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Literary Terms. Short Stories- English I Honors 2010-2011. Characters. Every person or animal in a story. Round Characters: a character in fiction whose personality, background, motives, and other features are clearly defined by the writer.

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Literary Terms

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literary terms

Literary Terms

Short Stories- English I Honors


  • Every person or animal in a story.
    • Round Characters: a character in fiction whose personality, background, motives, and other features are clearly defined by the writer.
    • Flat Characters: a literary character whose personality can be defined by one or two traits.
  • The central character in a story or drama. The audience should sympathize with the protagonist.
  • A person or force that opposes the central character in a story or drama.
  • The act of developing a character; the method by which character traits are revealed.
  • The time and place a story takes place. It can include time of day, week, year, or time in history. It can be a very specific, or a very general place as well.
external conflict
External Conflict
  • A struggle between a character and a force outside of that character.
    • Man vs. Man- two people struggling.
    • Man vs. Nature- a person struggling with some aspect of the natural world.
    • Man vs. Technology- a person struggling with some aspect of technology.
    • Man vs. Society- a person struggling with his or her society.
internal conflict
Internal Conflict
  • A struggle within a character.
    • Man vs. Self
point of view
Point of View
  • The vantage point or perspective from which the story is told.
    • First person: narrator is a character IN the story. He or she can reveal only personal thoughts and feelings.
    • Third person objective: narrator is an outsider who can report only what he or she hears or feels.
    • Third person limited: narrator is an outsider who sees into the minds of one of the characters.
    • Third person omniscient: narrator is an all-knowing outsider who can tell what multiple characters are thinking or feeling.
  • Takes place when a scene is interrupted to show an event that happened in the past.
  • The central idea or insight about life that a writer wishes to share with the reader.
  • A style of writing that uses humor to criticize people, ideas, or institutions in hopes of improving them.
  • When a person, place, event or object has a meaning itself but suggests other meanings as well.
    • Red rose= love
    • Darkness= evil
  • The use of clues by the author to prepare readers for what will happen in a story.
  • The atmosphere or feeling created in the reader by a literary work or passage.
    • Example: If you are watching a horror movie, you would have a different feeling than you would if you were watching a love story.
  • The plan of action in a story. Includes:
    • Exposition
    • Rising Action
    • Climax
    • Falling Action
    • Resolution
  • The way in which an author begins a piece of fiction. In the exposition, typically the characters and setting are described.
rising action
Rising Action
  • All the events in a piece of fiction which take place after the exposition and before the climax.
    • The complications and twists in a story meant to build suspense or interest for the reader.
  • The point of highest interest or intensity in a piece of fiction. This is where the plot begins to change.
    • A character makes a decision, or an event takes place to change/further the course of action in the story.
falling action
Falling Action
  • The logical result of the climax.
  • The effect of the events taking place during the climax. (If the climax is a cause, the falling action is an effect of that cause.)
  • The outcome of a piece of literature.
    • Also known as the Denoument. 
static character
Static Character
  • A character that does not undergo any type of change throughout the course of a literary work.
dynamic character
Dynamic Character
  • A character that does undergo a change during the course of a literary work.
  • A conversation between characters in a literary work.
  • A writer or speaker’s choice of words and the way in which they arrange words in sentences.
    • For example, in “The Cask of Amontillado,” by Poe there will be more formal diction. In “The Euphio Question,” there was more informal diction.