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Literary Elements

TermDefinition
protagonist the main character or the one most central to the action of the story
antagonist the person, thing, or force working against the protagonist
author's purpose the author's reason for creating a work
character a person, animal, or imaginary creature that takes part in the action of a story
characterization the techniques an author uses to develop the personality of a character in a literary work
direct characterization the author tells you what to feel or think about a character
indirect characterization the author gives you information about a character through actions, speech, thoughts, feelings, and interactions that allow the reader to form an opinion
main character the most important characters
minor character less important---they interact with the main characters and one another, but readers don't know much about them
static characters characters that stay the same throughout the story
dynamic characters characters that change from beginning to end---often they will learn something
dialogue the words that characters speak---moves the plot along and reveals a lot about characters
dialect a form of language that is spoken in a particular place by a particular group of people
mood the feeling that the work gives to readers
plot the sequence of events in a story
exposition the first part of plot---setting, characters, and background information are all introduced
inciting incident the event that introduces the central conflict
rising action a series of conflicts or struggles that build the story towards its climax---tension rises
climax the high point or turning point of the story---the last big event dealing with the conflict
falling action the action that begins to settle the conflict
resolution the ending---brings the story to a satisfactory close
conflict the problem of the story---the action is centered around it
person vs. person a problem with another character
person vs. society a problem with the laws or beliefs of a group of people
person vs. nature a problem with the environment
person vs. self a problem deciding what to do or think
person vs. fate a problem that seems to be uncontrollable
point of view the perspective from which a story is told
first person point of view the story is told by one of the characters
third person point of view the story is told by a narrator who is not a character in the story
setting the time and place in which the action of a story occurs
symbol a person, place, thing, or event that is used to represent something else
theme the statement or lesson about life that they author wants to convey to the reader
genre the category or type of literature
foreshadowing the author gives hints or clues about hat might happen in the future
flashback the author interrupts the sequence of events in the story to tell about something in the past
hyperbole extreme exaggeration for effect
metaphor a comparison of two unlike things without using like or as
simile a comparison of two unlike things using like or as
alliteration words in a series that begin with the same sounds
onomatopoeia words that imitate the sounds they describe
personification when human characteristics are given to animals or objects
tone the author's attitude toward the subject matter or the reader or audience
Created by: teamtriumph
 

 



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