26 terms

English Literary Terms

STUDY
PLAY

Terms in this set (...)

Action
Everything that goes on or happens in a story.
Protagonist
the hero of the story; the character with whom the audience most sympathizes.
Antagonist
the person or thing working against the protagonist.
Narrator
the person or character who is telling the story.
Characterization
the method an author uses to reveal or describe characters and their various personalities. there are five ways an author develops a character: what a character says, what a character thinks, what a character does, how other characters react to a character, how the author describes a character physically.
Dialogue
talking that goes on between characters in a story.
Setting
the time period and place the story occurs.
Theme
the subject or message being written about or discussed.
Moral
the lesson an author is trying to teach in a story. Children's stories often have obvious morals such as "Treat others as you would like to be treated"
Style
how the author uses words , phrases, and sentences to form his or hers own ideas. Style is also thought of as the qualities and characteristics that distinguish one author's work from the work of others.
Tone
the overall feeling or effect created by a writer's use of words. The authors tone may be serious, humorous, satiric, and so on.
Mood
the feelings a reader gets from the story: happy, sad, peaceful, ect.
Plot
the primary action of the story. This action is usually made up of a series of events called a plot line
Conflict
the problem or struggle that triggers the action. There are five types of conflict:
Person v. Person: one character in the story has a problem with one or more of the other characters.
Person v. Society: a character has a conflict or problem with society-school, the law, tradition, ect.
Person v. self: a character struggles wit him/herself and has trouble deciding what to do
Person v. nature: a character has a problem with some natural happening: a flood, an avalanche, the bitter cold, ect.
Person v. fate a character has to battle what seems to be an uncontrollable problem.
Exposition
that part of the story (usually at the beginning) which explains the background and setting of the story; the characters are often introduced in the exposition.
Initial Incident
an incident that is the basis of the plot and introduces the conflict.
Rising Action
the central part of the story during which various problems arise, leading up to the climax.
Climax
the highest part (turning point) in the action of a story; the point at which the outcome of the story is determined.
Falling Action
that part of the story which follows the climax or turning point; it contains the action or dialogue necessary to the lead the story to a resolution or ending.
Resolution/Denouement
the end of a play or story-that part in which the conflict is resolved
Point of view
the angle from which a story is told. This depends upon who is telling the story (the narrator)
First Person Protagonist
the protagonist of the story is the narrator. The reader sees the events from the vantage point of only the protagonist, who can reveal his/her feelings, thoughts, and observations, but the reader cannot get into the minds of other characters.
First Person Observer
the story may be narrated by someone who is an observer of the action rather than a main character. The narrator cannot see into the characters' minds and read their thoughts. The point of view must be restricted to what can be seen and what can be inferred. However, the narrator is free to comment on the action and does not have to be an objective witness.
Third Person Omniscient
the narrator is an all-knowing observer who knows what one or more of the characters can see, hear, think, and feel, and who comments on the actions of the characters.
Allusion
an indirect reference to something (literature, history, culture). The reader must be familiar with the subject of the allusion to understand the author's intent.
Irony
an expression in which the author says one thing but means just the opposite.