Literary Terms


Terms in this set (...)

topic of the book, what its about
the individual or actor in a story or drama who creates or carries out the events of the plot
an individuals way of looking at, understanding, or presenting his or her experience, the position which the narrator sees and tells the story
sentence structure
the attitude, feeling or mood that the words, phrases and voice of the narrator or the work itself give to the reader i.e. sarcastic, depressed, frustrated, optimistic etc. usually described by an adjective
unreliable narrator
a narrator whose words the reader cannot take at face value; the reader must infer truth in the story
taken from a story or document, used to prove thesis
what will be written about
the feeling something is written with
voice (in writing and narrative)
the way the narrator sounds, the voice may be strong, have lots of originality, might be clear...also, the "narrative voice" a student uses in his or her essays
a story told by a narrator
main character of a story
point of view
an individuals way of looking at, understanding, or presenting his or her experience, the position which the narrator sees and tells the story
first person
a narrator who tells the story from his or her point of view using the pronouns "I" and "me", the narrator may be a character in the story itself or may be an observer
second person
a narrator that addresses the reader and narrator collectively as "you"
third person
a narrator who may be an outside observer and refers to characters in the third person (he, she, they) this character may or may not be able to describe other characters thoughts
the concrete, dictionary definition of a word, for example, the literal meaning of a conch shell is a chitinous protective structure an organism creates for both shelter and defense in Lord of the Flies, Golding embodies the shell with a symbolic meaning as well
a story which can be interpreted on a symbolic or metaphorical level as well as a literal one, while "The Tortoise and the Hare" is literally, a story about a lazy rabbit who is beaten in a foot race by a tortoise, allegorically, it's a tale about the power of persistence and humility over arrogance and laziness, George Orwell's Animal Farm is literally, a novel about two pigs who battle over different ideas for running a farm; allegorically, the story represents the politics of the Russian Revolution
come up with an idea or thoughts
a device a writer uses to give hints of what's to come "The leaves fell early this year" opens Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms and foreshadows an early death; Luke Skywalker seeing a glimpse of himself in Darth Vader's helmet foreshadows the revelation of Darth Vader as his father
personal thoughts on evidence or something that happens
a recurring image or idea in a work designed to present a main theme or idea in a story i.e. the ducks or Holden's hunting hat in Catcher in the Rye, suggests something but isn't always a symbol
the main idea in a work of literature i.e. independence of the human spirit, beauty comes from within the self, the loss of innocence, usually expressed in a sentence or phrase - not just one word.
the date, time, place in which a story takes place
word choice
metaphorical or symbolic interpretation, the word "heart" is literally an internal organ that pumps blood; figuratively, it suggests love, romance, desire
giving inanimate objects animate qualities for example, "The wind moaned over our heads" or "the chair sighed under the weight of the backpack"
taking notes, underlining, etc.
analytical writing
writing to prove a point
like/ as description
when a writer refers to another person, place, idea, work of literature etc. with which he assumes the reader's familiarity i.e. "That David Copperfield kind of crap."
the person or force creating conflict or an obstacle for the protagonist
the character or voice that narrates the story- NOT the author
the atmosphere or vibe an author creates through description, describe a mood with adjectives: eerie, joyful, somber, cheerful, grim, suspenseful etc. in Lord of the Flies, Golding manipulates the mood of the island as the story progresses to underscore the darker themes of his novel
a concrete object which has a figurative as well as a literal meaning, for example, literally, a dove is a white bird; symbolically, it's a representation of peace
this may be verbal, dramatic, or situational, when you expect a certain outcome or response, and the opposite occurs
topic sentence
introduction sentence, sets scene for rest of the paragraph/essay
personal narrative
an autobiographical essay written in the first person, that narrates a significant event, moment, experience, insight from the writers life, always first person
a comparison description without using like or as
narrative frame
the structure when a story begins and ends in the present, while the main part of the story occurs in flashback