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Literary terms you need to understand your high school English midterms


A person or thing fighting against the hero of a story


The highest point (turning point) in the action of a story


The problems and/or complications in a story


The feeling or emotion a word brings to your mind


The dictionary meaning of a word without emotion or feeling connected with the word


Putting yourself in someone else's place and imagining how that person must feel


A piece of writing that gives the author's ideas or point of view about a subject

figurative language

Words or phrases which don't mean what they first appear to mean that are used in a special way to create a special effect


The writer's hints or clues about what is going to happen in a story


A word or phrase that a writer uses to mean the exact opposite of its normal meaning


A person or character who is telling the story


The action of the story that is usually made up of a series of events


The hero of the story


The subject or message being written about or discussed

falling action

The part of a story which follows the climax or turning point leading to the ending of the story


A form of figurative language in which an idea, object, or animal is given characteristics of a person. Ex: The rock stubbornly refused to move.


A form of figurative language in which two different things are compared using "like" or "as" Ex: The car handled like a tank.


A form of figurative language in which two different things are compared without using "like" or "as" Ex. The car was a tank when it came to handling.

rising action

The central part of a story during which various problems arise, leading up to the climax


The time and place in which the action of the story takes place

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