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Literary Devices I: Short Story Devices


main character


the villain of the story

flat character

2 dimensional character; simple

round character

complicated character

static character

does not change through out the story

stock character

cartoon; prototype character; cliche character


an object that stands for an idea


when the whole story is a metaphor


a reference to something outside the story


when an object is given human characteristics


compares; uses "like" or "as"


compares; does not use "like" or "as"


a character tells us

dramatic method

narrator shows us


the narrator tells us


regional speech patterns


general idea; prevailing conflicts


emotional atmosphere created for the reader


attitude that the narrator has towards the characters

dramatic irony

audience knows something that the characters do not

situational irony

when the author sets you up for something and something different happens

cosmic irony

when the universe plays tricks

verbal irony

when a speakers says one thing but means the opposite (sarcasm)

socratic irony

pretending to be naive


describes setting or character

initial conflict

the main conflict of the story

rising action

action that contributes to the conflict


building to the finale of the story

falling action

the result of the climax


the solution/resolution


hints on what will happen next in the story

chronological order

a series of events in the way they happen


a scene from a past event that had happened

in media res

in the middle of the story

deus ex machina

a plot device where by a seemingly unsolved problem is resolved by introducing a new character, event, ability, or detail to the story

dynamic character

the character that changes

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