Literary Elements Lesson

Literary Terms
Vocabulary Terms
• Have your pencils and
your handout ready!
• You will need to
recognize and locate uses
of Short Story terms
“Four score and seven years ago”
• Reference to a
statement, person,
place, event, or thing
that is known from
literature, history,
religion, myth,
“Five score years ago”
politics, sports,
King's allusion effectively called up parallels
science, or art
in two historic moments.
• Direct or indirect
“Having the strength of Hercules”
• Mood or feeling created
by a piece of art or writing
– Creates a sense of
expectation about what is to
– Feeling in reading
• Example:
– Create mood of mystery
around character or setting
– Romantic, gloomy,
optimistic, imaginary
Direct Characterization
• Writer tells audience
directly what the
character is like
Example: Ed Johnson scratched
his head in confusion as the sales
rep explained Dralco’s newest
engine performance diagnostic
computer. The old mechanic hated
modern electronics, preferring the
old days when all he needed was a
stack of manuals and a good set of
Indirect Characterization
• Audience has to put
clues together to
figure out what a
character is like
– Just like real life!
Example: Julie owned a multitude of
outfits and accessories, and it always
took her forever to decide which
combination might impress Trent. As
usual, she called her sister several times
for advice. After doing so, Julie decided
to give the navy blue skirt with the
white sweater a try.
Static Character
• Character does not change
much in the course of a story
– Character personalities remain
essentially stable throughout story
• Commonly done with
secondary characters in order to
let them serve as thematic or
plot elements
– Supporting character and major
characters (other than the
protagonist) are generally static
(exceptions do occur)
Dynamic Character
• Changes in some
important way as a
result of story’s action
– Changes in insight or
commitment, values,
circumstance, physical
circumstance, etc.
• Does not apply unless
there is a change
within the character’s
Flat Character
• Distinguished by lack
of detail
• Have only one or two
personality traits
Round Character
• Complex
• Many different traits
• Characters fully developed
by an author
– Physically, mentally,
– Detailed enough to seem
• Usually the main character
• Language that appeals
to the senses
• Descriptions of people
or objects
stated in
terms of
our senses
• Examples:
– He was a
tall man.
– The cat is
Irony & Verbal Irony
• Contrast or
discrepancy between
expectation and reality
Verbal Irony:
• Speaker says one thing
but means the opposite
• Example: Your
boyfriend shows up in
ripped up jeans and a
stained t-shirt. With a
smirk, you say, "Oh! I see
you dressed up for our
date. We must be going to
a posh restaurant."
Situational & Dramatic
Situational Irony:
• What actually happens
is the opposite of what
is expected or
Dramatic Irony:
• Reader knows
something important
that a character does
not know
• Example from
Steel Magnolias:
Laugh hysterically
at a loved one’s
• Example:
WE know Sean
hears the secret, but
the girls do not
know that HE
Verbal, Situational,
or Dramatic Irony?
Example #1: Have you ever seen a
horror movie that has a killer on the
loose? You, and the rest of the
audience, know that the teenagers
should not go walking in the woods
late at night, but they think a
midnight stroll would be romantic.
Needless to say, the teens become
the next victims.
Example #3: You stay up all night
studying for a test. When you go to
class, you discover the test is not
until the next day.
Example #4: Billy steps in big
puddle of water by mistake, and his
friend remarks, “Well now, don't
you have all the luck!“
Example #2: You break a date
with your girlfriend so you can go
to the ball game with the guys.
When you go to the concession
stand, you run into your date who
is with another guy.
Example #5: When watching a talk
show, the audience knows why a
person has been brought on the
show. However, the person sitting
in a chair does not know that he is
going to be reunited with a former
lover. This adds to the suspense
and humor of the show.
Point of View
• Narrator is a character in
the story
– Using words such as I, we, me,
us, my, mine, our, ours
• Audience hears and sees
ONLY what the narrator
• Have to interpret what
narrator tells audience
– May or may not be objective,
honest, or perceptive
Point of View
• Narrator has no part in
• Zooms in on thoughts and
feelings of one character
– Ex. Ralph from Lord of the
• Uses words such as: he,
she, it, they, him, her, it,
them, his, her, hers, it,
their, theirs
Omniscient Point of View
• “All-Knowing” point
of view
• Narrator plays no part
in story but can tell
– What all the characters
are thinking and
– What is happening in
other places
He is so
I got him
right where
I want him!
Meanwhile, back at the
den, Mama Bear was…
• Main character in fiction or
• Character we focus on
• Sets the plot in motion
• Character or force that blocks
the protagonist is the
• Most protagonists are
rounded, dynamic characters
• Change in some important
way by end of story
• Often the hero, but not always
The Joker
• Character who strives against
another main character
– Character opposes the hero or
• Principal opponent or foil of the
main character
• Considered the villain unless
the protagonist is a villain; in
that case, the antagonist is the
• Person, place or object
which has a meaning
in itself, but suggests
other meanings as well
• Things, characters and
actions can be symbols
• Meaning beyond the
Water =
New Life
Cross =
Heart =
Heart =
in battle