We will be using these literary
terms throughout the unit as
well as throughout the
semester as they apply.
You will need to understand
and be able to identify these
terms as used.
WE WILL USE THE FOLLOWING TERMS:
Character Antagonist Protagonist
Imagery Mood Plot
Conflict Oxymoron Alliteration
Foreshadowing Suspense Irony
Point of View Setting Style
Theme Tone Figures of
Metaphor Simile Personification
A character is a person
or an animal that takes
part in the action of a
The Protagonist is the main
character in a literary work
The Antagonist is a
character or force in
conflict with a main
character (or protagonist).
DO YOU KNOW YOUR
On your paper take a few minutes to write down some
Antagonists that you can recall from movies, television shows,
and video games
Remember the Antagonist is in conflict with the Protagonist or
Helpful hint – you should now know why people use the saying
“Don’t antagonize me!”
Static – stereotype, only one or two characteristics
that never change (ex. wicked stepmother)
Dynamic – many personalities that change,
for better or worse by the end of the story
WAYS IN WHICH A CHARACTER
His/her physical appearance
What he/she says, thinks, feels and dreams
What he/she does or does not do
What others say about him/her
and how others react to him/her
The setting of a literary work
is the time and place of the
The setting includes all the
details of a place and time –
the year, the time of day,
even the weather. The place
may be a specific country,
state, region, community,
institution, or home.
Details such as dialect,
clothing, customs, and
modes of transportation are
often used to establish
In most stories, the setting
serves as a backdrop – a
context in which the
characters interact. The
setting of a story often helps
to create a particular mood,
Plot is the sequence of events. The first event
causes the second, the second causes the third,
and so forth.
In most novels, dramas, short stories, and
narrative poems, the plot involves both
characters and a central conflict.
Conflict is the struggle
between opposing forces
in a story or play. There
are several types of
conflict that exist in
(See next slides for
MAN VS. SELF
Internal conflict exists within the mind of a
character who is torn between different
courses of action.
The leading character struggles with
himself/herself; with his/her own soul,
ideas of right or wrong, physical
limitations, choices, etc.
External conflict exists when a character struggles
against some outside force, such as another
character, nature, society, or fate.
Man vs. Man (physical) –
The leading character struggles
with his physical strength against other men,
forces of nature, or animals.
Man vs. Circumstances (classical) –
The leading character struggles
against fate, or the circumstances
of life facing him/her.
Man vs. Society (social) –
The leading character struggles
against ideas, practices,
or customs of other people.
The theme of a literary work is its central
message, concern, or purpose. A theme
can usually be expressed as a
generalization, or general statement,
about people or life.
The theme may be stated directly by the
writer although it is more often
When the theme is stated indirectly, the
reader must figure out the theme by
looking carefully at what the work
reveals about the people or about life.
POINT OF VIEWPoint of View is the perspective, or vantage point, from
which a story is told. It is the relationship of the narrator
to the story.
First-person is told by a character who
uses the first-person pronoun “I”.
Third-person limited point of view is the point of view
where the narrator uses third-person pronouns such as
“he” and “she” to refer to the characters.
Third person omniscient
The author can narrate the story
using the omniscient point of view.
He can move from character to character,
event to event, having free access
to the thoughts, feelings and motivations
of his characters and he introduces
information where and when he chooses.
IRONYSituational irony – contrast between what the reader expects to have
happen and what actually happens in the story.
(In Finding Nemo, you wouldn’t expect that sharks
would be in a “fish are friends, not food”
Dramatic Irony – the reader knows something that a character does
not. (i.e. The audience knows that Clark Kent is Superman, though
characters in the story do not.)
Verbal Irony – saying one thing and meaning another.
(Sarcasm is a form of verbal irony.)
Imagery is words
or phrases that
appeal to one or
more of the five
look, sound, feel,
taste, and smell.
Suspense is the growing interest and excitement readers
experience while awaiting a climax or resolution in a
work of literature. It is a feeling of anxious uncertainty
about the outcome of events. Writers create suspense by
raising questions in the minds of their readers.
Tone is a reflection of a writer’s or speaker’s
attitude toward a subject of a poem, story, or
other literary work.
Tone may be communicated through words
and details that express particular emotions
and that evoke and emotional response from
For example, word choice or phrasing may
seem to convey respect, anger, light-
heartedness, or sarcasm.
Mood, or atmosphere, is the feeling
created in the reader by a literary
work or passage.
Writer’s use many devices to create
mood, including images, dialogue,
setting, and plot.
Often, a writer creates a mood at
the beginning of a work and then
sustains the mood throughout.
Sometimes, however, the mood of
the work changes dramatically.
TONE VS. MOOD
In short, TONE is how the
AUTHOR feels & MOOD is
how the piece of literature
makes THE READER feel
Style is the distinctive way in which an author uses
Word choice, phrasing, sentence length, tone,
dialogue, purpose, and attitude toward the
audience and subject can all contribute to an
author’s writing style.
Foreshadowing is the author’s use of clues to hint at what
might happen later in the story. Writers use
foreshadowing to build their readers’ expectations and
to create suspense. This is used to help readers prepare
for what is to come.
FIGURES OF SPEECH
A figure of speech is a specific device or kind
of figurative language, such as hyperbole,
metaphor, personification, simile, or
Figurative language is used for descriptive
effect, often to imply ideas indirectly. It is not
meant to be taken literally. Figurative
language is used to state ideas in vivid and
A Metaphor is a type of speech that compares two or more unlike
things. A metaphor does NOT use like or as.
A Simile is another figure of speech that compares
seemingly unlike things. Simile’s DO use the words like
An Oxymoron is a figure of speech that is a combination
of seemingly contradictory words.
Examples: Same difference
Personification is a figure of
speech in which an animal,
object, force of nature, or idea
is given human qualities or
Alliteration is the repetition of sounds, most often
consonant sounds, at the beginning of words.
Alliteration gives emphasis to words.