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story, play, or picture in which characters are used as symbols; fable


a reference to something literary, mythological, or historical that the author assumes the reader will recognize


A piece of dialogue intended for the audience and supposedly not heard by the other actors on stage


A characteristic of a literary genre (often unrealistic) that is understood and accepted by audiences because it has come, through usage and time, to be recognized as a familiar technique. For example, the division of a play into acts and scenes is a dramatic convention, as are soliloquies and asides. flashbacks and foreshadowing are examples of literary conventions.


a literary composition in the form of a conversation between two people

Deus ex machina

In literature, the use of an artificial device or gimmick to solve a problem.


a scene or event from the past that appears in a narrative out of chronological order, to fill in information or explain something in the present


An author's use of hints or clues to suggest events that will occur later in the story

In media res

technique of starting a story in the middle and then using a flashback to tell what happened earlier


form of literature in which irony, sarcasm, and ridicule are employed to attack human vice and folly


Speech in a dramatic work in which a character speaks his or her thoughts aloud.


a short poem with fourteen lines, usually ten-syllable rhyming lines, divided into two, three, or four sections


a statement the truth of which is obvious or well known

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