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40 terms

Literary Terms

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nonfiction
writing that tells about real people, places, or events
autobiography
the writer's account of his or her own life
biography
an account of a person's life written by another person
essay
a brief work of nonfiction that deals with a single subject
fiction
writing that is made up
plot
the chain of related events that take place in a story
conflict
a struggle between opposing forces
exposition
gives background information about characters, conflict, and setting
rising action
where suspense builds because complications arise that make the conflict more difficult for the main characters to resolve
climax
where the reader's interest reaches its highest point
falling action
where the conflict ends
resolution
where loose ends are tied up
foreshadowing
a writer's use of hints or clues to indicate events and situations that will occur later in a narrative
flashback
an account of a conversation, episode, or event that happened before the beginning of a story
dynamic character
A character who grows emotionally, learns a lesson, or alters his or her behavior
static character
one who is simple, with few emotions, remains unchanged throughout
protagonist
Main character, hero or heroine
antagonist
Person or thing opposing the main character
setting
a particular time and place in which the events occur
style
the particular way that a work of literature is written
diction
a writer's selection of language
sentence structure
the length and kinds of sentences used
repetition
the use of the same word or phrase more than once
parallelism
the use of similar grammatical structures, sentence patterns, or figures of speech to express equal or similar ideas
imagery
the use of words and phrases that appeal to the reader's senses
symbol
a term used to designate an object or a process that not only serves as an image itself but also refers to a concept or abstract idea that is important to the theme of the work
theme
the central idea in the work of literature
narrator
the character or voice that relates the events of a story to the reader
point of view
the vantage point from which a story is told
first-person
when the narrator is a character in the story
third-person limited
when the narrator does not participate in the action of the story and knows the thoughts and feelings of only one character
third-person omniscient
when the narrator does not participate in the action of the story and knows the thoughts and feelings of all the characters
mood
the feeling, or atmosphere, that a writer creates for the reader
allusion
an indirect reference to something outside the literature to another well-known literary work
aside
lines whispered to the audience or to another character on stage (implied to be not heard by all the other characters)
soliloquy
a single character on stage thinking out loud (a way of letting the audience know what is in the character's mind)
simile
an expressed comparison between two different things using 'like' or 'as'
metaphor
an implied comparison between two different things; identifying a person or object as the thing to which it is being compared
personification
giving the quality of life to inanimate things
foil
a character in a story that acts in a drastically different way than the main protagonist in order to show the strong differences between the characters