Uploaded by Mitchell Unruh

Literary Elements and Devices

Literary Elements and Devices
Characterization - The way the writer creates and develops a character's
personality by what A) he/she says or does, B) other characters say about him/her
or how they react to him/her, C) the author reveals directly or through a narrator.
Irony - When an unexpected outcome occurs; based on contradiction.
Antagonist - A person, thing, or force that works against the protagonist.
Protagonist - Main character of the story; often a good or heroic type of person.
Assonance - Repetition of vowel sounds such as stony, holy or the man sat back
at last.
Symbolism - When a person, place, thing, or event is used to represent something
Express - The writer's purpose for a journal entry.
Persuasive Writing - An article/story written to convince the reader.
Compare - Determining the ways two or more things are that same.
Dialect - Speech that reflects the way words are pronounced, vocabulary used.
grammar typical to a geographical region.
Inform - The author's purpose for a news story.
Credibility - The information comes from a reliable source.
Effect - A consequence or result of an event.
Author's Purpose - What the author is trying to get across with his or her writing.
Contrast - Finding the differences between two or more things.
Hyperbole - Exaggerating such as "the fish was 5000 feet long".
Plagiarism - Copying someone's work and claiming it as your own.
Genre - Type or category of writing.
Chronological - Arranged in order of time.
Tone - The attitude or voice of the writer.
Expository Text - Nonfiction article written to give information.
Narrative - Type of writing with characters, plot, and setting.
Main Idea - Most important idea of a story or paragraph.
Inference - Making an educated guess based on clues.
Idiom - An expression whose meaning cannot be taken literally (kick the bucket).
Literature Vocabulary
Fantasy - Uses magic and other supernatural forms as a main element of plot,
theme, or setting.
Parable - A brief story illustrating a moral or religious lessons.
Epitaph - Text honoring the deceased, most commonly inscribed on a tombstone
or plaque.
Fable - A brief story in prose or verse that features animals, plants, or forces of
nature that are given human qualities and that teach a moral lesson.
Memoir - A part of an autobiography telling about part of a life. Usually written in
first-person point of view.
Myth - A sacred storytelling of the origins of the world. The main characters are
usually gods and heroes.
Folklore - Includes tales, music, dance, legends, oral history, beliefs, ect., which
help make up the traditions of a culture.
Fairy tale - A fiction story featuring characters such as fairies, goblins, elves, and
trolls, ect. and enchantments. This usually concludes with a happy ending.
Epigram - A short poem with a clever twist at the end or a witty statement. It is a
brief and pointed statement.
Legend - A story from the past considered to be historical.
Exposition - Beginning of the story where we learn about characters and setting
Rising Action - Central part of the story where problems occur
Climax or Turning Point - Most exciting point of the story or the point that marks a
Falling Action - What happens before the story ends
Resolution - Part of the story where the problem is solved and the ending
Figurative Language - Going beyond literal... not specifically stated
Literal Language - Exactly as stated
Simile - Comparison using like or as (ex. He runs like the wind.)
Metaphor - Comparison not using like or as (ex. The moon was a golden sliver.)
Personification - Giving human traits to an inanimate object or an animal (ex. The wind
Hyperbole - A huge exaggeration (ex. I'm so hungry I could eat a horse)
Alliteration - Repetition of a particular sound in the first syllables of a series of words
and/or phrases (ex. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers)
Onomatopoeia - A word that imitates the sound it represents (ex. Buzz, hiss, dingdong)
Idiom - an expression, word, or phrase that means something other than what the literal
meaning would state (ex. Don't cry over spilled milk.)
Theme - Message or focus the author wants to share
Plot - what happens in the story - sequence of events in the story
Mood - feeling you get from reading the story
Setting - where/when the story takes place
Characters - who is in the story
1st person point of view - story is told by one of the characters and uses "I" or "we"
3rd person omniscient point of view - story is told by the narrator who is not in the
story... sees and knows all
Imagery - words or phrases that appeal to the reader's senses
Foreshadowing - author gives you a hint of something to come.
Flashback - jump back in time
Dialogue - the talking or conversations