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Literary Devices

TermDefinition
Short Story a story with a fully developed theme, but shorter than a novel
Plot sequence of events in a story
Setting the time and place a story occurs
Exposition introductory information that gives important background into the story
Rising Action the series of events that lead to the climax of the story
Climax the dramatic high of the story
Falling Action the part after the climax where loose ends of the story are tied up
Resolution the part of the story where the problem is resolved or worked out
Conflict The problem
man vs. self an argument or decision-making process within a character’s mind
man vs. nature the character is challenged by an aspect of nature, such as a storm or an unfriendly environment
man vs. man when a character struggles with another character
man vs. society the character is not in agreement with the written or unwritten rules/laws of his community
Characterization the method a writer uses to reveal the personality of a character in a literary work
Dynamic a character who undergoes an important change
Static a character who does not change throughout the story
Protagonist the hero or main character in a piece of work
Antagonist the person or force who struggles with the protagonist
Point of view The person who tells the story and how it is told
First person where a story is narrated by one character at a time, speaking for and about themselves. It means writing from the “I” point of view.
Third person where a story is narrated from the omniscient (all-knowing) point of view. Here, the he-she form is used.
Theme the message the author is trying to send about life or human nature Imagery: writing that involves one or more of the five senses (hearing, taste, touch, smell, sight). The author paints a picture using a word or group of words.
Suspense a feeling of growing tension and excitement
Flashback referring to an event which took place before the beginning of the story
Foreshadowing a method used to build suspense by providing hints of what’s to come
Allusion a brief reference to a person, place, or event in literature or history
Irony when the opposite of what’s expected happens
Symbol anything that stands for something else
Dialogue a conversation in a piece of literature
Analogy a comparison made to show such a similarity
Metaphor a comparison that shows how two things that are not alike in most ways are similar to another without using “like” or “as”
Simile a comparison that shows how two things that are not alike in most ways are similar to another...using “like” or “as”
Personification when something non-human is given human characteristics
Hyperbole an extreme exaggeration
Euphemism a gentler term used in place of a more offensive one
Pun a word which has two meanings at the same time, often resulting in humor
Epic Poem a long narrative poem telling of a hero’s deeds (narrative = story)
Tragedy A drama in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances
Created by: TimCharette