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PCS English

Literary Terms

TermDefinition
alliteration series of words have the same letter or sound (example: She sells sea shells by the sea shore.)
allegory a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one (Animal Farm is an allegory)
allusion a reference to something else
antagonist a person who is opposed to, struggles against, or competes with another opponent; adversary (example: Jack in Lord of the Flies is an antagonist.)
argument an exchange of opposing views
character a person/animal in a novel
characterization description of a character, can be either what they look like (short, tall, skinning, brown hair) or describe a trait (honest, brave, funny)
citation giving credit to a quotation
claim statement that is true; can either be factual or opinion
conflict a struggle between two opposing forces (examples: man vs. himself, man vs. society, man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. supernatural)
contrast describe the difference between two items
dialect language of people, may be based on location, social status and race
dialogue conversation
dramatic irony reader knows something, but the character in the book does not know
direct characterization the author states a character's trait
evidence used to support a claim
exposition introduce background information on events, characters, setting
external conflict struggle between character and outside force (nature, another character, society)
flashback a section of a literary work that interrupts the chronological presentation of events to relate an event from an early time
foreshadowing hints at an important plot developments to come
hyperbole exaggerates an idea
illusion a reference to something else
imagery appeals to our sense of smell, sight, taste, touch or hearing
indirect characterization we read the words/thoughts/actions of a character; we read descriptions of a character's appearance; we read what other characters are thinking
irony a situation that ends up differently than one would have expected
metaphor comparison of two dissimilar things
mood reader has emotional feelings as they read
motif subject, idea or concept that is present throughout the whole story
narrator person who tells the story
onomatopoeia word whose sound imitates its meaning (example: whoosh, drip, pop)
personification giving human qualities to a non-human object (example: The leaves waved in the wind)
plot the events that make up the story
point of view manner in which the story is narrated (first person - "I", third person - "he" or "she"
propaganda used to influence ideas of society
rhetorical question question that is asked to make a point, but does not need to be answered
setting time and place of a story
simile a direct comparison between two subjects using either "like" or "as"
situational irony when something happens that is different that what is expected
symbol something that stands for something else (example: the conch in Lord of the Flies symbolizes order)
symbolism something that stands for something else
thesis sentence giving main point of essay
theme main point of story
Created by: Ms.Sala