How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

literary prose terms

STUDY
PLAY
plot
a series of events that the author creates that build upon one another (meant to entertain)
simple narrative account
non-fiction, chronological list of events (police report), purpose is to tell what happens
plotless short story
fiction, sole purpose is to entertain the reader, describes characters in a situation; does not develop or resolve a conflict
in media ras
story begins at middle; then goes back and fills the reader in through flashbacks and other forms of exposition
frame story
a story within a story
typical plot structure
exposition; complication; technical climax; resolution; conclusion
exposition
background, character, and setting information given; where conflict is introduced
complication
conflict is developed(may use suspense and foreshadowing)
suspense
anticipation for the outcome of events
foreshadowing
a hint at later events
conflict
produces and propells plot;interplay between opposing elements
protagonist vs. self
internal struggle
protagonist vs. others
external struggle with people, society
protagonist vs. enviornment
external struggle with nature
technical climax
turning point of plot, protagonist has the opportunity to change, conflict begins to come to an end
dramatic climax
not related to plot structure; point of greatest interest or intensity; subjective
resolution
events that come after the technical climax; works out the decision that was made during the technical climax
conclusion
the final events of a stories plot
setting
represented time and place in a story
functions of setting
to help in understanding of the characters and their actions; to help create mood and atmosphere; to facilitate plot development by being involved in the conflict
pathetic fallacy
when enviornment parallels the characters mood or feelings
character
a fictional personality created by the author
characterization
technique used by writers to create a reveal characters (consistency and credibility are essential)
expository character revelation
straight-forward mannar of telling the reader about a character; less attention-getting
dramatic character revelation
characterizing through thoughts, dialouge, and action, less quick but more attention-getting
motivation
the reasons that cause the characters to act the way they do
protagonist
main character in a work of fiction; often sets the plot into motion
antagonist
person or thing working against the protagonist
round character
a well described character; whose thoughts and actions are clearly revealed throughout the story
flat character
a character who is not well described
dynamic character
a character who grows, learns, or changes from the way they were at the beginning to the story
static character
a character who resists or refuses to change by the end of the story
foil character
a character who contrasts in some important way with an important character
consistent character
a character whose speech, actions, and thoughts are what is expected by the reader (all good characters are this)
stock character
a type of character who is in stock in a particular type of story
stereotyped character
a character created to a widely held (often narrow-minded) idea; has no individuality and is not well developed
point of view
the relationship between the narrator and the story's characters and events
narrator
the teller of the story
first person
the narrator is a character in the story
third person objective
the narrator is not a character in the story and reports only what can be seen and heard
third person limited omniscient
the narrator is not a character in the story and reports not only what can be seen and heard, but also the thoughts and feelings of one of the characters
third person omniscient
the narrator is not a character in the story and reports not only what can be seen and heard, but also the thoughts and feelings of all of the important characters
theme
idea of a literary work that is a general truth or commentary about life
guidelines to stating theme
must be complete sentence, must be a general truth about life, brought out throughout the entire story
mood
the readers state of mind at the end of the story
atmosphere
the general feeling of the story usually set by the setting
style
the way the writer writes (with diction, syntax)
diction
word choice
syntax
sentence structure
tone
the narrator's attitude towards the characters, events, or audience, conveyed by authors words
symbolism
using something concrete to represent something abstract; represents idea, quality, concept or condition
irony
a contrast between the way things are and the way they appear to be
verbal irony
a difference between what is said and what it is meant; could be sarcasm
dramatic irony
when the reader knows something the character is not aware of
situational irony
when the outcome of events is not expected (twist in the plot)
immediate setting
where most of the actions take place
absent setting
setting that you only hear about never actually visit in the story