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Terms in this set (27)
The greatest good for the greatest number of people
The greatest good for the self
Right is determined by absolute standards of
morality as understood through one's common sense intuition. Duty
of non-injury takes priority.
We take the particular situation in hand into account
and attempt to adhere to the mean and avoid excess.
Divine Command Theory
God has commanded it to be so.
As the text's glossary explains, irony comes in four ways: Cosmic, Dramatic, Situational, and Verbal.
A symbol is something which exists in the story and has a
secondary larger meaning.
Motif of light and darkness
Light is suggestive of hope, knowledge, order, and
heaven. Darkness suggests despair, ignorance, chaos, and hell. "Cask of
Amontillado" depicts a descent into darkness. Notice that while the main
character chooses to embrace the darkness and reject the light, the choice does
make him ill (as he is about to finish his task), and fails to provide the great joy he
had hoped to gain (suggesting that revenge may be strongly desired but fails to
satisfy as the vengeful might hope).
This deals with the movement of a character from childhood to
adulthood, innocence to experience, and ignorance to knowledge.
Stream of Consciousness
A style of writing in which the author attempts to
imitate in paper the way people really think. This technique allows the writer the
freedom to follow thoughts rather than strict chronological order in unfolding the
events of the story.
Grace under pressure
The Hemingway belief that in order to give meaning to
life one must demonstrate a calm and mature demeanor while all around the
world is falling apart.
A phrase coined by Gertrude Stein to define those post World
War I writers who lost faith in both religious and secular institutions and tended to
view the world as an absurd place.
Also connected to Hemingway, this character lives up to a code of
behavior and does what is right because he or she believes it to be right, not
because society or authority tells him or her right from wrong.
A character who sacrifices self for the good of another. For
example, in "A Worn Path," Phoenix Jackson sacrifices herself for the good of
A term related to the work of Flannery O'Connor to describe
characters who are not physically ugly, but who have character traits so
unattractive as to make them horrifying.
A sudden revelation or discovery of the truth such as that
experienced by the grandmother in "A Good Man is Hard to Find."
Closely associated with the work of James Thurber, satire is a
humorous attack on the weaknesses and absurdity of a society.
A story with two parallel levels of meaning, one literal and the other
figurative. An allegory is designed to teach a moral lesson. One such example is
"Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Intentional Ambiguity- A technique used by Nathaniel Hawthorne in which the
author suggests possibilities but leaves the decision of what something really
means to the reader.
literary movement of the late nineteenth century, adherents believed
that life should be shown realistically in literature rather than in some idealized
way. Human experience is, naturalists argue, a continual and losing battle
against the forces of nature. Stephen Crane is one well known writer of naturalist
This is a person, group, or thing assigned responsibility for the
perceived faults of a given society. The term has many roots in the ancient world.
In modern times the holocaust is often pointed to as an example of scapegoating
by which 6 millions Jews were killed under direction of Adolf Hitler. Hitler played
on popular sentiment in his country at the time by blaming Jews for the loss of
the first world war and the economic woes of Germany.
In a story this is the presentation of people or things that
appear to be essentially insignificant but later prove to be central to the story. For
example, in the short story, "The Lottery," the piling of the rocks by the boys
seems harmless, but the rocks take on a much more serious meaning later in the
This is simply what happens in a story. It is not everything that could happen,
only what the author wants the reader to know.
This is obviously where a story takes place. Plot, therefore, is location. It is also
time of day, era or historical period, and atmosphere. Notice how for writers such
as Edgar Allan Poe atmosphere is the most important aspect of plot. For a writer
such as William Faulkner location and historical period are more important.
The characters in the story must possess three traits: they must be motivated,
consistent, and believable. The author may reveal these traits in three ways:
through description, through dialogue, and through characters' actions
Narrative manner or point of view
Narrative manner indicates who is telling the story. Authors may choose to have
an uninvolved narrator tell a story. In this case the speaker has the luxury of
being omniscient or all knowing and can reveal the thoughts of any or all of the
characters. The second point of view is through a minor character. This voice can
only report events and comment on them; it cannot know the thoughts of other
characters. The third is the main character. Since the main character can reveal
only his or her own thoughts the point of view is called limited omniscient.
This is the underlying understanding of the intent of the whole story. Theme is
what the story is about, not what happens in the story. Theme should not be
confused with a moral. Short stories are not designed to offer pat answers; they
are more likely to leave the reader with questions than answers.
To discover the theme, look for the central conflict of the story. Conflict can be
internal (character versus self), or external (character versus a larger force such
as nature or society or character versus another character). Most stories will
contain both internal and external conflicts.
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