Character who changes, learns, or grows over the course of a story.
Character that shows no significant change, growth, or learning.
Character that is well developed; complex and multi-faceted; realistic.
Character that exhibits only one or two personality traits.
sometimes used to refer to the protagonist of a story, classical hero is mortal with admirable characteristics such as intellect, physical strength, and mortality
Protagonist who has pronounced personality or character defects or eccentricities which are not usually associated with the hero archetype; reader cares what happens to him or her
Character who serves as a contrast to a main character; accentuates the characteristics of the main character
Character, theme, or plot pattern that is recognizable because it recurs in literature, myth, floklore, etc.
Often, but not always, used at the beginning of a work, provides background information about the characters and their circumstances; explains what has gone on before, the relationships between the characters, and the development of theme, and introduction of conflict.
also called the catalyst; this is the point in the story when the protagonist encounters a problem that begins the conflict.
Sturggle between opposing forces in a literary work
Struggle between the protagonist and some character or force outside himself
Struggle with the protagonist's own conscience, morals, values, ideals, etc.
Complications to the conflict that lead to the climax.
A point in the plot when the protagonist needs to take an action or make a decision that will determine the ultimate outcome of the story
Point of greatest tension in the plot
What happens after the climax, the falling action; some analysts include the resolution, others refer to the two as separate concepts
How the story ends (may not feel resolved at all)
Resolution that does not feel resolved; there is a sense of ambiguity about it.
in medias res
Literally "in the middle of things"; applied when a story begins midaction wiht no exposition (reader gains background information later in the story)
dues ex machina
Term borrowed from drama, literally means "god from the machine"; applied when a writer inserts some force or character not previously introduced in the story to "save" the protagonist in the end
Hints or clues of something to come later in a plot
Section of literary work that interrupts the forward chronological sequence of events to relate an event from an earlier time
Secondary plot that occurs alongside the main plot
Sense of anxiety a reader feels as a plot unfolds; a mixture of doubt and hope
point of view
The vantage from which a work is narrated
The story is told in the voice of a character in a story
third person limited
A narrator tells the story about others, with limited "vision"
third person omniscient
A narrator tells the story about others, revealing actions, thoughts, and feelings of the characters
The speaker in a story; the voice telling the tale
Official title of one who writes a play
Likened to "thinking aloud"; one character is speaking his/her thoughts on stage with no real intended audience
One character speaks a line (or lines) to the audience (or another character) while the rest of the characters on stage are not meant to hear it
One character directly addressing the audience
A playwright's parenthetical directions for movement and gestures to accompany dialogue; may also include directions dealing with attitude or facial expressions
A playwright's directions for position of actors on stage, the scenic background, the props and costumes, and the lighting and sound effects
Fancy way of saying "list of characters in the play"
Repetition of initial consonant sounds
Repetition of internal vowel sounds
Repetition of final consonant sounds
Words that sound like the idea or thing they represent
Lines of poetry that are musically pleasant to the ear
Lines of poetry that are musically unpleasant or discordant to the ear
words or phrases that are not intended to be interpreted literally
Words or phrases with opposite ideas or meanings are balanced against each other.
