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Literary Terms

TermDefinition
Allusion A reference to historical or fictional characters, places, or events, or to other works. Pulls meaning into text from external sources.
Characterization The way which a character is described.
Flat Character One outstanding trait or feature. Recognized immediately
Round Character Much more complex and is shown with more detail. Capable of surprising reader.
Protagonist Main character in story
Antagonist Character who blocks or opposes protagonist
Direct Characterization Is overt; described directly
Indirect Chracterization Is revealed by characters thoughts, words or actions.
Foil A character used to contrast another character
Diction A writer's or speaker's choices of words
Denotation The literal, dictionary defintion
Connotation The associations and emotions a word suggests
Flashback A scene that interrupts the present action of the plot to "flash backward" and tell what happened at an earlier time
Foreshadowing Clues that will hint at what will happen later in the story.
Hyperbole A figure of speech using deliberate exaggeration to express emotion or create a comic effect.
Imagery Language that appeals to the senses. Sight, smell, touch, taste or sound
Irony A contrast or discrepancy between expectation and reality
Verbal Irony Occurs when words say one thing and mean another
Situational Irony Opposite of what you expect or were led to believe
Dramatic Irony Occurs when the reader knows something important that a character doesn't know
Metaphor A figure of speech in which things were spoken or written as if they were another
Motif Anything repeated over and over throughout a story, lending unity and suggesting thematic meaning
Oxymoron A figure of speech combining contradictory ideas
Personification A figure of speech in which non-human objects or abstract ideas are given human qualities or action
Point of View Viewpoint from which the story is seen or told
First Person The story is told by one of the characters in story
Third Person Omniscent All- knowing. Reveals the thoughts and feelings of several major characters
Third Person Limited Reveals thoughts and feelings of just one character
Third Person Objective/ Camera Doesn't enter the mind of any character. Describes events from the outside i.e. appearances, language
Rhyme The repetition of similar or duplicate sounds at regular intervals
Alliteration The repetition of beginning consonant sounds in words close to each other.
Assonance Repetition of similar vowels followed by different consonant sounds in words close to each other
Consonance Occurs when rhymed words or phrases have the same consonant sounds but a different vowel
Setting The time and place in which an action of a story or play takes place.
Simile A figure of speech that compares two things indicated by some connective, usually "like, as, then, resembles"
Subject The abstract topic the writer addresses in a piece of fiction
Symbol A person, place, thing, or event that stands for both itself and for something beyond itself.
Theme What the author is saying about his/her subject generally a statement about life or human nature that the reader learns along with the protagonist.
Tone The attitude a writer or speaker takes towards his/her subject, audience or both
Understatement Opposite of hyperbole; a figure of speech that says much less than is really meant, a form of irony
Created by: lizgardner