Literary Terms
3 Column Notes


Genre
Explanation:
An artistic or literary category
Examples:
Fiction
Nonfiction
Novel
Short story
Biography
Poetry
Others?

Fiction
Explanation:
Literature in which situations and characters are invented by the writer
Not real, make believe
Examples:
“Flowers for Algernon”
“The Tell-Tale Heart”
Bridge to Teribithia
Others?

Nonfiction
Explanation:
Writing based mainly on fact, not on imagination
Real
Examples:
Biography
Autobiography
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Essays
Articles

Novel
Explanation:
A book-length fictional narrative
Longer than a short story
More developed plot, characters, setting, and theme
Examples:
Bridge to Teribithia
Hatchet
Hoot
Eragon
The Golden Compass
Speak


Short Story
Explanation:
A brief fictional narrative
Elements include plot, setting, characters, point of view, and theme
Examples:
“The Landlady”
“Flowers for Algernon”
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

Drama
Explanation:
A work of literature intended to be performed for an audience
Examples:
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Monkey’s Paw
Sorry, Right Number

Biography & Autobiography

Explanation:
The story of a person’s life
Written by someone else or yourself (auto)
Nonfiction (real)
Examples:
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”
Others?

Poetry
Explanation:
A type of literature in which language, images, sound, and rhythm are combined to create an emotional effect
Compact, written in lines and sometimes stanzas
Sometimes uses rhyme, meter, metaphor, and simile

Examples:
“The Raven”
“Paul Revere’s Ride”
Others?

Plot
Explanation:
The sequence of events in a story, novel, or play
Includes exposition, rising action, conflict, climax, falling action, and resolution
Example:

Conflict
Explanation:
The central struggle between opposing forces in a story or play
Can be external or internal
Examples:
Ivan vs. his fear
Ivan vs. Lieutenant
Man vs. fire
Man vs. Nature

Setting
Explanation:
The time and place of the action in a story
Examples:
“All Summer in a Day” takes place on Venus in the future
“Legend of Sleepy Hollow” takes place in Tarrytown, NY in the early 1800’s

Theme
Explanation:
The message about life or human nature communicated by a work of literature
In most cases, the theme has to be inferred (guessed at)
Examples:
A theme of “Flowers for Algernon” could be “Don’t mess with nature.”
A theme of “Path Through the Cemetery” is….

Dialogue
Explanation:
A conversation between characters in a literary work
Except in a play, dialogue is usually set off by quotation marks
Examples:
Anne- What’s your cat’s name?
Peter- Mouschi.

“I hope…I just hope to God-”
“What?”
“Never mind, Charles…”


Tone
Explanation:
A narrator’s attitude toward his or her subject
Can be angry, sad, humorous, serious, etc.
Examples:
-At the end of “Flowers for Algernon” Charlie’s tone is sad
-In “The Diary of Anne Frank” Anne’s tone is …..
-In “The Raven”…

Mood
Explanation:
The feeling created in the reader by a literary work
Can be suspenseful, tense, happy, sad, etc.
Examples:
In the “Tell Tale Heart” Poe creates a mood of anxiety and fear.

The mood of “The Landlady” is…

 

Foreshadowing
Explanation
The use of clues (hints) by the author to suggest events that will happen later in the story
Examples:
In “The Monkey’s Paw” the Sergeant Major Morris warns the White’s that the monkey’s paw will only bring evil.

Onomatopoeia
Explanation:
The use of words that imitate their meaning with their sound
Examples:
Whack
Hiss
Sizzle
Crack
Pop
Snap
Tick
Others?

Allusion
Explanation:
A reference to a famous person, place, event, or other work of literature
Examples:
In “The Raven”:
Bust of Pallas (Greek mythology)
Plutonian Shore (Roman mythology)
Balm in Gilead (The Bible)

Simile
Explanation:
A figure of speech using like or as to compare seemingly unlike things
“Figurative language” as opposed to literal language
Examples:
“Her flesh was like a leaf in autumn, crisp and dry.”
“words like blades”
“The snow was like a thick, white blanket.”
Write your own…

Metaphor
Explanation:
A figure of speech that compares unlike things
Does NOT use “like” or “as”
Examples:
From Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech:
Quicksands of racial injustice
Solid rock of brotherhood
Other: The snow was a thick white blanket over the earth.

personification
Explanation:
The giving of human qualities to an animal, object, or idea
Is a type of metaphor

Examples:
The leaves danced in the wind.
The wind whispered to them as they ran through the woods.
The little dog laughed to see such sport, and the dish ran away with the spoon.

irony
Explanation:
A contrast between what is and what ought to be
Situational- the outcome of a situation is the opposite of what you expect it to be
Dramatic- the reader has important information the character does not.
Examples:
Charlie thinks he will have more friends when he gets smarter.
Charlie thinks that Joe and Frank are his friends & the reader knows they are being mean to him.

Alliteration
Explanation:
The repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words
Examples:
Tongue twisters
Sally sells seashells by the sea shore.
In “The Raven”
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before

Hyperbole
Explanation:
Uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or create humor
Examples:
From “Thank You M’am”
“She was a large woman with a large purse that had everything in it but hammer and nails.”
When I was a kid I had to walk five miles to school in the snow uphill both ways.
I’ve told you a million times.

Symbolism
Explanation:
Any object, person, place, or experience that stands for something else.
Examples:
The flag stands for freedom
The vulture eye in “TTH” was a symbol of evil
The raven was a symbol of death
What could these stand for- a rose, a lightbulb, a storm?

idiom
Explanation:
An expression with a meaning different from the literal meaning of the individual words
Examples:
Apple of my eye
A picture paints a thousand words
Getting down to brass tacks
Cute as a bug’s ear
Easy as pie
Break a leg!

Point of view
Explanation:
The perspective from which a story is told
Examples:
I fell and scraped my knee.
She fell and scraped her knee.
We shouted.
They shouted.

First-person
Explanation:
The narrator is one of the characters in the story
Uses “I,” “we,” and “me.”
Examples:
“The Tell Tale Heart”
I think it was his eye!
“The Raven”
…I pondered, weak and weary…
“Flowers for Algernon”

Third-person
Explanation:
The narrator is outside the story
Uses “he, “she,” “they,” etc.
Examples:
“Path Through the Cemetery”
Ivan pushed open the cemetery gate. He walked fast.
“The Landlady”
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

Limited third person
Explanation:
The narrator is outside the story and reveals the thoughts of only one character

Example:
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
“If I can but reach the bridge,” thought Ichabod, “I am safe.”
“Stop the Sun” (p607)
Find an example where the narrator describe’s Terry’s thoughts.

Omniscient third person
Explanation:
Means “all-knowing”
The narrator is outside the story, but can reveal any or all events, thoughts, and actions of the characters.
Examples:
Harriet Tubman
They did not believe her. She could tell by their expressions. They were thinking…what foolishness was this?
Harriet felt safer now…

The End
(Now study!)