Important Literary Terms

term/device

 

definition

act

 

a part of a play larger than a scene

Allegory

 

a story that has two levels of messages, one that is real, and one that is intellectual

Alliteration

 

repetition of the first consonant sound in a word

Allusion

 

a reference to something the majority of people will be familiar with

Antagonist

 

the person, or force, that is in conflict with the main character

Archetype

 

a type of character present in literature from all places and times

Autobiography

 

a story or book a person writes about his or her life

biography

 

A story or book a person writes about another person’s life

characters

 

the people in a story

Characterization

 

the four ways a narrator explains who a character in a story is: what the person says, does and thinks, and how others respond to him or her.

Climax

 

the highest point of a story which is followed with falling action and a resolution

discriptive writing

 

fiction or non-fiction writing that is rich in imagery

dialogue

 

verbal exchange between two people

Dramatic irony

 

irony that happen when the reader knows something that the other people in the story do not know (yet)

Dynamic character

 

a character who learns a lesson, or changes

expository writing

 

non-fictional writing that is mostly information

external conflict

 

conflict that is physical

Internal conflict

 

conflict that is within the spirit, mind, and/or emotions

foil

 

a character who contrasts with the protagonist

foreshadowing

 

hints in a story about what will happen later

Haiku

 

a Japanese form of poetry that has 17 syllables, in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 words.

hyperbole

 

an exaggerated statement or claim not meant to be taken literally

internal conflict

 

conflict that happen with in the emotions, spirit, or feelings of a person

external conflict

 

conflict that comes from   a physical source

fiction

 

writing that is made up

flat character

 

a character who has only one side or mood throughout a story

historical fiction

 

fictional writing that is based on true event

Lyric poem

 

song-like poetry expressing feelings

meter

 

the musical beat within a poem created by stressed and unstressed syllables

monologue

 

a long speech made by a character in a play that is heard by other characters

Narrative poem

 

a poem that tells a story

narrative writing

 

writing that tells a story

Novel

 

a piece of literature that tells a story and takes longer than one sitting to read

non-fiction

 

writing that is factual

onomatopoeia

 

this happens with saying a word, creates the sound that the word means

oxymoron

 

a word that expresses two things that are opposite , like cold sun or hot ice.

Persuasive writing

 

non-fiction writing that has the purpose of changing the reader’s opinion

personification

 

this occurs when something that is non-human is given human characteristics

parallelism

 

the repetition of the way something is listed: I love candy, like spaghetti, and hate fried spiders- - -instead of- - -Candy is something I love, I have a feeling of liking spaghetti, and hate spiders.

plot

 

the rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution of a story

point of view

 

one of three ways a fictional story is told; first person, second person limited and second person omniscient

protagonist

 

the main character of a story

reflective writing

 

non-fictional writing that includes the authors feelings about the subject

Round character

 

a character who has many moods or sides

scene

 

part of an act

setting

 

the time and place a story takes place

soliloquy

 

a speech given by an actor, that the other characters do not hear

sonnet

 

a specific type of poetry that has 14 lines, with a rhyme scheme of ab, ab, cd,cd,eg,ef, gg,gg.

static character

 

a character who learns nothing, or never changes during the course of a story

universal theme

 

a lesson that is relevant to everyone at any time. . . a lesson about human nature.

voice

 

the way a story creates a tone or feeling

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