Davis: Literary Term elements of fiction & lit terms

Question Answer
What is a theme? A universal truth or lesson about human nature, revealed through a literary character's experiences
What is a symbol? An object, animal or thing that has a deeper figurative meaning- it's not only a tape player, a storm or a necklace; it's the past, a challenge, and a higher social class
What is a protagonist? the main character in a literary work
What is a protagonist? the person whose fate matters the most to the reader; the one whose actions drive the plot events
What is an antagonist? the person, force or condition that acts in opposition to the protagonist, creating conflicts and forcing growth
Who is the narrator? the voice or "angle" through which the story is told; determined by their place in it (participant or observer)
What is first person point of view? telling a story through an "I/me/my/we/us" voice; making the narrator's perspective the one the reader knows most about
What is second person point of view? telling a story through a "you/your" voice; making the reader feel like they're actually in the story
What is third person limited point of view? telling a story through a "she/he/they" voice with a special focus on one character's thoughts, emotions and knowledge of events
What is third person omniscient point of view? telling a story through a "she/he/they" voice with a special awareness of ALL characters' thoughts, emotions and knowledge of events
What is general point of view? the perspective a person examines an issue from, based on their background and life experiences
What is author's purpose? the motives that cause a writer to create a piece- broadly, to inform, entertain, or persuade
What is plot? The sequence of events that creates a character's progress through a text
What is a theme word? An anchor idea, usually an abstract noun, like trust, honesty, integrity, challenge, fate, greed or loyalty
What is a theme statement? A formal declaration about a truth of human nature: Despite bonds of friendship, money and greed can corrupt a person's morals.
What is a man vs. man conflict? primarily external; when a conflict is between a protagonist and another character affects how the plot continues
What is a man vs. self conflict? primarily internal; when a conflict is between a protagonist and their own thoughts, morals and values
What is a man vs. world conflict? primarily external; when a conflict is between a protagonist and a larger group or condition of the world (a political dystopia)
What is a man vs. nature conflict? primarily external; when a conflict is between a protagonist and a force of nature- a hurricane, a post-apocalyptic world, stranded in a boat at sea…
What is a conflict? a problem or trouble the main character is experiencing; usually external ones lead to internal ones
What is character motive? the reasons that cause a character to act, think, speak and behave in the way they do
What is foreshadowing? when the author uses setting details, spoken dialogue or description to place intentional hints about what might happen next
What is a flashback? when the author takes the reader back to another point in time away from the main plot to show previous events
What is tone? The way the author uses words and phrases, imagery and figurative language to hint at the way they emotionally regard or feel about their topic.
What is mood? The emotional feeling the reader gets from the imagery, figurative language and sensory details used in a text
What is a dynamic character? one who experiences growth and change- usually positive- as a result of experiencing and resolving conflicts; also called round
What is a static character? one who does not learn, grow or change throughout a text
What is rising action? the sequence of events leading up to the climax; the protagonist is experiencing conflict, reacting and learning lessons along the way
What is the exposition? usually the first paragraphs of a story, or chapter of a novel; the place where readers first get a sense of character, setting and conflict
What is the climax? the highest point of action, suspense, emotion or a turning point for the protagonist
Who is the speaker? in poetry, the voice behind the lines of a poem; we assume this is NOT the author
What is an anti-climax? within the plot's falling action, anti-climaxes are sudden spikes in action that keep the reader interested while the plot resolves
What is the resolution? the place, for better or worse, where a piece of literature ends; might be final or a cliffhanger
What do minor characters do? Allow readers to see the main character's behaviors, thoughts and actions, and how other people view them
What is setting? The location, area or space that a scene takes place within- they often contribute to our understanding of mood, and characterization
What is characterization? The way writers build an interesting, realistic character, through describing them emotionally and physically, and detailing their interactions with others
What is a stanza? Chunked lines of poetry that stand separate from other sections of a poem; like a paragraph in expository and narrative writing

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