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Literary Terms

Ltierary Terms and Elements of Fiction

TermDefinition
allegory a story that has a symbolic or deeper meaning the characters and/or events often symbolize ideas beyond the surface of what they appear
allusion brief and indirect reference to a person, place, thing or idea of historical, cultural, literary or political significance
analogy a literary device that helps to establish a relationship based on similarities between two concepts or ideas
antagonist character who provides conflict for the protagonist
character person, thing, or animal that takes part in the action of a story; may be round/flat, static/dynamic
characterization the process through which a character is developed and revealed
climax high point an/or turning point of the story's action; high point of interest
conflict the problem of the story; may be internal or external
connotation an idea or suggested meaning of a word beyond its literal meaning
denotation literal or dictionary meaning of a word
denouement tying up the loose ends of the plot
dialect a form of a language or way of speaking that is particular to a specific region or social group
diction word choice (It can also refer to the style of enunciation in speaking.)
dramatic irony reader or audience knows something that the character does not
exposition background information such as setting and character introduction
first person point of view the narrator is a character in the story
flashback interrupting the plot to go back in time
foreshadowing hinting at something that has not yet happened
genre a category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter
inciting incident event that sets up the story's conflict
irony contrast between what is expected and what actually happens or exists
mood emotional atmosphere of the story; the feeling conveyed to the reader
narrator who is telling the story
paradox a statement whose two parts seem contradictory yet make sense with more thought; a statement that appears to be self-contradictory but that also includes a basic truth
parody a humorous or satirical imitation of a serious piece of literature, art, or writing
plot the sequence of events in a story; includes exposition, conflict, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, and sometimes denouement
point of View perspective from which the story is told; how the story is narrated
protagonist the main character
resolution when the problem or conflict is resolved
satire a type of writing that holds something up for ridicule using irony and sarcasm, usually with the hopes of bringing about improvement.
setting time and place of story's action when, where, and world of the story
short story (Poe's definition) Short enough to read in one sitting. All details contribute to a single, overall effect.
situational irony expect one thing to happen but another (sometimes opposite) thing does
symbol an object or idea that stands for something beyond itself
theme the message the story conveys
third person point of view an outside narrator; can be limited or omniscient (all-knowing)
tone the speaker or narrator's attitude towards the story
verbal irony contrast between what is expected to be said and what is actually said (say one thing but mean another)
Created by: AR_Heitmann