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Lit. Terms


undefined, object
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the series of events that make up a story
a struggle or clash between opposing characters or forces
an emotional release which brings about renewal of the self or welcome relief
an extended speech given by one speaker
an obstacle to the protagonist or character who is involved in the most important conflict with the protagonist
a writer's or speaker's choice of words
arrogance; excessive self-pride and self-confidence, especially in reference to Greek tragic heroes whose pride led them to ignore warnings from the gods and thus invite catastrophe
the most significant and exciting moement in a plot, a turning point when the outcome is decided one way or another
an adjective or other descriptive phrase that is regularly used to characterize a person, place or thing
a musical quality produced by the repetition of stressed and unstressed syllables or by the repetition of other sound patterns
the time and place of a story or play
direct characterization
the author explains directly what the character is like
the arrangement of two or more ideas, characters, actions, settings, phrases, or words side-by-side or in simliar narrative moments for the purpose of comparison, contrast, rhetorical effect, suspense, or character development
language that appeals to any of the senses
rising action
the portion of a story or play in which conflict intensifies, leading to the climax
a person in a story
the use of a word whose sound imitates or suggests its meaning
a person, place, thing or event that stands for itself and for something beyond itself
a character that; having only one or two traits, is easily described and one-dimensional (like a cardboard figure)
the central idea of a literary work
an orginal model or type after which other similar things are patterned; a prototype
literary expression not marked by rhyme or metrical regularity
a scene in a movie, play, short story, novel or narrative poem that interrupts the present action of the plot to "flash backward" and tell what happened at an earlier time
generally, sounds repeated through stressed syllables
a story that ends happily
a story that is written to be acted out in front of an audience
the author's attitude twoard his or her subject, character or audience
exact rhyme
repetition of accented vowel sounds and all sounds following them in words that are close together in a poem
first person narrator
one of the characters tells the story ("I")
two consecutive lines of poetry that rhyme
third person omniscient
the narrator knows everything about the characters and various situations
a realistic character that has many character traits; fully developed; three-dimensional
a metaphor in which a non-human thing or quality is talked about as if it were human
an unusually long speech in which a character on stage along expresses his or her thoughts
the first part of a fictional story; the part in which characters, setting and their conflict are usually introduced
a reference to a statement, person, place, event or thing well known from literature, history, religion, pop culture, etc.
one who tells a story
the final part of the story where problems/conflicts are resolved and the story is "closed"
the process of revealing the personality of a character in a story
a literary work portraying imaginary characters and events
blank verse
poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter
person vs. self
a statement that appears contradictory but which my be shown to contain a truth
a character that is used to contrast another character
the repetition of similar vowel sounds enclosed in different consonant sounds
homeric simile
a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unlike things except that the comparion is extended and explains heroic and epic events in terms of everyday happenings
a contrast or discrepancy between expectation and reality
a fourteen-line lyric poem, usually written in iambic pentameter, that has a set rhyme scheme
prose writing that deals with real people, events and places
a character who changes in some important way as a result of what happens in the story. change may involve some new knowledge or a different way of behaving or feeling
a play, novel or other narrative depicting serious events in which the main character comes to an unhappy end
all the meanings, associations or emotions that a word suggests
a short peiece of nonfiction prose that examines a single subject
indirect characterization
the author shows what the character is like by presenting the character's speech, appearance, inner thoughts and feelings, what others think or say about the character, actions
a story that is written to be acted out in front of an audience
feeling of growing uncertainty about the outcome of events (what will "happen next")
science fiction
fiction of a highly imaginative or fantastic kind, generally involving some actual or projected scientific phenomenon
a long fictional story which uses all the elements of storytelling (plot, character, setting, point of view, theme)
falling action
the point in a story or play following the climax in which the intensity of the action or conflict diminishes and leads to the resolution or denouement
clues which hint at events to come in a play or story
internal rhyme
rhyme inside (within) a line of poetry, rather than at the end of the line
a kind of rhythmic, compressed language that uses figures of speech and imagery designed to appeal to our emotions and imaginations
lines of a conversation or speech included in a literary work
a figure of speech that ompares two unlike things in which one thing becomes another thing (or is another thing) without the use of the words like, as, than, or resembles
atmosphere; feeling created in the reader by a literary work or passage
situational irony
the outcome of events or the state of affairs is the opposite of what one would expect
dramatic irony
the reader perceives something significant that the character misses
person vs. person; person vs. society; person vs. nature/environment
rhyme scheme
the pattern of rhymes in a poem (AB, AB, CD, CD, etc.)
a kind of type of literature
slant/half/approximate rhyme
words that do repeat some sounds but do not have the exact chiming sounds
writing which ridicules society, a group, a social institution, etc., in order to reveal a weakness
the literal, dictionary definition of a word
the final part of the story where problems/conflicts are not necessarily resolved
a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unlike things, using a term such as like, as, resembles, or than
eye rhyme
words creating visual alikeness without sounding at all alike
iambic pentameter
a line of poetry that contains five iambs (units which consist of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one
a long story told in poetry relating deeds of a larger-than-life hero who emobodies the values of his society (two types: war & journey)
the main character, the one who "drives the action"
the repetition of the same consonant sounds in words that are close together, or teh repetition of consonant sounds that are very similar
local color
writing which presents the mannerisms, dress, speech and customs of a particular geographical region
a basically regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry
verbal irony
words imply the opposite of what they literally mean (sarcasm)
story involving fantasy to express ideas about life that cannot be expressed easily in realistic terms
a play on the multiple meanings of a word, or two words that sound alike but have different meanings
third person limited
the narrator (not a character) focuses on thoughts and feelings of one of the characters
initial/inciting incident
the point in a story, play, etc. when conflict is introduced or initiated
extended metaphor
a metaphor that is extended or developed, over several lines of writing or throughout an entire poem
words spoken by a character in a play to the audience or to another character (words, which supposedly, are not overheard by the others on stage)
point of view
the vantage point from which the writer has chosen to tell the story
the repetition of the same consonant sounds before and after changing vowel sounds
a character who remains the same or changes very little from beginning to end

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