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Literary Terms

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Eng. I Literary Terms Worksheet SAVE IN FOLDER

Find the following terms in your packet and read the definitions (and examples if they’re given) for each term. Write out definitions, including examples if needed.

1. allegory A story illustrating an idea or a moral principlein which objects take on symbolic meanings; an extended metaphor.
2. allusion A reference in one literary work to a character or theme found in another literary work. T. S. Eliot, in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” alludes (refers) to the biblical figure John the Baptist in the line Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter, . . . In the New Testament, John the Baptist’s head was presented to King Herod on a platter.
3. analogy A comparison made between two things to show the similarities between them.
5. antagonist A person or force which opposes the protagonist in a literary work.
5. characterization– The method a writer uses to reveal the personality of a character in a literary work: Methods may include (1) by what the character says about himself or herself; (2) by what others reveal about the character; and (3) by the character’s own actions.
6. conflict Conflict is the “problem” in a story which triggers the action. There are five basic types of conflict:
1. Person vs. person: One character in a story has a problem with one or more of the other characters.
2. Person vs. society: A character has a problem with society—the school, the law, tradition, etc.
3. Person vs. self: A character struggles inside and has trouble deciding what to do.
4. Person vs. nature: A character has a problem with some element of nature: a snowstorm, an avalanche, a flood, etc.
5. Person vs. fate, god, or the supernatural:

7. diction An author’s choice of words, particularly for clarity, effectiveness, and precision.
8. drama- A story acted out, usually on stage, by actors and actresses who take on the parts of specific characters. There are two types: Tragedies, serious plays in which the central characters meet and unhappy or disastrous end, and comedies, humorous plays that end happily.
9. dramatic irony– the audience knows something that the characters in the drama do not. For example, the identity of the murderer in a crime thriller may be known to the audience long before the mystery is solved.
10. figurative language– Language that is not meant to be interpreted in the literal sense.
11. flashback A reference to an event which took place prior to the beginning of a story or play.
12. foreshadowing– In drama, a method used to build suspense by providing hints of what is to come.
13. genre– A literary type or form. Drama is a genre of literature.
14. imagery– A word or group of words in a literary work which appeal to one or more of the senses: sight, taste, touch, hearing, and smell. The use of images serves to intensify the impact of the work.
15. irony– irony of situation, the result of an action is the reverse of what the actor expected.
16. local color– A detailed setting forth of features and peculiarities to suggest particular locality and its inhabitants.
17. metaphor -A figure of speech wherein a comparison is made between two unlike quantities without the use of the words “like” or “as.”
18. narrator– One who narrates, or tells, a story.
19. novel A fictional prose work of substantial length.
20. plot– Plot The structure of a story. Or the sequence in which the author arranges events in a story.
21. plot line:
• exposition In drama, the presentation of essential information regarding what has occurred prior to the beginning of the play.
• initial incident- Triggers the rising action in a plot line
• rising action is the central part of a story during which various problems arise leading up to the climax.
• climax The decisive moment in a drama, the climax is the turning point of the play to which the rising action leads.
• turning point A point of great tension in a narrative that determines how the action will come out.
• falling action The falling action is the series of events which take place after the climax.
• conclusion Also called the Resolution, the conclusion is the point in a drama to which the entire play has been leading. It is the logical outcome of everything that has come before it
Draw and label the plotline:

22. point of view the angle from which a story is told. First person: one of the characters is telling the story: “I walked slowly, wishing I could turn and run instead of facing Mrs. Gage.” Third person: someone outside the story is telling it. If the speaker knows everything including the actions, motives, and thoughts of all the characters, the speaker is referred to as omniscient (all-knowing). If the speaker is unable to know what is in any character’s mind but his or her own, this is called limited omniscience.
23. protagonist– The hero or central character of a literary work.
24. setting– The time and place in which a story unfolds
25. short story– A short fictional narrative.
26. simile– A figure of speech which takes the form of a comparison between two unlike quantities for which a basis for comparison can be found, and which uses the words “like” or “as”
27. suspense Suspense in fiction results primarily from two factors: the reader’s identification with and concern for the welfare of a convincing and sympathetic character, and an anticipation of violence.
28. symbolism A device in literature where an object represents an idea. A rose is often a symbol of beauty; a skull is often a symbol of death; spring and winter often symbolize youth and old age.
29. theme The general idea or insight about life that a writer wishes to convey in a literary work. The theme gives the work unity. The theme provides an answer to the question What is the work about?

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