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Basic literary/short fiction terms
Terms in this set (62)
A person or force which opposes the protagonist in a literary work. May take the form of another person, a force of nature, a situation, fate, society, or the protagonist himself.
The main character in a story.
A recurring theme, emblem, or character that some critics think has a common meaning in an entire culture, or even the entire human race.
The group of literacy works a given culture judges to possess special merit.
Any person who plays a part in a narrative.
"Coming of age"
The protagonist is initiated into adulthood through knowledge, experience, or both, often by a process of disillusionment.
A struggle between opposing characters or opposing forces.
The struggle that takes place within a character's own mind, such as the struggle between opposing needs or desires.
The struggles a character encounters with an outside force, such as another character, society as a whole, or natural forces.
The implied meaning of a word that produces emotional implications and associations.
The dictionary meaning of a word.
A term used to describe a narrative or other work of art that takes a specific lesson, conveys moral, or inspires and provides a model for proper behavior.
Words spoken by two or more characters in a story, play, or poem.
A long narrative tale, often of legendary adventures and superhuman heroes.
A start awakening of the true nature of a character or situation through a specific event.
Clearly stated and in great detail, leaving no room for confusion or doubt.
Implied, rather than expressly stated
A didactic tale in which animals assume the roles of human characters.
Narrative based on the imagination of the author.
A literacy genre which is an account or representation of a subject which is presented as fact.
Uses the words "like" or "as" to compare one object or idea with another to suggest they are alike.
The comparison between objects without specifically using the words "like" or "as"
An exaggeration that is so dramatic that no one would believe the statement is true.
A figure of speech in which human characteristics are given to an animal or an object.
A method of narration in which past events are introduced into a present action.
The introduction of specific words, images, or events to suggest or anticipate later events that are central to the action and its resolution.
A diagram, credited to the nineteenth century German novelist and critic Gustav Freytag, that graphically shows the stages of dramatic structure.
Those categories of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter.
Vividly descriptive language that appeals to one or more of the senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste)
Statements or actions contrary to what is expected.
The difference between what we hope for or expect and what actually happens.
The idea that fate, destiny, or a god controls and toys with human hopes and expectations.
A special kind of situational irony when a character with has no information about a situation or else misjudges it, but readers see everything.
The general atmosphere created by the author's words.
The author's attitude toward the writing (their characters, the situation) and the readers.
An acronym for Modern Language Association or the style used to credit quoted or paraphrased sources in the humanities, specifically the liberal arts.
The voice of the person telling the story, not to be confused with the author's voice.
Inconclusive or no specific endings.
The arrangement of events in a narrative or dramatic work.
point of view
The perspective from which a story is told.
first person point of view
When the narrator uses "I"
second person point of view
The least used point of view.
third person point of view
The speaker emphasizes the actions and speeches of others.
Any ordinary writing that is not written in a regular meter or verse.
The natural, manufactured, and cultural environment in which characters live and move, including all the artifacts they use in their lives.
A relatively brief fictional narrative in prose that ranges in length from 500 words.
The way writers assemble words in a work, such as the length and complexity of sentences.
A person, object, image, word, or event that evokes a range of additional meaning beyond and usually more abstract than its literal significance.
Culture or universal symbol
Symbols are generally or universally recognized by a society or culture.
literary or contextual symbol
A setting, character, action, object, name, or anything else in a work that maintains its literal significance while suggesting other meanings.
Symbolic meanings only within context of a specific story.
The central meaning or dominant idea in a literary work.
A characteristic where by the setting, circumstances, characters, dialogue, actions, and outcomes in a work are designed to seem true, lifelike, real, plausible, and probable.
The search for someone or something that when found and brought back will restore fertility to a wasted land, the desolation of which is mirrored by a leader's illness and disability.
To save the kingdom, to win the fair lad, to identify himself so that he may reassume his rightful position, the hero must perform some nearly superhuman deed.
Takes the form of initiation into life-the depiction of an adolescent coming into maturity and adulthood with all the problems and responsibilities this process involves.
Usually combined with any or all the foregoing situational archetypes.
Symbolic of fruition, abundance, and fertility, this character traditionally offers spiritual and emotional nourishment to those with whom she comes in contact. Often depicted in earth colors, has large breasts and hips symbolic of her childbearing capacities.
These are young heroes who, prior to the quest, must endure some training and ritual.
Animal or more usually a human whose death in a public ceremony expiates (makes atones for) some taint or sin that has been visited upon a community.
Figure who is banished from a social group for some crime against fellow man-outcast usually destined to become a wander from place to place.
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