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Fancy Literary Terms Explained by Disney

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Fancy Literary Terms Explained by Disney. Courtesy of Theme. A common thread or repeated idea that is incorporated throughout a literary work Ex: “True love conquers all” is the main theme of Sleeping Beauty . Symbolism.

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  • A common thread or repeated idea that is incorporated throughout a literary work
  • Ex: “True love conquers all” is the main theme of Sleeping Beauty.
  • An object, character, figure, or color that is used to represent an abstract idea or concept
  • Ex: Dumbo’s “magic” feather represents courage and self-confidence. Once he truly believes in himself, he no longer needs it.
dramatic irony
Dramatic Irony
  • Irony that occurs when the meaning of the situation is understood by the audience but not the characters in the literary work.
  • Ex: Throughout most of The Lion King, Simbafeels guilty for his father’s death, unaware that Scar actually killed Mufasa. The audience knows Scar is responsible, not Simba.
  • A constantly recurring symbol or motif in literature.
  • Ex: Alice must pass a series of tests as she makes her way through Wonderland. This kind of journey is a common archetype in Western literature and best known in Homer’s The Odyssey.
character foil
Character Foil
  • A character who illuminates the qualities of another character by means of contrast.
  • Ex: Gaston’s combination of good looks and terrible personality emphasizes the Beast’s tragic situation. The former is a monster trapped inside a man; the latter a man trapped inside a monster.
  • A brief reference in a literary work to a person, place, thing, or passage in another literary work.
  • Ex: In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the gargoyle Laverne tells a flock of pigeons to “Fly my pretties! Fly! Fly!” similar to the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.
  • A warning or indication of a future event.
  • Ex: Before she’s fatally shot by a hunter, Bambi’s mother gives Bambi a stern lecture on the dangers of man.
  • The atmosphere that pervades a literary work with the intention of evoking a certain emotion or feeling from the audience.
  • Ex: Fantasia frequently uses music and setting to drastically shift the mood of light and playful to dark and foreboding.
  • The portion of a story that introduces important background information to the audience (setting, events before main plot, characters’ backstories, etc.)
  • Ex: At the beginning of Robin Hood, the rooster describes how Robin Hood has been robbing from the rich to give to Nottingham’s poor.
  • The turning point in the action; the crisis; the highest point of interest or excitement
  • Pinocchio is transformed into a donkey and sold into labor before he saves Geppetto and proves himself worthy of being a real boy.
  • An inherent incompatibility between objectives of 2 or more characters.
  • Ex: When Shere Khan returns to the jungle, Mowgli must flee to the safety of human civilization.
denouement resolution
Denouement (Resolution)
  • The final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are resolved.
  • At the end of The Little Mermaid, King Triton turns Ariel into a human and Ariel marries Prince Eric. Then Sebastian sings over the closing credits. Epic.