Literary Elements Definitions

Topics: EntertainmentEvents

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Last updated: December 1, 2019

character
A person or animal who takes part in the action of a story, play, or other literary work

static character
one who does not change much in the coarse of a work

dynamic character
changes as a result of the story’s events

protagonist
the main character in a work of literature

antagonist
the character in a work of literature that opposes the protagonist

indirect characterization
revealing the personality of a character by words of a character, description of the character’s thoughts and feelings

direct characterization
when the writer directly tells the reader a description of a character’s looks and clothing, or that the character is amusing brave, or lonesome, or specifically the build or height or age of a character

motivation
any force that drives or moves the character to behave in a particular way

conflict
a struggle or clash between opposing characters or forces

internal conflict
takes place within a character’s mind

external conflict
character struggles against some outside force

character vs character
one character is in conflict with another character; external

character vs nature
character in conflict with a natural force; external

character vs self
character has to make a decision; internal

foreshadowing
the use of hints and clues to suggest what will happen later in a plot

symbol
Person, place, thing, or event that stands for itself and for something beyond itself as well.

metaphor
an imaginative comparison between two unlike things in which one thing is said to be another thing

simile
a comparison between two unlike things using a word such as like, as, then, or resembles

theme
the truth about life revealed in a work of literature

personification
a figure of speech in which a nonhuman or nonliving thing or quality is talked about as if it were human or alive

flashback
an interruption in the action of a plot to tell what happened at an earlier time

onomatopoeia
the use of words whose sounds echo their sense (boom pow zap)

allusion
a reference to a statement, person, place, or an event from literature, history, religion, mythology, politics, sports, or science

dialect
a way of speaking that is characteristic of a particular region or group of people

alliteration
the repetition of the same or very similar consonant sounds in words that are close together

suspense
the uncertainty or anxiety you feel about what will happen next in a story

imagery
language that appeals to the senses

plot
the series of related events that make up a story

setting
the time and place in which the events of a work of literature take place

climax
the most emotional or suspenseful moment in the story

resolution
when the characters problems are solved and the story ends

point of veiw
the vantage point at which a story is told

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