AP Literary Terms (Revised)

That point in a plot that creates the greatest intensity, suspense, or interest; usually the point at which the conflict is resolved
Internal Conflict
involving opposing forces within a person's mind.
External Conflict
A struggle between a character and an outside force
Denouement/ Resolution
the point when the conflict is resolved and remaining loose ends are tied up
A narrative device, often used at the beginning of a work that provides necessary background information about the characters and their circumstances.
Falling Action
Events after the climax, leading to the resolution
A literary work based on the imagination and not necessarily on fact
Inciting Events
the event(s) that triggers the conflict.
A need or desire that energizes and directs behavior
Sociological Novel
emphasizes the influence of economic and social conditions on characters and events and often embodies an implicit thesis for social reform.
Historical Novel
full-length fiction book, using historical facts as its basis for plot or setting, but including imaginary characters and dialogue.
Regional Novel
A novel faithful to a particular geographic region and its people, including behavior, customs, speech, and history.
Novel of ideas
a novel in which the examination of intellectual issues and concepts takes precedence over characterization or a traditional storyline
is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used.
Gothic Romance
A form of novel in which magic, mystery, horrors, and chivalry abound; works having extravagant characters, remote or exotic settings, adventure, magic, chivalry, and love.
is a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood (coming of age),[3] and in which, therefore, character change is extremely important.
Sequence of events in a story
Rising Action
A series of events that builds from the conflict.
The context in time and place in which the action of a story occurs.
is the codified gestures, in which the author tells the story. Along with plot, character, theme, and setting, style is considered one of the fundamental components of fiction
is all the parts are related to one central idea or organizing principle. Thus, unity is dependent upon coherence.
a novel that is extravagently chivarlrous or romantic, it is visionary or impractical.
literally means "beyond fiction". This novel type self-conciously addresses the devices of fiction exposing the fictional illusion.
A moment of sudden revelation or insight
A character or force in conflict with the main character
Emotional release
Direct Characterization
Author directly describes character
Indirect Characterization
Author subtly reveals the character through actions and interactions.
Dynamic Character
A character who grows, learns, or changes as a result of the story's action
Flat Character
A character who embodies a single quality and who does not develop in the course of a story
A character who is in most ways opposite to the main character (protagonist) or one who is nearly the same as the protagonist. The purpose of the foil character is to emphasize the traits of the main character by contrast only
Hamartia (Tragic Flaw)
A character flaw that causes the downfall or death of a person of high rank/status
Excessive pride or self-confidence
a sudden and unexpected change of fortune or reverse of circumstances (especially in a literary work)
Main Character
Round Character
character with many personality traits (many details given). A character who demonstrates some complexity and who develops or changes in the course of a work
Static Character
A character that does not change from the beginning of the story to the end
Stock Character
A character type that appears repeatedly in a particular literary genre, one which has certain conventional attributes or attitudes.
First Person Point of View
a character in the story is actually telling the story himself/herself
An individual's characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting.
Point of View
the perspective from which a story is told
Second Person Point of View
reader becomes the character; uses the pronoun
Third Person Limited
Narrator sees the world through only one characters eyes and thoughts.
Third Person Omniscient
Point of view in which an all-knowing narrator who is privy to the thoughts and actions of any or all characters.
Third Person Objective
The narrator is an outsider who can report only what he or she sees and hears. This narrator can tell us what is happening, but he can't tell us the thoughts of the characters.