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Glossary of Short Story Terminology

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Atmosphere
the general mood, feeling or spirit of a story.
Characterization
the way that the author creates characters.
Protagonist
the main character who is faced with a problem
Antagonist
the person, place, idea or physical force against the protagonist
Climax
the point of the highest dramatic intensity; the turning point
external conflict
happens outside the character
internal conflict
happens inside the character; character vs. himself/herself
Foreshadowing
clues of hints which prepare the reader for future action or events
Irony
contrast or contradiction of what is expected and what results
verbal irony
occurs when a character or narrator says one thing but means the opposite
dramatic irony
occurs when the reader knows more than the character
situational irony
occurs when the contrast between what appears to be and what actually exists
plot
action of the story
chronological
places events in order of time from first to last
flashback
looks back at events that have already occured
Point of View
the angle from which the author tells the story; the perspective
first-person narrative
the narrator uses "I" and participates in the action
third-person narrative
the narrator uses "he" and "she" and is an outside observer
omniscient
narrator can see, know and tell all of the characters of a story.
limited omniscient
narrator can only see, know and tell all of one character
objective
narrator describes the characters statements but doesn't reveal thoughts or feelings
resolution
the outcome of the story
setting
the background where the action takes place
suspense
anticipation as to the outcome of events
symbol
a simpler object, action, person, place or something else that stands for something abstract

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