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Literary Elements

Elements of Fiction/Literary Terms

QuestionAnswer
the main character or the one most central to the action of the story protagonist
the person, thing, or force working against the protagonist antagonist
the author's reason for creating a work author's purpose
a person, animal, or imaginary creature that takes part in the action of the story character
the techniques an author uses to develop the personality of a character in a literary work characterization
the author tells you what to feel or think about a character direct characterization
the author gives you information about a character through actions, dialogue, thoughts, feelings, and interactions that allow the reader to form an opinion indirect characterization
the most important character(s) main character
less important---they interact with the main characters and one another, but readers don't know much about them minor character
characters that stay the same throughout the story static character
characters that change from beginning to end---often they will learn something dynamic character
the words that characters speak---can move the plot along and reveal a lot about characters dialogue
a form of language that is spoken in a particular place or by a particular group of people dialect
the feeling that the work gives to readers mood
the action or sequence of events in a story plot
the first part of plot---setting, characters and background information are all introduced exposition
the event that introduces the central conflict inciting incident
series of conflicts or struggles that build the story toward its climax---tension rises rising action
the high point or turning point of the story---the last big event dealing with the conflict climax
the action that begins to settle the conflict falling action
the ending----brings the story to a satisfactory close resolution
the problem of the story---the action is centered around it conflict
problem with another character person vs. person
problem with the laws or beliefs of a group of people person vs. society
problem with the environment person vs. nature
problem deciding what to do or think person vs. self
problem that seems to be uncontrollable person vs. fate
the perspective from which a story is told point of view
story is told by one of the characters first person point of view
story is told by a narrator who is not a character in the story third person point of view
the time and place in which the action of the story occurs setting
a person, place, thing, or event used to represent something else symbol
the statement or lesson about life that the author wants to convey to the reader---similar to a moral theme
the category or type of literature genre
the author interrupts the sequence of events in the story to tell about something in the past flashback
the author gives hints or clues about what might happen in the future foreshadowing
Created by: eaglemiddle