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Literary Terms


alliteration the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of a word
allusion a reference to a famous person, place, event, or work of literature.
analogy comparison between two things alike in some way
antagonist the character working against the main character
assonance the repetition of vowel sounds within non-rhyming words
author's purpose a writer usually writes for one or more of these purposes: to express thoughts and feelings, to inform, to persuade, and to entertain
characters the people, animals, or imaginary creatures who take part in the action of a work of literature. Like real people,, characters display certain qualities, or traits, that develop and change over time
dynamic characters a character who changes throughout the course of the novel
static characters a character who does not go through significant changes throughout the course of the novel
round characters A character with much personality
flat character a character with little to no personality
characterization the way a writer creates and develops characters
conflict a struggle between opposing forces. An external conflict involves a character who struggles against a force outside him/herself. An internal conflict is one that occurs within a character.
connotation the ideas and feelings associated with the word
denotation dictionary definition
dialogue written conversation between two or more characters.
figurative language language that communicates meanings beyond the literal meanings of the words
flashback an interruption of the action to present events that took place at an earlier time
foreshadowing a writer provides hints that suggest future events in a story. It creates suspense and makes the reader eager to find out what will happen.
genre a category in which a work of literature is classified
hyperbole is a figure of speech in which the truth is exaggerated for emphasis or humorous effect
inference gap the act or process of reaching a conclusion about something from known facts or evidence
idiom an expression that has a meaning different from its individual words
imagery descriptive words and phrases that re-create sensory experiences for the reader.
irony contrast between appearance and reality
situational irony an outcome that turns out to be very different from what was expected, the difference between what is expected to happen and what actually does.
verbal irony a figure of speech in which what is said is the opposite of what is meant
dramatic irony understood by the audience, but not grasped by the characters in the story
metaphor a comparison of two things that are basically unlike, but have some qualities in common
mood the feeling or atmosphere that a writer creates for the READER
narrator the voice that tells a story. Not the same as the writer
oxymoron a combination of contradictory words that have opposite or very different meanings
onomatopoeia the use of words whose sounds echo their meanings
paradox something (such as a situation) that is made up of two opposite things and that seems impossible but is actually true or possible
personification the giving of human qualities to an animal, object, or idea
plot the series of events in a story
exposition beginning; introduces background, setting, and characters
rising action develops the conflict
climax the point of greatest interest in the story; conflict is usually resolved and the outcome of the plot is clear; usually towards the end
falling action story begins to draw to a close
resolution final outcome
poetic justice the ideal judgment that rewards virtue and punishes vice
point of view the method of narration
first person uses "I." A character in the story
second person the use of "you"
third person not a character in the story
third person omniscent narrator is all knowing
third person limited tells what one character thinks, feels, and observes
protagonist the main character; involved in the main conflect
pun a play on words based on the similarity of sound between the two words with different meanings
setting time and place the action takes place including: geographic location, historical period, season, time of day, and culture
satire is a genre of literature and/or performing arts in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule
simile comparison between two unlike things using the words like or as
style a manner of writing
symbolism a person, place, object, or activity that stands for something beyond itself
theme a message about life or human nature that the writer shares with the reader
tone the writer's attitude toward his or her own subject
understatement creating emphasis by saying less than is actually or literally true; opposite of hyperbole
inciting incident propels action. event that sets story in motion. Makes the rest possible.
almanac an annual publication containing a calendar for the coming year, the times of such events and phenomena as anniversaries, sunrises and sunsets, phases of the moon, tides, etc., and other statistical information and related topics.
appendix supplementary material at the end of a book, article, document, or other text, usually of an explanatory, statistical, or bibliographic nature.
atlas a bound collection of maps.
bibliography a complete or selective list of works complied upon some common principle, as authorship, subject, place of publication, or printer.
dictionary a book giving information on particular subjects or on a particular class of words, names, or facts, usually arranged alphabetically.
encyclopedia a book or set of books or online informational resource containing articles on various topics, usually in alphabetical arrangement, covering all branches of knowledge or, less commonly, all aspects of one subject.
glossary such a list at the back of a book, explaining or defining difficult or unusual words and expressions used in the text.
index a more or less detailed alphabetical listing of names, places, and topics along with the numbers of the pages on which they are more mentioned or discussed, usually included in or constituting the back matter.
table of contents a list that is placed at the beginning of some books. It shows how the book is divided into sections and at which page each section begins.
analyzing to break down and examine the parts of something to better understand it.
annotating annotating is a way of marking your textbook by taking key points from the text. In addition to underlining or highlighting, you should annotate because it will help you understand and remember information.
arguing to present reasons for or against a thing
comparing and contrasting comparing (finding similarities) and contrasting (finding differences) is a process of analysis which helps you to understand things in a greater depth.
comprehending to understand the nature or meaning of; grasp with the mind; perceive.
critiquing a careful judgement in which you give your opinion about the good and bad parts of something (such as a piece of writing or work of art).
finding central idea the main idea is the point of the paragraph. It is the most important thought about the topic. To figure out the main idea, ask yourself this question: What is being said about the person, thing, or idea (the topic)?
giving textual evidence to present a convincing and persuasive analysis, the essay writer must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the text by presenting carefully chosen, pertinent quotations which support each point the essay writer makes.
making inferences inferences are logical deductions made after you gather enough evidence to support your conclusion. You make inferences every day when you predict the outcome of an event or a decision.
paraphrasing paraphrasing is when something is rewritten in the reader's own words.
summarizing summarizing is how we take larger selections of text and reduce them to their bare essentials:the gist,the key ideas, the main points that are worth noting and remembering.
using context clues an author often includes hints,or clues,to help the reader expand vocabulary and grasp the meaning of the passage.
allegory a story, poem, or picture that can be integrated to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.
fiction literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people
realistic fiction a genre of fiction that is set in modern present with human characteristics and is based on the premise that the story's plot could actually happen in real life.
mystery involves the search for answers surrounding an unexplained event
adventure consists of incredible journeys or the struggle to survive
historical fiction a genre of fiction that is set in the past and involves real people, places, or significant events from history.
science fiction a genre of fiction that is set in the future and based on the impact of real, potential, or imagined technology.
dystopian fiction set in a post-apocalypse society or future society in which the laws and morals that govern the people have regressed to the point of repression or loss of human rights.
fantasy a genre of fiction that contains magical elements such as non-existant worlds, talking animals, and other creatures, and objects or people with super powers
nonfiction prose writing that is based on facts, real events, and real people, such as biography or history
parody imitating another work or style of a particular writer, artist, or genre for humorous effect
Created by: cgoodson08
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