SHORT STORY LITERARY TERMS SHORT STORY A type of fiction, shorter than a novel, with five basic parts (plot, setting, characters, theme, and point of view). PLOT The sequence of events. CHARACTERS Persons, animals, objects in a story. SETTING Time and place. THEME The life lesson relating to human nature. POINT OF VIEW The vantage point from which a story is told. All about Plot… EXPOSITION- The beginning part of the story that details background to characters and setting. RISING ACTION- All of the action or events that lead to the climax. CLIMAX- The turning point, or point of highest emotional intensity. FALLING ACTION- The action that follows the climax working toward a resolution. RESOLUTION- The tying up of loose ends, or end of a story or conflict. EXPOSITION The beginning part of the story that details background to characters and setting. RISING ACTION All of the action or events that lead to the climax. CLIMAX The turning point, or point of highest emotional intensity. FALLING ACTION The action that follows the climax working toward a resolution. RESOLUTION The tying up of loose ends, or end of a story or conflict. CONFLICT A struggle between opposing forces. Internal – man v. himself External – man v. man; man v. nature; man v. society; man v. supernatural COMPLICATION The first hint of conflict. SUSPENSE The feeling of nervousness or excitement caused by the unknown, “on the edge of your seat.” SURPRISE ENDING A story with an ending that surprises or shocks; unexpected. Main Characters Characters that are important to the plot and push the story along. Minor Characters Characters that are not really important to the plot and accentuate the main characters. Flat Characters Characters that we only know one or two things about. Round Characters Characters that we know many things about; makes them more realistic. Static Characters Characters that stay the same. Dynamic Characters Characters that change. CHARACTERIZATION The way an author reveals details about a character. Direct Characterization- the author tells you directly. Indirect Characterization – the author hints clues about a character thru (a) what a character says, thinks, feels, does or (b) what other characters comment on them. MOTIVATION A character’s reasons for behaving a certain way. PSEUDONYM A fake name or “pen name” of an author. O’Henry is a pseudonym. ALLUSION A reference from one piece of literature to another famous piece of literature, art, history, or music. IRONY The difference between appearance and reality. Situational Irony – when what the reader/character expects to happen doesn’t and the opposite does. Verbal Irony – when a character says one thing and means quite another. Dramatic Irony – when the reader/audience knows something a character does not (creates suspense). 1st PERSON POV Story is told from a character in the story; uses the 1st person pronoun “I”; biased view of events. 3rd PERSON LIMITED POV Story is told from a narrator outside of the story “looking in” and limited to knowing the thoughts and feelings of one or two characters maximum. 3rd PERSON OMNISCIENT POV Story is told from a narrator outside of the story “looking in” but knows all – like GOD. NARRATOR The voice telling the story – may be a character and may not. DIALOGUE Conversation between characters (one character speaking to self = internal dialogue). RELIABLE NARRATOR A narrator whose story can be believed; is of sound mind and judgment. ATMOSPHERE The feeling or mood associated with a particular setting. CAUSE & EFFECT The series of linked events. FORESHADOWING Hints or clues that suggest an outcome. FLASHBACK A pause in present action to revisit the past. FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE Language not meant to be taken literally; a “fancy-shmancy” way of saying something. Simile Metaphor Personification Hyperbole Symbolism SIMILE A comparison of two things using like, as, or than. Ex: Matthew was like a bear on the football field. METAPHOR A comparison of two things saying one thing is another; does not use like, as, or than. Ex: Matthew is a bear on the football field. PERSONIFICATION Giving human qualities to something non- human. Ex. The pothole ate my tire. HYPERBOLE A conscious exaggeration used for effect. Ex. It rained so hard last night, I paddled my canoe to school. SYMBOLISM Words that stand for a greater meaning. CLIFFHANGER A story with no ending. HORROR FICTION A type of fiction that involves the supernatural, psychological, or creepy aspects of life in the story. SCIENCE FICTION A type of fiction that deals with science, technology, or futuristic aspects. SATIRE A type of writing that ridicules an aspect of society.
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