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English Lit. Terms

English Lit. Terms ENG1D

Point of View The narrative perspective established by the author for telling the story
Narrator The person or the character who tells the story - can be a main charachter, minor charcter or outsider (not to be confused with the author).
First Person A charcater in the story or novel tells his/her/their own story; uses the pronouns "I" "we" "our" and so on to report the actions of the story, limited to his or her experiences, knowledge and bias
Third Person Omniscient A voice outside of the story recounts the action using the third person "he" "she" "they" "it" and so on. Not only can this narrator report action, she/he/ythey can also tell the reader what all the characters are thinking and feeling
Third Person Limited Omniscient Like third person omniscient. The narrator uses "he" "she" "they" etc. but this narrator can only tell what one or some of the characters are thinking or feeling. This narrator remains outside of the story and sees only what an observant person might see.
Third Person Objective This narrator also uses the third person but can only report the actions of the characters.
Protagonist The main character of the story - often the "good guy" or hero/heroine
Antagonist The main character who opposes the protagonist - often the "bad guy"
Round Character A well rounded character who has more than one side
Flat Character A one-sided character with one main characteristic; often a stereotype or caricature ― displays little or no change in character from the beginning to the end of the story
Dynamic Character A character who undergoes a major transition/change in character, personality or perspective
Static Character A character who does not undergo any significant change in character, personality or perspective
Stereotype A character who conforms to a conventional or oversimplified conception or image
Foil A character who contrasts another character ― a foil often contrasts the protagonist and/or is a confidant
Setting The PLACE and TIME of the story ― can be general (e.g., country, region, city, era, season) or specific (e.g., room, particular street corner, date, time of day) ― includes scenery, costumes and props for a play
Universal Setting A setting in which no specific place or time is given ― the story is less likely to become “dated”; focuses the reader’s attention on other aspects of the story
Plot The sequence of events, or the action, of the story ― should have a conflict which is sufficiently intense to create suspense; events should be important to the development of the conflict; incidents should be in keeping with the nature of the characters
Conflict A struggle between two or more opposing forces
Person vs. Person A conflict between individuals
Person vs. Self An internal struggle (often a choice for the protagonist)
Person vs. Nature A person struggles against natural forces
Person vs. Society A person struggles against the momentum of social forces (the demands of a group) and not just one person
Person vs. Technology Conflict between a person and technology
Person vs. the unknown Conflict between a person and an unknown force
Introduction A person struggles against the momentum of social forces (the demands of a group) and not just one person
Inciting Incident An event or occurrence which causes the action to begin
Rising Action The part of the story when the conflict is established, action occurs and complications/crises arise
Turning point The point or event in the story where the protagonist’s choices go well or poorly and the conflict turns, finally, for or against the main character
Climax The point of highest reader tension, interest or emotion; all events lead to this point; the conflict is brought to an end ― may coincide with the turning point
Dénouement The “falling action” ― the events which follow the turning point and bring the story to its conclusion
Conclusion May be very short or non-existent. It can tie up loose ends or indicate what happens to the character after the story has ended.
Foreshadowing A clue given earlier in the story which hints at something that will happen later in the story ― it may create interest or suspense, or it may make the ending more plausible
Flashback The insertion of an earlier event into the time order of a story (i.e., a scene from the past which interrupts a narrative in the present) ― provides background information
Imagery An image is a literal or figurative description of something that is accessible to one (or more) of the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell ― imagery is the use of images in a piece of writing
Simile A comparison of two (often dissimilar) things using “like” or “as” [e.g., She’s as light as a feather.]
Metaphor A comparison of two (often dissimilar) things without using “like” or “as” [e.g., The road was a ribbon of moonlight.]
Personification A comparison of two (often dissimilar) things without using “like” or “as” [e.g., The road was a ribbon of moonlight.]
Alliteration The same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words. [e.g. The baby boy bounced and bumped his bottom.]
Allusion A casual reference to a famous historical or literary figure or event
Atmosphere (or Mood) The general feeling of a piece of writing/literary work ― the combination of elements (setting, character, action, dialogue, mood) that contribute to a reader’s expectations
Hyperbole Exaggerated statements not to be taken literally. [e.g. I’ve seen that movie a million times!]
Idiom A phrase or saying that has a figurative (and sometimes literal) meaning. The figurative meaning is different than the literal meaning.
Onomatopoeia The creation of a word that phonetically imitates, resembles, or suggests the sound that it describes. [e.g. The bees buzzed. The kettle gurgled. The snake went hiss.”
Oxymoron A figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear together and make sense [e.g. jumbo shrimp, crash landing, alone together]
Irony In general ― the perception of a difference between appearance and reality
Verbal Irony The use of words to express a meaning opposite to or different from the words’ literal meaning ― the character who is speaking is aware of this contrast [e.g., a character says, “What a great day for a picnic!” during a storm]
Dramatic Irony The reader knows something that the character(s) does/do not know
Situational Irony Events turn out the opposite of what is expected (reality does not align with expectations).
Diction A writer’s vocabulary – his/her choice of words over others
Inference The process of deriving logical conclusions from premises known/assumed to be true
Bias A slanted viewpoint that prevents a fair and open-minded assessment
Colloquial Language Language that is characteristic of everyday informal speech [e.g., That stuff bugs me. -- instead of the formal -- Those things bother me.]
Parallelism The repetition of the same or similar grammatical structure ― often used for effect in emotional or dramatic passages [e.g., He came, he saw, he conquered.]
Pun The humorous use of words (a play on words) that sound the same, or almost the same, but have different meanings [e.g., You should try to get ahead; everyone else has one.]
Repetition The deliberate reuse of the same word(s) or event(s) to create an effect [e.g., the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth]
Symbolism The practise of representing characters, objects and/or events with symbols ― a symbol is a word that is first presented for its ordinary, or literal, meaning and then for some idea lying behind the ordinary meaning
Theme The author’s main message(s); the central idea about life or that emerges from a work of literature ― there may be more than one theme in a story, novel or play NOTE: theme = topic + insight
Created by: SalmaYassin



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