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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 arises because of differing values, customs, or circumstances between groups of people


The writer's attitude toward the material and/or the readers.


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


the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning

Situational Irony

occurs when the outcome of a work is unexpected, or events turn out to be the opposite from what one had expected

Dramatic Irony

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

Verbal Irony

The contrast between what is said and what is actually meant.


anything that stands for or represents something else


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


the presentation of material in such a way that the reader is prepared for what is to come later in the work


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


The main idea or meaning of a text. Often, this is an insight about human life revealed in a literary work

Stated Theme

theme which is expressed directly

Implied Theme

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

Recurring Theme

a theme that can be found in different texts, often of the same time period or culture.

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.


a way of life or an idea that has been handed down from the past


practices that are handed down from the past by tradition


specific ideas that people hold to be true

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