Spoken to a person who is absent or imaginary, or to an object or abstract idea
An elaborate extended metaphor
Substitution of a mild or less negative word or phrase for a harsh or blunt one, as in the use of "passed away" or "no longer with us" instead of "dead"; "with child" or "in the family way" instead of "pregnant"
Opposite of euphemism, the usage of intentionally harsh or vulgar phrasing instead of a polite one
A deliberate and purposeful exaggeration
An expression whose meaning cannot be interred from the meanings of the words that make it up; meaning is culturally dependent
A positive is stated by negating its opposite; for example, no small victory, not a bad idea, not unhappy. It is a form of an understatement
A comparison of two seemingly unlike things that does not use like or as
Story with two or more levels of meaning-literal and symbolic
example: George Orwell's Animal Farm
A story written to be performed on stage by actors
Brief story told to present a moral or practical lesson; often features animals as main characters
highly imaginative work that contains elements not found in real life
Story, usually for children, about elves, hobgoblins, or other magical creatures
Form of humor based on exaggerated and improbable situations; relies more on with than on believable plot or characters
Narrative in which one of more character tells a story (or multiple stories) "sandwiched" within a framing story
Traditional myths or legends, usually anonymous in terms of authorship, passed from generation to generation in a culture
Relies on implausible events and sensational action for its effect; features stereotyped flat characters and overworks emotion
An anonymous traditional story, rooted in a particular society, that serves to explain the mysteries of nature and/or the society's beliefs and customs
Another word for "story"
An extended work of prose fiction
roman a clef
"novel with a key"; another phrase for allegory
"novel of personal development"; concerned with the development of the protagonist's mind, spirit, and character from childhood to adulthood
First person narrative progresses in the form of letters, journals, or diaries
Depicts in realistic, often humorous detail the adventures of a roguish hero of low social degree living by his or her wits in a corrupt society
Short simple tale from which a moral lesson is drawn
imitation of a work of literature, art, or music, for amusement and/or instruction
ridicules human weakness, vice, or folly in order to expose or correct it
Tells about imaginary events, people, places, incorporating science and technology
Humorously outlandish story intended to entertain and amuse
True story of someone's life as told by someone other than the subject
True story of someone's life as told by that person
Writing intended to objectively and informatively report facts
Short, tightly focused nonfiction work
An essay that attempts to analyze a work of fiction with the goal of examining how that work achieves its effects
An essay that seeks to convey a specific impression about a person, place, or object
An essay meant to explain and provide information
An essay that tells a story, such as a personal experience essay
An essay that attempts to convince the reader to agree with the writer about a point or argument
Type of autobiographical writing generally a chronological record of events, thoughts, feelings, reflections
Similar to biography; a memoir is a short biographical work, usually centered on the author's experience with a certain event, person, or time period in life
Intended to amuse the reader; no terrible disaster occurs; ends happily for the main characters
Relies mostly on verbal wit
Generally associated with physical action
Sometimes referred to as a "comedy of errors"; involves a love affair that meets with various obstacles but overcomes them to end in a union
Work in which the main character is someone of high status who has some personality flaw or makes some error in judgment that causes him or her to suffer reversal of fortune, and the protagonist eventually recognizes his or her responsibility for the tragic outcome
Any work in which someone experiences a major downfall/loss that could have been prevented if the protagonist hand't made some error in action of judgment
Story with an idealistic outcome in which good overcomes evil, love conquers all, the hero saves the day; often but not always, involves a romantic love affair
The main character
Character or force that exists in conflict to the protagonist
Occurs when a writer tells the reader what a character is like
Occurs when a writer shows the reader what a character is like through the character's words, actions, thoughts, and the way other characters respond to him/her
one word is substituted for another with which it is closely associeated.
A brief phrase that combines two paradoxical ideas or things; for example, brawling love, loving hate, serious vanity, sick health
Nonhuman things or abstract ideas are given human attributes
A play on the meanings and/or sounds of words
A comparison of two seemingly unlike things that uses comparative words like or as
Anything (word, phrase, person, action) that represents itself but also stands for a more abstract idea
A part is used to designate the whole or the whole is used to designate a part. for example "all hands on the deck"
Occurs when a word (usually a verb) has the same grammatical relation to two or more other words, but a different meaning in each application, for example "Mr. Pickwick TOOK his HAT and his LEAVE" or "both the TEA and the SYMPATHY were LUKEWARM"
Descriptive language that relies on at least one of the five senses
Sight, vision (shape,size,color,mass,etc.)
Touch, feel (weight,surface,texture,etc.)
Scent, aroma, smell, stench
One sensory experience is described in terms of another sensory experience, a form of figurative language; for example: hearing colors or seeing sounds
An indirect reference to a well-known work of art, literary work, person, place, event, etc
Something that is not in its correct time period; for example, a clock striking in Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, although the actual Romans didn't have clocks
Repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive lines/sentences
Another word for "comparison"; saying something is analogous to something means that it is similar to, or easily compared with, that thing
A brief story about an interesting or amusing event; meant to make a point
A general truth or observation about life, stated concisely; for example, "a penny saved is a penny earned"