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Short Story Unit Literary Terms Fiction Fiction is prose writing that tells about imaginary characters and events. Some fiction is entirely made-up, while other fiction is based on real events and/or people Setting The setting of the literary work is the time and place of the action. Time can include not only the historical period—past, present, or future—but also a specific year, season, or time of day. Place—though usually physical—may also involve the social, economic, or cultural environment of the story Protagonist The protagonist is the main character in a literary work. He/she is NOT necessarily the “good guy”, just the main character Antagonist An antagonist is a character or force in conflict with the main character This is NOT necessarily the “bad guy”, just the person or thing that is working against the main character Conflict A conflict is a struggle between opposing forces. There are two types of conflict: INTERNAL -Conflict that occurs inside the character -man Vs. self EXTERNAL –Conflict that occurs outside of the character -man Vs. man -man Vs. nature -man Vs. society -man Vs. fate Symbol Something that has a literal meaning, but also stands for or represents an abstract idea. Example: The American Flag– on a literal level, it is just a flag, a piece of cloth. However, it also stands for this particular county, for freedom, etc. Denotation Vs. Connotation Denotation: The dictionary meaning of a word, independent of other associations that the word may have Connotation: The set of ideas associated with a word in addition to the word’s actual, explicit meaning Irony The difference between appearance and reality, expectation and result. There are THREE kinds of Irony: -Verbal Irony: a word or phrase used to suggest the opposite of its actual meaning -Dramatic Irony: When there is a contradiction between what a character thinks and what the readers know is true Irony (continued) -Situational Irony: When an event directly contradicts expectations of the reader or of the characters Dialogue A dialogue is a conversation between characters. It is often used to reveal things about a character’s thoughts, motivations, and personality to the reader, and to advance the action of the plot. Example: After walking into the kitchen, Susie cried, “Mom, how could you eat the last cupcake?!” Mom replied, “I was hungry, and you weren’t here. It was delicious, my dear!” Diction Word choice, including vocabulary used, word appropriateness, and vividness of language Mood The feeling created in the reader by a literary work Tone The attitude toward the subject that an author conveys in a piece of writing Purpose The author’s reason for writing a specific piece (Examples: To entertain, to inform, or to persuade the reader) Foreshadowing Clues in a literary work that suggest events that have yet to occur This literary device helps to create suspense, keeping readers wondering about what will happen next. Generalization A broad principle that is supported by evidence or particulars Evidence Particulars, or details, that lead to generalizations Evidence Evidence Evidence Evidence GENERALIZATION (BIG PICTURE!!!) Theme The central message or insight into life revealed through a literary work – This is the deeper meaning, the main lesson/message/moral that the author hopes the reader will understand at the end of the story Simile A comparison between two unlike things using “like” or “as”. Similes are used to make descriptions of objects or people more powerful. Example: Without a simile: “It was dark outside.” With a simile: “The night was as dark as thick, black velvet.” Allusion When one literary work references a wellknown person, place, event, work of art, or another literary work to make a point. Example: In Taylor Swift’s song “Love Story”, she alludes to the play “Romeo and Juliet” and the novel The Scarlet Letter to enhance her message. Metaphor A comparison between two unlike things, without using the words “like” or “as”. Instead, one thing is spoken of as though it is something else completely. Example (from the Langston Hughes poem “Dreams”): “…if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly” Personification A type of figurative language, where a nonhuman object is given human characteristics Examples: -The desk coughed and grunted as I shoved it across the old wooden floor. -The tea kettle whistled once the water was boiling. Imagery The descriptive or figurative language used in literature to create word pictures for the reader. These word pictures/images, are created by details of sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, or movement. Point of View The perspective or angle from which a story is being told There are several types: – First-Person-Point-of-View: When the narrator telling the story is one of the characters, and tells the story as a personal account – Third-Person-Point-of-View: When the narrator is not one of the characters (has no name, and does not participate in any of the action of the plot) Point of View (continued) There are also two types of Third-PersonPoint-of-View: – Third-Limited-Point-of-View: When the narrator sees the world through one character’s eyes and reveals only that character’s thoughts – Third-Omniscient-Point-of-View: When the narrator sees into the minds of all the characters Dynamic Character A character that develops and changes through the course of a story Example: Ebenezer Scrooge at the beginning of “A Christmas Carol”, he is a mean, lonely man that is only interested in money. By the end of the story, he is generous, and interested in the “true spirit of Christmas.” Static Character A character that does not change or develop through the course of the story Example: Wile E. Coyote Characterization The way a writer reveals a character’s personality and traits There are two methods: – Direct Characterization: The author directly states a character’s personality and/or physical traits – Indirect Characterization: Uses a character’s thoughts, actions, and feelings, to suggest the character’s traits. Narrator The person from whose perspective a story is told Round Character A character that exhibits many traits, faults as well as virtues Flat Character A character who seems to have only a single personality trait Fantasy A work of fiction with characters, places, and events that could not really exist Plot The sequence of events that make up a story, usually centering around a main conflict The Five Stages of Plot Exposition The first stage of plot! In the Exposition, the scene is set: –this part of the story introduces the characters, tells the reader the setting, and provides all of the necessary background information Rising Action The second stage of plot! This is where the action usually begins. In the Rising Action, the conflict is introduced (either between characters, or with an outside force). This conflict will build up pressure until the Climax Climax The climax is the highest point of conflict in the story!! Generally, this is the point after which everything is different. All of the pressure or events of the Rising Action have stacked up to this moment, when something must change Falling Action This stage begins the downward slope the conflict lessens, and the plot moves towards closure Resolution/Denouement In the final stage of plot, the conflict concludes, and loose ends are tied up.