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a short statement or poem with a witty turn of thought or a wittily condensed expression


a short tale that illustrates a message or a moral


the traditions, beliefs, and customs of a people


the use of hints or clues in a story to suggest what action is to come


a perception of inconsistency, sometimes humorous, in which the significance and understanding of a statement or event is changed by its context

dramatic irony

the audience or reader knows more about a character's situation than the character does and knows that the character's understanding is incorrect

structural irony

the use of a naïve hero, whose incorrect perceptions differ from the reader's correct ones

verbal irony

a discrepancy between what is said and what is really meant; sarcasm


a story that is only partly true (or completely false) about a real or fictional character. Legends usually include exaggerations and unusual events or circumstances


a comparison of two things that are basically dissimilar in which one is described in terms of the other


a story with supernatural occurrences, which helped early cultures understand themselves

oral tradition

the transference of stories, songs, etc., from one generation to another or from one culture to another


a figure of speech in which an object, abstract idea, or animal is given human characteristics


the central or main character in a story around whom the plot centers


a short saying that states a basic truth about life


a comparison between two different things using either "like" or "as"


an object, person, or place that has a meaning in itself and that also stands for something larger than itself, usually an idea or concept; some concrete thing which represents an abstraction


the central or dominant idea behind the story; the most important aspect that emerges from how the book treats its subject


a serious work, usually a play, in which the main character experiences defeat, brought about by a tragic flaw

tragic flaw

the main defect of the protagonist in a tragedy

tragic hero

the main character in a tragedy; in order to fit the definition, the hero must have a tragic flaw, which causes his or her downfall

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