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literary terms you gotta know

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alliterationthe repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of syllables as in Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
assonancethe repetition of vowel sounds in stressed syllables that end in different consonant sounds as in lime light
central conflictthe main struggle or problem in the plot of a poem, story or play
charactera person or animal who takes part in the action of a literary work
characterizationthe act of creating or describing a character, by showing what they say, do and think, showing what other characters say about them, and by showing what physical features, dress and personality they display
climaxthe point of highest interest and suspense in a literary work. It sometimes signals the turning point of the action in a story or play
coming-of-age storya tale in which a young person makes a discovery about himself or herself or about the world. It also allows different generations to learn about each other
concrete poema poem with a shape that suggests its subject
dialogueconversation involving two or more people or characters
epica long story., often told in verse, that tells of a culture's heroes and gods
external conflicta struggle that takes place between a character and something outside that character such as another character, society or nature
first personnarrator (person telling the story) takes part in the action and refers to himself or herself using words such as I and we
foreshadowingthe act of hinting at events that will happen later in a literary work
imagelanguage that creates a concrete representation of an object or an experience
imagerythe images in a poem or passage considered all together
inciting incidentthe event that introduces the central conflict or struggle, in a poem, story, or play
internal conflicta struggle that takes place inside the mind of the character
ironya difference between appearance and reality, an event that contradicts the expectations of the characters, the reader, or the audience of a literary work
metaphora figure of speech that is spoken or written about as if it were another
moodthe feeling or emotion that the writer creates in a literary
motifanything that appears repeatedly in one or more of literature, art, or music
motivea reason for acting in a certain way
motivationa force that moves a character to think, feel, or behave in a certain way
mytha story that explains the beginning of things or events in the natural world. These objects are explained as being caused by some supernatural force or being, often a god.
narrative poema verse that tells a story
novellaa work of fiction shorter than a novel but longer that a short story
one-dimensional characterflat character who reveals only one quality or character trait
onomatopoeiathe use of words or phrases like meow or beep that sound like what they name
personificationa figure of speech in which something not human is described as if it were human
repetitionmore than one use of a sound, word, or group of words
resolutionthe point in a poem, story, or play at which the central conflict or struggle ends
rhythmthe pattern of beats in a line poetry or prose
sensory detailswords or phrases that describe how things look, sound, smell, taste or feel
settingthe time and place in which a literary work happens
similea comparison using like or as
stressthe amount of emphasis given to a syllable
symbola thing that stands for or represents both itself and something else
tag linesa phrase like she said used in a story to tell who is speaking
themea central idea in a literary work
third person point of viewin a story, when the narrator does not take part in the action and tells the story using words such as he and she and avoiding the use of I and we
three-dimensional charactera character who seems to have all the complexities of an actual human being


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