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a struggle between opposing forces

External Conflict

a character struggles against some outside force: another character, society as a whole, or some natural force

Internal Conflict

a problem or struggle within a character

Cultural Conflict

a struggle that occurs when people with different cultural expectations or attitudes interact


the quality of something (an act or a piece of writing) that reveals the attitudes and presuppositions of the author


the feeling created in a reader by a literary work or passage


a contrast between what is expected and what actually exists or happens

Situational Irony

a contrast between what is expected and what really happens

Dramatic Irony

when a reader is aware of something that a character isn't

Verbal Irony

exists when someone knowingly exaggerates or says one thing and means another


an object, activity, place, or person that stands for something beyond itself


a transition (in literary or theatrical works or films) to an earlier event or scene that interrupts the normal chronological development of the story


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


Uncertainty or anxiety the reader feels about what is going to happen next in a story


a message about life or human nature that the writer shares with the reader

Stated Theme

theme is stated directly

Implied Theme

when the theme is not directly stated in the story; the reader must infer

Recurring Theme

the theme is presented in more than one piece of literature

Universal Theme

an idea that is repeated across many cultures and throughout many time periods

Author's Perspective

Unique combination of ideas, values, and beliefs that influences a writer's outlook on a topic.


an inherited pattern of thought or action


the customs and practices passed from one generation to the next


something believed;an opinion or conviction

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