Download Literary Terms #1-30

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Important Literary Terms
1) myth- a story that explains a belief, a tradition, or the beginning of something
2) folktale- a story told by the common people for entertainment purposes
3) foreshadowing- clues that hint at what is going to happen later in the plot
4) setting- the time and place of a story, play, or poem
5) epiphany- a moment of sudden insight or revelation
6) symbolism- use of a person, place, or thing to suggest or represent an idea, emotion,
or a mood
7) direct characterization- when an author tells directly about a character
8) indirect characterization- when the reader has to put together clues about a character
9) irony- the difference between what is expected to happen and what actually does happen
10) internal conflict- conflict that exists inside the mind
11) external conflict- conflict that exists outside of the mind (man vs man, man vs nature,
man vs society)
12) protagonist- main character
13) antagonist- goes against main character
14) theme- central idea or insight of a piece of literature
15) flashback- a scene that interrupts current action to go back to an earlier time
16) genre- category to which a literary work belongs
17) point of view- vantage point from which a story is told
18) static character- a character who does not change
19) dynamic character- a character who does change
20) moral- a lesson to be learned that relates to one’s character or behavior
21. motif: a recurring subject, theme, idea, etc., especially in a literary, artistic,
or musical work.
22. mood- the overall emotion created by a work of literature
23. metaphor- A metaphor also compares two things, but it does not use the word like or as.
24. simile- A simile compares two things using the word like or as
25. tone- the author’s attitude towards the subject matter, character, or reader
26. imagery – the use of sensory language to paint a picture (appeals to the five senses)
27. inference – a conclusion based on evidence and reasoning (to infer is the act of drawing
a conclusion based on evidence and reasoning)
28. author’s craft: how the author uses literary devices (personification, simile, metaphor,
irony, etc…) and narrative elements (setting, foreshadowing, and characterization)
to tell a story
29. oxymoron- figure of speech combining contradictory terms
(jumbo shrimp, awfully good, huge sip, slow speed)
30. diction- the author’s choice and use of words and phrases in a speech or writing