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Literary Arsenal. As we journey through literature together this year, we will come upon both foes and friends, just as all adventurers do. Therefore, we will need to do the following to gain the most from our epic odyssey:

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Literary arsenal
Literary Arsenal

  • As we journey through literature together this year, we will come upon both foes and friends, just as all adventurers do. Therefore, we will need to do the following to gain the most from our epic odyssey:

  • Build our arsenal of literary weapons to help us fend off the monsters of confusion, dragons of superficiality, and barbarians of boredom

  • Select one character in each of the novels and track his or her odyssey, frequently comparing it to our own

  • Record the achievements, conquests, trials and tribulations of our journey and those of the characters

  • Support each other and celebrate obliterating our foes

Point of view
Point of View

Definition: the vantage point from which the writer has chosen to tell the story

3rd Person—Limited

The narrator, who plays no part in the story, zooms in on the thoughts and feelings of just one character. With this point of view, the reader observes the action through the eyes and with the feelings of this one character.


Definition: the process of revealing the personality of a character in a story

Direct characterization
Direct Characterization

Definition: the writer tells readers what kind of person a character is

Indirect characterization
Indirect Characterization

Definition: the process of revealing the personality of a character through actions, speech, other characters, and unspoken thoughts in a story

Static character
Static Character

Definition: one who does not change much in the course of the story

Dynamic character
Dynamic Character

Definition: one who changes as a result of the story’s events

Flat character
Flat Character

Definition: one who has one or two traits, and these can be described in a short phrase

Round character
Round Character

Definition: one, who like a real person, has many different character traits, sometimes contradictory


Definition: Reference to a statement, a person, a place, or an event from literature, history, religion, mythology, politics, sports, science, or pop culture.


Definition: the main character in the story


Definition: person or thing with whom or what the protagonist struggles


Definition: a figurative use of language in which a comparison is expressed without the use of a comparative term like “as,” “like,” or “than.”


Definition: a directly expressed comparison; a figure of speech comparing two objects, usually with “like,” “as,” or “than.”


Definition: the central idea of a piece of literature; a universal truth; what the author is trying to tell you about life


Definition: a form of paradox that combines a pair of contrary terms into a single expression


The time, place, and environment in which the action takes place.

Story structure
Story Structure

The arrangement or framework of a sentence, paragraph, or entire work.



A long narrative POEM in elevated STYLE, presenting characters of high position in a series of adventures

Epic characteristics:

--the HERO is a figure of imposing stature, of national or international importance, and of great historical or legendary significance;

--the SETTING is vast in scope, covering great nations, the world, or the universe;

--the action consists of deeds of great valor or requiring superhuman courage

--supernatural forces—gods, angels, and demons--interest themselves in the action and intervene from time to time;

--a STYLE of sustained elevation and grand simplicity is used; and

--the epic poet recounts the deeds of his heroes with objectivity.

Structure cont
Structure Cont.

Epic Structure:

--the poet opens by stating his theme,

invokes a Muse to inspire and instruct him,

and opens his narrative in medias res—in the middle of things—giving the necessary exposition in later portions of the epic;

--he includes CATALOGS of warriors, ships, armies;

--he gives extended formal speeches by the main characters;

--he makes frequent use of the EPIC SIMILE.


Verbal: a writer or speaker says one thing but really means something completely different

Situational: occurs when there is a contrast between what would seem appropriate and what really happens or when there is a contradiction between what we expect to happen and what really does take place

Dramatic: occurs when the audience / reader knows something important a character in a play or story does not know


Endowing non-human objects or creatures with human qualities or characteristics


A person, place, thing, or event that stands for itself or something else


Adjective or descriptive phrase that is regularly used to describe a person, place, or thing.

Foil character
Foil Character

A character used to contrast another character in a story.


The use of clues to hint at events that will occur later in the plot.


A way of speaking that is characteristic of a particular region or a particular group of people.


The point of highest interest in a literary work

Author s purpose
Author’s Purpose

An author’s purpose is the reason an author decides to write about a specific topic. Then, once a topic is selected, the author must decide whether his purpose for writing is to inform, persuade, entertain, or explain his ideas to the reader.


All the meanings, emotions, and associations that have become attached to some words.


The literal dictionary definitions of a word.


A writer’s attitude toward material and/or his/her readers.

Rising action
Rising Action

Chain of events that takes place as the main character struggles to achieve his or her goal. Conflict that propels (advances) the plot.

Falling action
Falling Action

Events leading to the resolution.


Events following the climax in which any remaining issues are resolved.