms:
1. Always use the terms when discussing or writing about literature.
2. Nearly all terms can be used for any genre of literature.
3. Realize that authors know about these techniques and use them on purpose with the idea that their readers will know about them too -- even if they themselves aren't aware of the technique at the time. (Ask me about this sometime!) They assume you can use them to interpret and understand their work. They aren't trying to trick you, they just figure you are smart and can think your way through it. In fact, that's part of why they bothered to write it!
4. Realize, too, that literature is really about life so even though our mastery of these terms and techniques is helpful in understanding literature and developing our powers of analysis, it is NOT the reason we read. We read to enjoy, to escape, to learn, to judge -- we read because stories and poems and plays all let us look at life in ways we hadn't before!


Common Terms for Poetry *Terms marked with the asterisk are repeated in the General Terms List.  They are listed in the poetry terms to help you with your analysis of your critical essay poem.
abstract alliteration allusion* assonance ballad
blank verse conceit concrete connotation* consonance
denotation* diction epic figurative language free verse
heroic couplet hyperbole imagery  irony* metaphor
meter mood* narrative poem onomatopoeia personification
pun quatrain refrain  repetition  rhyme
rhyme scheme  rhythm scansion shape simile
slant rhyme sound speaker stanza structure
symbol* theme* title*

General Terms Common to All Literature: Drama, Novel, Short Story, Non-Fiction
allusion anecdote antagonist cause/effect comparison/contrast
connotation denotation description details dialect
drama dramatic climax dramatic irony editorial external conflict
fact/opinion flashback foil foreshadowing generalizations
hero/heroine humor inferences  internal conflict irony
legends mood myth narrator: first person narrator: 3rd person limited
narrator: 3rd pers omniscient parody protagonist purpose  satire 
setting stereotypes suspense symbol technical climax
theme title tone tragedy understatement
characterization: thoughts/feelings, action, dialogue, reaction of others, direct description
plot: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement