Literary Terms

Literary Terms
What you need to know.
Based on the Bari Nirenberb’s presentation
A person in a literary text.
 Who are the major characters in All My
 Keller, Mother and Chris.
 Who are the minor characters?
 Jim and Sue Bayliss and Frank and Lydia
Antagonist / Protagonist
The protagonist, also known as the hero
is the main character in a literary text.
 The antagonist is a main character in
conflict with the protagonist.
 In Rules of the Game, who is the
 Waverly
 Who is the antagonist?
 Mrs. Jong
Plot / Climax
Plot is the structure and patterns of
events of the story, novel or play.
 Climax is The turning point of a text, the
point of “make or break”.
 What is the climax of the story Mr. Know
 The moment that Mr. Kelada has to
declare whether or not the pearls are
Where and when a story takes place.
 Why is the setting of Mr. Know All
 The story takes place on a passenger ship
after World War I. At this time,
accommodations were scarce, so the
narrator has to share a cabin with Mr.
Kelada. Because they’re on a ship, they are
in constant contact with each other –
there’s nowhere to “run away” to.
A literary character who tells a story.
 What do we know about the narrator in
Mr. Know All?
 He is British, he is traveling on a ship from
San Francisco to Yokohama and he is
prejudiced against those who are not
Point of View
The focus from which a story is told.
 Name one behavior of Mr. Kelada’s that
was annoying from the narrator’s point of
 He was too chatty.
 This is significant because perhaps from
the point of view of others on the ship,
Mr. Kelada wasn’t so annoying.
The struggle in a text often between the
protagonist and the antagonist.
 Name one of the main conflicts in the
play All My Sons.
 The conflict between family loyalty, which
is what Joe believes is most important,
and responsibility to society, which is
what Chris believes in.
A literary device used by writers to give
their readers clues or hints about future
events in the story.
 What does Joe say that foreshadows the
end of the play?
 “I’m his father and he’s my son, and if
there’s something bigger than that I’ll put
a bullet in my head!”
The main topic or message of a literary text.
 What is the theme of All My Sons?
 Responsibility to society .
 What is the theme of Mr. Know All?
 Prejudice
 What are the main themes of Rules of the
 Mother-daughter conflict and a cultural
conflict between American and Chinese
A figure typical of and therefore
representative of a whole social or ethnic
group. A stereotype can be created
through physical appearance, accent,
clothing, behavior, etc.
 What features of Mr. Kelada’s appearance
and behavior described early on in the
story make him a stereotype?
His hooked nose, his long black hair, his
dark skin, his exuberant gestures and his
over-familiar behavior all make him appear
to be Middle Eastern and certainly not a
British gentleman.
Describing one thing in terms of
something else.
 When explaining a metaphor, first state
what two things are being compared, then
explain how they are alike and give
 Rules of the Game refers to the rules of
chess, but chess can also be seen as a
metaphor. Explain.
Chess is a metaphor for life. In both chess
and in life, there are rules you have to
follow, for example, be patient and have
 In The Road Not Taken the two roads are
metaphors of the options or choices we
make in life. In both cases we have to
examine each road or option very
carefully before continuing our journey.
Symbol / Symbolism
Something which is both itself and also
represents an idea. For example, a rose
may symbolize beauty.
 What does the wall symbolize in the
poem As I Grew older?
 The wall symbolizes the obstacles which
prevent the speaker from achieving his
dream, such as prejudice and racism.
Stanza / Verse
A group of lines which form a unit in a
 A single line of a poem.
 How many stanza are there in the poem
The Road Not Taken? 4
 How many verses are there in each
stanza? 5
The attitude with which a story is told or
the attitude with which something or
someone is described, for example, ironic,
cynical, humorous.