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recurring idea or central insight mirrored in the story's conflict and characters


simple statement that teaches a simple truth


theme is subtly woven throughout the story's elements


the author tells the reader the theme outright

omniscient point of view

author tells the reader the characters thoughts and motives

limited-omniscient point of view

author gets inside the head of one of the story's characters

first person point of view

author becomes one of the characters


series of events arranged to produce a definite sense of movement toward a specific goal


introduces the setting, characters, and situation

inciting moment

event that sets the conflict in motion

rising action

the main character faces complications in the story


moment of greatest suspense

falling action

follows the crisis, the details of the story come together

final moment of suspense

immediately precedes the denouement



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