LITERARY TERMS

Plot- ( a series of events) Exposition, Narrative Hook, Rising Action,
Climax, Falling Action, Resolution, Denouement
Setting- Time and place
Character-Character, Character Trait (an adjective), Protagonist/ Hero,
Antagonist/ Villain, Round, Flat, Static, Dynamic, Characterization:
Direct & Indirect: Actions, Thoughts & Feelings, Speech, Other
Characters’ Reactions, Appearance
Conflict- a problem that is internal or external
Internal – man vs. himself
External- man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. machine
Mood- the atmosphere a writer creates
Tone- how a character feels about something
Point of View- first person (I): someone in the story tells it
third-person omniscient: someone who isn’t in the action of story
tells it
Topic- one word that summarizes what the story is about (death, love,
friendship, struggle)
Summary- A paragraph highlighting the major events
Theme- a truth about life that is worded in a general way so that it
could be applied to any story
Moral- lesson learned. This should also be worded in a general way so
that it can be applied to any story.
Motif- a recurring element in a story (For example, wish-making and
the number three are common motifs because characters make several
wishes or complete tasks three times in a story.)
Allusion- a reference to something (For example, my dog’s name is an
allusion to a character in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird. When I sign
him in at the vet, I write his name “Boo Radley.” I can tell the
receptionist never read the novel when she calls me “Mrs. Radley.”
Unreliable narrator- a narrator that can’t be trusted because of age,
failing health, mental defect, or drug or alcohol dependency
Subplot- plots, or series of events, that are going on at the same time
as the main plot (For example, in sitcoms, the camera switches to
different characters going through different things)
Parallel episodes- similar events of the same category happening over
and over again in a story (For example, in “Flowers for Algernon,”
parallel episodes were test-taking and racing Algernon because Charlie
did them repeatedly throughout the story
Irony-
Irony- when the opposite of expectations occur
Verbal irony- when a character says the opposite of what he or
she means (sarcasm)
Dramatic irony- when the readers know information that the
characters in a story do not know
Epiphany- a realization or “ah-hah/lightbulb” moment
Suspense- a feeling of uncertainty created for the reader in fourteen
ways (see the writing section of the wiki for the list.)
Foreshadowing – clues
Red Herring- a clue that is meant to through the reader off the course
of solving the mystery (This term originates from England when
criminals would drop herrings, or fish, along their own trail so that
police dogs would not be able to track and catch them.)
Symbol- an object that represents a bigger idea (For example, a
wedding ring symbolizes love and commitment that will never end
since the ring is made in the shape of a circle.)
Figurative language-
Simile-a comparison using like or us
Metaphor- a comparison without using like or as
Extended Metaphor- a comparison without using like or as in
which the author uses several elements of a certain category to make a
point. (For example, as we travel on this ship of life, the seas may be
rocky, but if we have a strong captain at the helm, we will survive the
journey. We may want to jump overboard at times and feel like we are
scooping out water to stay afloat, but we must keep our eyes on the
horizon.)
Personification- giving inanimate objects living qualities
Hyperbole- exaggeration
Imagery- language that includes the five senses
Onomotopoeia- words that represent sounds
Alliteration- repeated consonant sounds
Assonance- repeated vowel sounds

Writer’s Techniques:
Parallelism- each part of the sentence is worded the same way so that
a pattern can be detected.
Ex: “I blush. I burn. I shudder.” I (noun)/ verb
Repetition- words repeated
Appositive- a description within commas (For example, My English
teacher, Mrs. Paterna, loves Spinning class and is bored by yoga.)
Starting a sentence with the last word of the previous sentence
Writing in fragments to prove a point or to create suspense
Sentence structures- simple, compound, complex, compound-complex
Hyphentated Modifer- words joined by hyphens that work together to
act as an adjective unit and describe a noun
Ex: peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich