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Huck Finn Literary Terms

These are the literary terms students should know before reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

allegorystory or tale with both a literal and a symbolic meaning; events, settings, characters are symbols of ideas or qualities
antagonista character or force in a conflict with a main character (the protagonist)
conflictin literature a struggle between opposing forces which may be external or internal
denotationdenotation of a word is its objective (dictionary) meaning
dialectform of a language spoken by people in a particular region or group
dictiona writer's or speaker's choice of words
ironya contrast between what is stated or expected to happen and what is meant or actually happens
local colorthe use in a literary work of characters and details unique to a particular geographical region
fallible narratora speaker/character in a story whose narration (telling of the story) may be flawed
parodya humorous imitation of a literary work, one that exaggerates or distorts the characteristics of the original
protagonistthe main character in a literary work
realisma literary movement that stressed the actual as opposed to the imagined or factual
regionalismtendency of an author to write about specific geographical areas
satirewriting that ridicules or criticizes individuals/ideas/institutions/social conventions for the purpose of correcting them
stylea writer's word choice,tone,degree of formality, grammatical structure, organization, etc.
themecentral message/insight into life revealed by a literary work
vernacularordinary language of people in a particular region
initiation storyevent or series of events through which a protagonist matures
episodic structurea series of incidents/events
epic literatureliterature presenting characters of high position in a series of adventures which form a whole and through their development represent the history of a nation/race

Jo Lynn Allen

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