Literary Terms


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  • Literary Terms

    1. 1. Literary Terms
    2. 2. Folklore ~ The traditions, customs, and stories that are passed down within a culture. ~ Includes various types of literature: - legends - folk tales - myths - fables
    3. 3. Folk Tale ~ A folk tale is a story that has been passed from generation to generation by word of mouth. Folk tales may be set in the distant past and involve supernatural events, and the characters in them may be animals, people, or superhuman beings.
    4. 4. Legend ~ A story handed down from the past about a specific person--usually someone of heroic accomplishments. Legends usually have some basis in historical fact.
    5. 5. Tall Tale ~ A humorously exaggerated story about impossible events, often relating to the supernatural abilities of the main character.
    6. 6. Fable ~ A brief story that teaches a lesson about human nature. In many fables, animals act and speak, like human beings. Usually a fable concludes with a moral.
    7. 7. Myth ~ A traditional story, usually of unknown authorship, that deals with basic questions about the universe. Gods and heroes often figure prominently in myths, which may attempt to explain such things as the origin of the world, mysteries of nature, or social customs.
    8. 8. Setting ~ The time and place of the action in a story, poem, or play. ~ May include: - geographic location - historical period (past, present, or future) - season of the year - time of day
    9. 9. Character ~ A person, an animal, or an imaginary creature that takes part in the action of a literary work.
    10. 10. Static Character ~ A character that changes very little.
    11. 11. Dynamic Character ~ A character that changes significantly.
    12. 12. Protagonist ~ The central character in a story, play, or novel.
    13. 13. Antagonist ~ A force working against the protagonist. ~ An antagonist can be: - another character - society - a force within the main character
    14. 14. Point of View ~ Perspective from which a story is told.
    15. 15. First Person ~ The narrator is a character in the story and uses first-person pronouns such as I, me, we, and us.
    16. 16. Third-Person Omniscient ~ The narrator is not a character. He or she uses third-person pronouns, such as he, she, it, they, and them. ~ This view allows the narrator to relate the thoughts and feelings of several, if not all, the story’s characters.
    17. 17. Third-Person Limited ~ The narrator tells us what one character thinks, feels, and observes.
    18. 18. Conflict ~ A struggle between opposing forces.
    19. 19. Internal Conflict ~ A struggle within a character.
    20. 20. External Conflict ~ A character struggles against another character or against some outside force.
    21. 21. Plot ~ The sequence of related events that make up a story.
    22. 22. Exposition ~ Introduces the characters and establishes the main conflict.
    23. 23. Complications ~ Situations or problems that arise as the characters try to resolve the conflict.
    24. 24. Climax ~ The point of greatest interest or suspense.
    25. 25. Resolution ~ Loose ends are tied up and the story is brought to a close.
    26. 26. Figurative Language ~ Words and phrases used to create fresh and original descriptions.
    27. 27. Simile ~ A comparison of two things that have some quality in common. The comparison is conveyed by means of the word like or as.
    28. 28. Metaphor ~ A metaphor is a comparison of two things that have some quality in common. A metaphor says that one thing is another.
    29. 29. Extended Metaphor ~ Two things are compared at some length and in several ways.
    30. 30. Personification ~ The giving of human qualities to an animal, object, or idea.
    31. 31. Hyperbole ~ An author’s use of exaggeration or overstatement for emphasis.
    32. 32. Imagery ~ Consists of words and phrases that appeal to readers’ senses. Writers use sensory details to help readers imagine how things look, feel, smell, sound, and taste.
    33. 33. Mood ~ A feeling that a literary work conveys to readers.
    34. 34. Symbol ~ A person, a place, an object, or an action that stands for something beyond itself.
    35. 35. Moral ~ A lesson that a story teaches.
    36. 36. Theme ~ A message about life or human nature that is conveyed by a literary work. A work may have more than one theme, and in many cases, readers must infer the writer’s message.
    37. 37. Motif ~A situation, incident, idea, image, or character type that is found in many different literary works, folktales, or myths.