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Literary Terms

Literary Terms

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Literary Terms

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  1. Literary Terms PIB English 9 & Honors 10

  2. Plot: a series of related events, each connected to the next • Basic Situation—opening, introduction • Complication—rising action, events leading to the climax • Climax—key scene, turning point in the action • Falling Action—loose ends being tied up • Resolution—”lived happily ever after”

  3. Conflict: struggle • Internal—man v. self • External—man v. man, man v. nature, man v. society, man v. machine, man v. supernatural

  4. Setting: the background against which the action takes place • Geographical location, including topography, scenery, and such physical arrangements as location of windows and doors in a room • Occupations and daily manners of living of the characters • The time period in which the action takes place; ex., epoch in history or time of year • The general environment of the characters, such as religions, mental, moral, social, and emotional conditions

  5. Flashback: a device by which a work presents material that occurred prior to the opening scene of the work • Recollections, narration, dream sequences, reveries

  6. Foreshadowing: preparation of material in a work in such a way that later events are prepared for • A character says something to make us believe something is going to happen; cryptic • In movies and TV, a popular method is using music: the warm fuzzy moment, the ax murderer in the kitchen, the kissy scene

  7. Tone: the attitudes toward the subject and toward the audience implied in a literary work Author puts it in . . .

  8. Mood: the emotional and intellectual attitude of the author toward the subject …reader gets it out

  9. Characterization: the creation of imaginary persons so that they seem lifelike Direct: the writer tells readers outright what the character is like Indirect: readers make inferences and draw conclusions based on textual evidence Speech Appearance Thoughts Others’ feelings Actions

  10. Protagonist: the chief character in a work; contestant of the antagonist

  11. Antagonist: the character directly opposed to the protagonist; rival, opponent, or enemy of the protagonist

  12. Round Character: a character sufficiently complex to be able to surprise the reader without losing credibility Flat Character: a character constructed around a single idea or quality; usually represented by a single statement

  13. Static Character: a character who changes little if at all. Things happen to them without modifying their interior selves Dynamic Character: a character who develops or changes as a result of the actions of the plot

  14. Point of View: the vantage point from which a writer tells a story Omniscient—all knowing • Can see everything • Provides details that are intimate to the character • The storyteller is outside of the story’s action

  15. First Person—”I” or persona • The “I” tells the story • Direct participant in the action • Represents only what “I” sees, hears, knows, things, and feels • Bias: credibility is in question

  16. Third Person Limited—”Zooming in” • Story is told by an outside observer who may or may not be involved in the action • Uses he, she, they pronouns • Plot events are limited to those observed

  17. Narrator: anyone who tells a story

  18. Satire: a work or manner that blends a censorious attitude with humor and wit for improving human institutions or humanity; the satirist attempts through laughter not so much to tear down as to inspire remodeling

  19. Diction: word choice

  20. Theme: a central idea, the subject of the piece • Theme must be expressed in a complete sentence! Theme ≠ Topic Topic: Racism Theme: Racism eats away at the fibers of society and weakens the structure of humanity. Theme = Topic + Opinion

  21. Irony: the reality of a situation is different from its appearance • Verbal—saying something other than what is meant; not as harsh as sarcasm • Dramatic—the audience knows something the characters do not • Situational—a situation that is expected to happen, or that is intended to happen, is not what actually does happen

  22. Ambiguity: the state of having more than one meaning, with resulting uncertainty as to the intended significance of the statement • Teachers strike idle kids • War dims hope for peace • Enraged cow injures farmer with ax • Miners refuse to work after death • Include your children when baking cookies

  23. Symbolism: the use of one object to represent or suggest another

  24. Allegory: a form of extended metaphor in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative are equated with meanings that lie outside the narrative itself