Literary Terms

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A list of literary terms from my Englisg class.


The repetition of initial vowel or consonant sounds.


The major character-in a narrative or drama who works against the hero.


An original pattern or model from which all other things of the same kind are made.


The overall aesthetic effect of a work of art.


The story of a person's life written by the person.


An inclination of temperament or outlook, especially a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment.


The story or a person's lire written by another person


A person or animal that takes part in the action of a literary work.


The act or creating and developing a character by showing or telling what the character looks like, says, or does, as well as the wan other characters react to him or her.


A phrase or expression that has become boring from too much use.


The highpoint of interest or suspense in a novel, story, or play.


A struggle between opposing forces. Types are external and internal.


A conversation between characters. Quotation marks are usually used to indicate a speaker's words.


A writer's choice or words, phrases, sentence structures, and figurative language, which combine to help create meaning.


The substitution of an agreeable inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant

Figurative Language

Writing or speech that is used to create vivid impressions by setting up comparisons between dissimilar things, [examples are metaphor, simile, and personification.


A device used in literature to present action that occurred before the beginning or the story.


The use of clues that suggest events yet to occur. Helps to create suspense.


Exaggeration or overstatement.


Use in literature to create word pictures for the reader by using details or sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, or movement.


Literary techniques that portray differences between appearances and reality, expectation and result, or meaning and intention.


The usually unintentionally humorous misuse or distortion of a word or phrase'; especially the use of a word sounding somewhat like the one intended but ludicrously wrong in context


A figure of speech that directly compares two unlike things.


The feeling evoked in the reader by a literary work or passage. Often can be described in one word such as light-hearted, frightening, or despairing


Writing that tells a story, or the act of telling a story.


The speaker or character that tells a story.


A word that imitates the sound it represents.


Combination of two seemingly contradictory or opposite words in short phrase.


A type of figurative language is which a nonhuman subject is given human characteristics


The sequence of events in a literary work. The four parts are exposition, complication, climax, and resolution.

Point of View

The narrative perspective from which a literary work is presented to the reader. Main types are 1st person, 2nd person and 3rd person.


The central character of a story who serves as a focus for its themes and incidents and as the principal rationale for its development.


A play on words that have similar sounds but different meanings.


A nineteenth-century European literary movement that sought to portray familiar characters, situations, and settings in a realistic manner.


A situation in which words sound identical or very similar and appear in parallel positions in two or more lines of poetry.


The time and place of the action in a work of literature.


A figure of speech in which the words like or as are used to make a comparison between two basically unlike ideas.


A feeling of curiosity of uncertainty about the outcome of events in a literary work.


The writer's attitude toward her audience and subject.


To state or present with restraint especially for effect.

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