How can we help?
You can also find more resources in our
Select a category
Something is confusing
Something is broken
I have a suggestion
What is your email?
What is 1 + 3?
Plot, Character, Irony, & Theme literary terms
These are the basic terms to recognize and use to demonstrate understanding of fiction and narrative nonfiction.
Shows actions or gives hints that reveal the personality of a character without directly telling.
Events after the climax, leading to the resolution.
A problem or struggle between a character and someone or something outside of the character - includes man vs man; man vs nature; man vs fate/god; etc.
This character is fully developed - the writer reveals good and bad traits as well as background; we know a lot about the character.
A struggle inside a character's mind about opposing needs, desires, or emotions; man vs self.
Uncertainty or anxiety the reader feels about what is going to happen next in a story; often generated in rising actions
The beginning of a story that introduces the characters, setting, and basic situation (conflict).
The character who works against the protagonist in the story; usually thought of as the "bad guy".
The use of hints and clues to suggest what will happen later in a plot.
A character who grows, learns, or changes as a result of the story's action.
The process of revealing the personality of a character in a story.
A character who is not very well developed; this character seems to possess only one or two personality traits - little or no background is revealed.
Usually at the end of a story where the conflict(s) are solved or the outcome of the conflicts becomes apparent.
The time and place where a story takes place.
A character that does not change from the beginning of the story to the end.
The sequence of events in a story.
A problem between a character and another person or force. May be internal or external.
The turning point in a story.
Events leading up to the climax - these tend to be suspenseful and include foreshadowing.
The writer tells us directly what a character's personality is like.
This is literary technique that portrays differences between appearance & reality (dramatic), expectation & result (situational), or meaning & intention (verbal).
The main idea or meaning of a text. Often, this is an insight about human life revealed in a literary work.
A reference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art
1st Person Point of View
The narrator is a character in the story. ( I, me, my, we, our )
3rd Person Limited Point of View
narrator uses pronouns "he," "she," or "it" to convey the thoughts and feelings of one character only
3rd Person Omniscient Point of View
Omniscient means "all- knowing", and so it is when the narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of every character in the story, narrator still uses pronouns "he," "she," or "it"
A person or an animal in a story, a play, or another literary work.
In this type of irony, facts or events are unknown to a character in a play or a piece of fiction but known to the reader, audience, or other characters in the work
A story that is not true or is made up
Language employing figures of speech; language that cannot be taken literally; all uses of language that imply an imaginative comparison
A category or type of literature (or of art, music, etc.) characterized by a particular form, style, or content.
Description that appeals to the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste).
A figure of speech in which a comparison is implied but not stated, such as "This winter is a bear;" A comparison of two unlike things without using the word like or as.
A person or character who tells a story
writing that tells about real people, places, and events
A figure of speech in which an object or animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes
point of view
the perspective from which a story is told
A comparison using "like" or "as"
A thing that represents or stands for something else, esp. a material object representing something abstract.
A figure of speech in which what is said is the opposite of what is meant; often sarcasm