We will be using these literary terms
throughout the school year.
There WILL be literary terms used
on your End-of-Course !!
You need to keep up with your notes.
Don‟t lose your terms! Study them as
we go through the short stories.
We will use the following terms:
Character Antagonist Protagonist
Diction Denotation Connotation
Imagery Mood Plot
Exposition Rising Action Climax
Falling Action Resolution Conflict
Flashback Foreshadowing Suspense
Point of View Setting Style
Theme Tone Figures of Speech
Metaphor Simile Oxymoron
Personification Alliteration Onomatopoeia
A character is a person or
an animal that takes part
in the action of a literary
Medusa: Clash of the Titans
•The Antagonist is a
character or force in conflict
with a main character, or
Calibos and Hades: Clash of the Titans
Do you know your Antagonists???
• On your paper take a few minutes to write
down some Antagonists that you can
recall from movies, television shows, and
• Remember the Antagonist is in conflict
with the Protagonist or, main character!
• Helpful hint – you should now know why
people use the saying “Don‟t antagonize
Hancock The Lottery Ticket
• The Protagonist is the main
character in a literary work
• Can you name some famous
Protagonists that are found in
The Secret Lives of Bees
• Diction is the manner in which
we express words; the wording
• Diction = enunciation
• Some easy examples are:
Don‟t say „goin‟ – say „going‟, Don‟t say
„wanna‟ – say „want to‟
The denotation of a word
is its dictionary meaning,
independent of other
associations that the
word may have.
The connotation of a word is the set of
ideas associated with it in addition to
its explicit meaning. The connotation
of a word can be personal, based on
individual experiences. More often,
cultural connotations – those
recognizable by most people in a
group – determine a writer‟s word
Denotation versus Connotation
Some examples –
Cheap is “low in cost” (denotation)
but “stingy” or “poorly made” are
the connotations of cheap
Let‟s use the word HOT
The denotation (or dictionary definition –
remember d in denotation = dictionary) of HOT
is: having a temperature higher than that of a
However, when you say “Man! He/She is hot!”,
are you saying “Man! He is having a
temperature higher than that of a human
You are saying the CONNOTATION of HOT – which
could mean a variety of things – man he/she is
cute, attractive, beautiful, and many other
meanings – those come from personal
experiences and cultural meanings, etc.
Imagery is the use of words or
phrases that appeal to one or
more of the five senses.
Writers use imagery to
describe how their subjects
look, sound, feel, taste, and
Mood, or atmosphere, is the feeling
created in the reader by a literary
work or passage. Writer‟s use many
devices to create mood, including
images, dialogue, setting, and plot.
Often, a writer creates a mood at the
beginning of a work and then
sustains the mood throughout.
Sometimes, however, the mood of
the work changes dramatically.
Plot is the sequence of events. The first
event causes the second, the second
causes the third, and so forth.
In most novels, dramas, short stories,
and narrative poems, the plot involves
both characters and a central conflict.
The Exposition is the
introduction. It is the part
of the work that introduces
the characters, setting, and
Rising Action is the part of the
plot that begins to occur as
soon as the conflict is
introduced. The rising action
adds complications to the
conflict and increases reader
The Climax is the point of
greatest emotional intensity,
interest, or suspense in the
plot of a narrative. The climax
typically comes at the turning
point in a story or drama.
Falling Action is the action that
typically follows the climax and
reveals its results.
The Resolution is the part of
the plot that concludes the
falling action by revealing or
suggesting the outcome of
the conflict. It is also called
Conflict is the struggle
between opposing forces in
a story or play. There are
two types of conflict that
exist in literature.
External conflict exists when a character
struggles against some outside force, such
as another character, nature, society, or
Man vs. Man
The Karate Kid
Man vs. Nature
The Day After
• Man vs. Society
Brothers The Secret Life
True Blood The Prawns
External Conflict (Continued)
Terminator War of the Worlds
Internal conflict exists within the mind of a
character who is torn between different
courses of action.
Man vs. Himself
A flashback is a literary device in
which an earlier episode,
conversation, or event is inserted
into the sequence of events.
Often flashbacks are presented as
a memory of the narrator or of
The movie Titanic is told almost
entirely in a flashback.
What are some other films that contain
flashback to help tell stories?
Think of some more…
Foreshadowing is the author‟s use of clues
to hint at what might happen later in the
story. Writers use foreshadowing to build
their readers‟ expectations and to create
suspense. This is used to help readers
prepare for what is to come.
Can you think of an
Suspense is the growing interest and
excitement readers experience while
awaiting a climax or resolution in a work
of literature. It is a feeling of anxious
uncertainty about the outcome of events.
Writers create suspense by raising
questions in the minds of their readers.
Point of View
Point of View is the perspective, or
vantage point, from which a story is
told. It is the relationship of the
narrator to the story.
First-person is told by a character who
uses the first-person pronoun “I”.
Third-person limited point of view is the
point of view where the narrator uses
third-person pronouns such as “he”
and “she” to refer to the characters.
The setting of a literary work is the time and place
of the action.
The setting includes all the details of a place and
time – the year, the time of day, even the
weather. The place may be a specific country,
state, region, community, neighborhood, building,
institution, or home.
Details such as dialect, clothing, customs, and
modes of transportation are often used to
In most stories, the setting serves as a backdrop – a
context in which the characters interact. The
setting of a story often helps to create a particular
mood, or feeling.
Style is the distinctive way in which
an author uses language.
Word choice, phrasing, sentence
length, tone, dialogue, purpose,
and attitude toward the audience
and subject can all contribute to
an author‟s writing style.
The theme of a literary work is its central
message, concern, or purpose. A theme
can usually be expressed as a
generalization, or general statement,
about people or life. The theme may be
stated directly by the writer although it is
more often presented indirectly. When
the theme is stated indirectly, the reader
must figure out the theme by looking
carefully at what the work reveals about
the people or about life.
Tone is a reflection of a writer‟s or speaker‟s
attitude toward a subject of a poem,
story, or other literary work. Tone may be
communicated through words and details
that express particular emotions and that
evoke and emotional response from the
For example, word choice or phrasing may
seem to convey respect, anger,
lightheartedness, or sarcasm.
Figures of Speech
A figure of speech is a specific device or
kind of figurative language, such as
hyperbole, metaphor, personification,
simile, or understatement.
Figurative language is used for descriptive
effect, often to imply ideas indirectly. It is
not meant to be taken literally. Figurative
language is used to state ideas in vivid
and imaginative ways.
A Metaphor is a type of speech that
compares or equates two or more things
that have something in common. A
metaphor does NOT use like or as.
Example: Life is a bowl
A Simile is another figure of speech that
compares seemingly unlike things.
Simile‟s DO use the words like or as.
Example: Her voice was like nails on a
An Oxymoron is a figure of speech that is a
combination of seemingly contradictory
Examples: Same difference
Personification is a
figure of speech in
which an animal,
object, force of
nature, or idea is
given human qualities
Example: Tears began
to fall from the dark
Alliteration is the repetition of sounds, most
often consonant sounds, at the beginning
of words. Alliteration gives emphasis to
Example: Peter Piper picked a peck of
Onomatopoeia is a word that
imitates the sound it represents.
splash, wow, gush, kerplunk
Holy onomatopoeia, Batman!