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Literary Terms

Common Terms Used for Literary Analysis

TermDefinition
antagonist Character that causes the most conflict for the protagonist
author Person who wrote the narrative. Not a character in the story.
character People or animated objects that populate the story
climax The highest point of conflict in the story; the point of no return.
conflict the source of tension in the story
connotation the emotional impact or associations with a word
context parts of writing that surround a word or phrase that impact the meaning or effect
denotation the literal, dictionary definition of a word
dialogue spoken words in a narrative, set apart by quotation marks
exposition part of the narrative where the setting is established and the characters and conflict are introduced
external Type of conflict that occurs between a character and another character or outside force
fiction Literary works of imaginative narration
flashback Memory Moment: a jump back to an event that occurred before the beginning of the story
foreshadow Hints or clues as to events that will occur later in the narrative
genre Type of writing or prose: includes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, myths, and more
internal type of conflict that occurs within a character, usually focusing on a difficult decision or dilemma
mood the emotional reaction an author intends the reader to feel
nonfiction works that deal with facts, factual events, and opinions on such matters
plot the series of events and actions in a narrative, driven by conflict
point of view the perspective from which a story is told
protagonist the main character in a story
resolution the part of the narrative where conflicts are brought to a conclusion
setting the time and place in which the narrative occurs
theme the underlying message or motif of the narrative
tone The attitude of the author toward the subject or narrative
Created by: Mrs.Hudeck