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Literary Terms

TermDefinition
allusion the reference to a famous person, place, event, or other work of literature.
climax the highest point of suspense
dialect a form of language as it is spoken in a certain place or among a certain group of people
dynamic character the character that changes a lot in the story
plot sequence of related events that make up a story: it is the action or what happens in the story
resolution the final stage in which loose ends are tied up and the storyis brought to a close
simile a comparison of two unlike things that have some quality in common using like or as
symbol anything that stands for or represents something else
transitions connecting words that let readers know how ideas are related
setting time and place of action of a story, poem, or play
protagonist the main character, the hero, the positive force
narrative the kind of writing that tells a story
Irony a contrast between what is expected and what actually exists or happens
imagery words or phrases that appear to the reader's senses
fiction prose writing that tells an imaginary story
character a person, animal, or imaginary creature that takes part in the action of the literary work
antagonist the person or force that works against the proantagonist
conflict a struggle between 2 opposing forces
flashback a scene in literary work that interrupts the present action to describe an event that took place at an earlier time
genre the term used to identify the major categories of literature
inference a logical guess or conclusion based on evidence and ones own experience
personification the giving of human qualities to an animal, object, or idea
metaphor a comparison of 2 unlike things that have some quality in common
repetition the repeated use of any element of language
short story a work of fiction that can generally be read in one sitting
suspense the feeling of growing tension and excitement felt by a reader
characterisation refers to the techniques a writer uses to create and develop a character
descriptive a picture in words of a scene, a character, or an object
clarify get a clearer understanding
dialogue a conversation between 2 or more persons
figurative language goes beyond dictionary meaning of words to create fresh and original descriptions
foreshadowing refers to writer's use of hints that suggest events that will occur later in the story
main idea the central idea that a writer expresses in his or her work
moral a lesson or guide for living that you can apply to your own life
static character the character that changes little or not at all during the story
summarize to tell briefly in your own words the main idea of the piece of writing, leaving out unimportant details
theme the message about life or human nature communicated by work or literature
complication set in as the characters try to resolve the conflict
exposition introduces the characters and the conflict that they face
mood a feeling created in the reader by the literary work
novel a work of fiction that is longer and more complex than a short story
non fiction prose writing that presents and explains ideas about real people, places, objects, or events
persuasion writing that is meant to make its audience adopt a certain opinion , or perform an action, or do both
point of view perspective from which the story is told
first person the narrator is one of the characters in the story and uses pronouns such as I, me, and we. the reader sees the events of the story and other characters only through the eyes of the narrator.
third person the narrator is not in the story and relates the story using pronouns such as he, she, or it
third person limited the narrator brings us into the mind of only one character
third person omniscient the all knowing point of view. the narrator knows everything about the characters and can see into their mind.
onomatopoeia the use of words that mimic sounds. A string of syllables the author has made up to represent the way a sound really sounds
alliteration repeated consonant sounds occurring at the beginning of words or within words
hyperbole a exaggerated statement used to heighten effect
idiom a expression that has a meaning different from the meaning of its individual words
assonance the repetition of vowel sounds within non-rhyming words
oxymoron a figure of speech in which contradictory ideas or terms are combined
stanza a group of two or more lines in a poem
external conflict man vs man, man vs nature, and man vs society
internal conflict man vs himself
sensory details words or phrases that appeal to the reader's senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell