Literature Terms – McDaniel
1. Plot – sequence of events in a literary work.
somewhere someone wanted but so
setting character(s) goal conflict solution
countryside three pigs to build wolf hassles wolf gets
daytime houses the pigs hurt
island the professor a dinosaur dinosaurs they had
modern day theme park get loose to leave island
1. Exposition ~ author introduces
b. setting (time and place)
d. narrative hook (problem is introduced)
2. Rising action ~ character struggles with the problem
3. Climax ~ greatest emotional point; turning point
4. Falling action ~ closing events
5. Resolution ~ final outcome
4. Flashback – going back in time to give background information to
better understand characters or the present situation.
5. Mood – emotional feeling influencing behavior or thoughts.
i.e. A dark, stormy night with the power out evokes a suspenseful mood.
6. Tone – manner of speaking or writing that shows a certain attitude on the part of the speaker or writer.
author is trying to communicate to the reader.
i.e. The theme of
i.e. Her hair was like golden strands of sunlight.
i.e. He was a rock.
i.e. Cartoon characters, your family car, or “Claude” the overhead projector!!!
i.e. The bacon sizzles. The bell bongs. Bang! Pop! Zoom!
i.e. This story is as old as time! If you say that one more time, I’ll explode!
14. Oxymoron – opposite or contradictory ideas or terms that are
i.e. thunderous silence, sweet sorrow, or respectable tabloid.
15. Irony – humorous or sarcastic expression in which the intended
meaning is the opposite.
i.e. The irony of calling a stupid plan “clever”. It’s ironic the firehouse burned!
16. Satire – using wit, humor, sarcasm, irony, etc., to make fun of, expose,
or attack human behavior such as vices (serious moral failures,
corruption, wickedness) or one’s foolishness.
i.e. Political cartoons!!!
17. Imagry – mental pictures created by words.
i.e. The small calf totters as its mother licks it vigorously.
18. Literal language – when words mean exactly what they say.
i.e. An angry person says, “Get lost!” So you’d actually go somewhere and become lost!
19. Figurative language – when words are not meant literally, or exactly
as the dictionary definition would indicate.
i.e. “Get lost!” This simply means to go away!
*similes and metaphors are other examples of figurative language.
20. Symbolism – when something represents or stands for something else.
i.e. A dove symbolizes peace. A door in the wall can symbolize that there is always
a way to overcome obstacles and problems in one’s life.
21.Conflict – struggle between opposing forces (external and internal).
i.e. person verses person physical, mental, emotional, moral
“ “ nature
“ “ society
“ “ self
“ “ fate
22. fiction – fake ; false
23. non-fiction – not fake; not false; true
24. narrative – story
25. reference –something that refers a reader to another source of information
26. biography – story of someone’s life written by another
27. autobiography – story of one’s own life written by oneself
28. short story – prose narrative (story) shorter than a novel, usually dealing with few characters
29. essay – short piece of writing on one subject, giving writer’s personal point of view
30. novel – an invented prose narrative that is long and complex. It deals with human experiences usually through a sequence of events.
31. novella – story with a compact and pointed plot; shorter than a novel; less complexity than a novel.
32. composition – written piece of work
33. prose – speech or writing that is not poetry; ordinary language
34. poetry – writing having rhythm (and sometimes rhyme), usually in language that shows
more imagination and feelings than ordinary speech
Point of View – refers to how a story is narrated or the voice the author uses to tell a story.
*many traits *only one or two traits
* personality and/or *character’s personality
attitude changes changes very little.
as a result of the action
1. Protagonist - the central character on which the action centers and with whom the reader sympathizes most.
2. Antagonist - “to struggle against” (Greek) – the character (or thing) that causes problems for and opposes the main character.
Example: In Moby Dick Captain Ahab is the protagonist. The antagonist
is the great white whale.
3. Foil- a character who sets another off by definite contrast.
Example: good cowboy/ bad cowboy
4. Stock- or stereotype - character type that is so familiar that they are predictable.
Example: absent-minded professor
villain with waxed mustache
Active- the subject of the sentence performs the verb’s action.
ie: We knew the answer.
Passive- the subject of the sentence receives the action of the
ie: The team has been eliminated.