Objective point of view See point of view.
Octave A poetic stanza of eight lines, usually forming one part of a sonnet. See also sonnet, stanza.
Ode A relatively lengthy lyric poem that often expresses lofty emotions in a dignified style. Odes are characterized by a serious topic, such as truth, art, freedom, justice, or the meaning of life; their tone tends to be formal. There is no prescribed pattern that defines an ode; some odes repeat the same pattern in each stanza, while others introduce a new pattern in each stanza. See also lyric.
Oedipus complex A Freudian term derived from Sophocles' tragedy Oedipus the King. It describes a psychological complex that is predicated on a boy's unconscious rivalry with his father for his mother's love and his desire to eliminate his father in order to take his father's place with his mother. The female equivalent of this complex is called the Electra complex. See also Electra complex, psychological criticism.
Off rhyme See rhyme.
Omniscient narrator See narrator.
One-act play A play that takes place in a single location and unfolds as one continuous action. The characters in a one-act play are presented economically and the action is sharply focused. See also drama.
Onomatopoeia A term referring to the use of a word that resembles the sound it denotes. Buzz, rattle, bang, and sizzle all reflect onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeia can also consist of more than one word; writers sometimes create lines or whole passages in which the sound of the words helps to convey their meanings.
Open form Sometimes called "free verse," open form poetry does not conform to established patterns of meter, rhyme, and stanza. Such poetry derives its rhythmic qualities from the repetition of words, phrases, or grammatical structures, the arrangement of words on the printed page, or by some other means. The poet E. E. Cummings wrote open form poetry; his poems do not have measurable meters, but they do have rhythm. See also fixed form.
Organic form Refers to works whose formal characteristics are not rigidly predetermined but follow the movement of thought or emotion being expressed. Such works are said to grow like living organisms, following their own individual patterns rather than external fixed rules that govern, for example, the form of a sonnet.
Overstatement See hyperbole.
Oxymoron A condensed form of paradox in which two contradictory words are used together, as in "sweet sorrow" or "original copy." See also paradox.
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