Literary Terms

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40 terms · A list of literary terms from my Englisg class.

Alliteration

The repetition of initial vowel or consonant sounds.

Antagonist

The major character-in a narrative or drama who works against the hero.

Archetype

An original pattern or model from which all other things of the same kind are made.

Atmosphere

The overall aesthetic effect of a work of art.

Autobiography

The story of a person's life written by the person.

Bias

An inclination of temperament or outlook, especially a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment.

Biography

The story or a person's lire written by another person

Character

A person or animal that takes part in the action of a literary work.

Characterization

The act or creating and developing a character by showing or telling what the character looks like, says, or does, as well as the wan other characters react to him or her.

Cliché

A phrase or expression that has become boring from too much use.

Climax

The highpoint of interest or suspense in a novel, story, or play.

Conflict

A struggle between opposing forces. Types are external and internal.

Dialogue

A conversation between characters. Quotation marks are usually used to indicate a speaker's words.

Diction

A writer's choice or words, phrases, sentence structures, and figurative language, which combine to help create meaning.

Euphemism

The substitution of an agreeable inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant

Figurative Language

Writing or speech that is used to create vivid impressions by setting up comparisons between dissimilar things, [examples are metaphor, simile, and personification.

Flashback

A device used in literature to present action that occurred before the beginning or the story.

Foreshadowing

The use of clues that suggest events yet to occur. Helps to create suspense.

Hyperbole

Exaggeration or overstatement.

Imagery

Use in literature to create word pictures for the reader by using details or sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, or movement.

Irony

Literary techniques that portray differences between appearances and reality, expectation and result, or meaning and intention.

Malapropism

The usually unintentionally humorous misuse or distortion of a word or phrase'; especially the use of a word sounding somewhat like the one intended but ludicrously wrong in context

Metaphor

A figure of speech that directly compares two unlike things.

Mood

The feeling evoked in the reader by a literary work or passage. Often can be described in one word such as light-hearted, frightening, or despairing

Narration

Writing that tells a story, or the act of telling a story.

Narrator

The speaker or character that tells a story.

Onomatopoeia

A word that imitates the sound it represents.

Oxymoron

Combination of two seemingly contradictory or opposite words in short phrase.

Personification

A type of figurative language is which a nonhuman subject is given human characteristics

Plot

The sequence of events in a literary work. The four parts are exposition, complication, climax, and resolution.

Point of View

The narrative perspective from which a literary work is presented to the reader. Main types are 1st person, 2nd person and 3rd person.

Protagonist

The central character of a story who serves as a focus for its themes and incidents and as the principal rationale for its development.

Pun

A play on words that have similar sounds but different meanings.

Realism

A nineteenth-century European literary movement that sought to portray familiar characters, situations, and settings in a realistic manner.

Rhyme

A situation in which words sound identical or very similar and appear in parallel positions in two or more lines of poetry.

Setting

The time and place of the action in a work of literature.

Simile

A figure of speech in which the words like or as are used to make a comparison between two basically unlike ideas.

Suspense

A feeling of curiosity of uncertainty about the outcome of events in a literary work.

Tone

The writer's attitude toward her audience and subject.

Understatement

To state or present with restraint especially for effect.

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