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Key Literary Terms


Harry Potter good vs. evil; friendship. A lesson taught by a literary work. Example: ... Harry Potter's flashback to when he was a baby. Terms cont'd. Genre ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Key Literary Terms

Key Literary Terms
  • A Brief Overview

Whats the point?
  • Alabama/Auburn game
  • Your favorite song
  • Your favorite movie

Terms contd
  • Theme
  • Moral
  • A central message or insight into life revealed
    through the literary work
  • The underlying, unifying idea in a text
  • This is NOT a plot summary.
  • Examples
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer? growing up
  • Finding Nemo ? determination
  • Harry Potter? good vs. evil friendship
  • A lesson taught by a literary work
  • Example
  • Aesops fable of the Tortoise and the Hare? slow
    and steady wins the race

Terms contd
  • Character
  • Characterization
  • A person (or animal) who takes part in the action
    of a literary work
  • Round exhibits many different traits (faults and
  • Flat one dimensional lack of detail minor
    characters often stereotypes
  • Dynamic develops and grows during the course of
    the story
  • Static does not change throughout the story
  • The act of CREATING and DEVELOPING a character
  • Presented through
  • Actions
  • Thoughts
  • Description
  • Dialect
  • Other characters reactions toward character
    being examined

Terms contd
  • Conflict
  • Figurative Language
  • A struggle between two opposing forces
  • Natural (man vs. nature) character(s) against
    natural elements
  • External (man vs. man) conflict between or among
  • Internal (man vs. self) conflict that exists
    within a character (a decision, etc)
  • Mechanical (man vs. machine) man against machine
  • Writing or speech that is not meant to be
    interpreted literally
  • Used to create vivid impressions by setting up
    comparisons between dissimilar things
  • Similes
  • Metaphors
  • Life is a highway
  • Personification

Terms contd
  • Novel
  • Prose
  • A long work of fiction
  • Have a plot
  • Explore many conflicts and themes within one work
  • The ordinary form of written language
  • Most writing that is NOT poetry or drama is
    considered prose
  • Novels, short stories, memoirs, biography,
    sci-fi, etc.

Terms contd
  • Plot
  • Setting
  • The sequence of events in a literary work
  • Exposition or initial situation the beginning
    the first incident that makes the story move
  • Rising action or complication conflicts or
    obstacles the main character has to overcome
  • Climax highest point of interest turning point
    in the story
  • Falling action tensions begin to unravel and
  • Resolution (denouement) what happens to the
    character at the end in regard to conflicts
    examined in the story
  • The time AND place of the action of a literary
  • Gone with the Wind? 1860s during the Civil War
  • A Separate Peace? 1940s at the Devon School in
    New England
  • Harry Potter series? present-day England

Terms contd
  • Imagery
  • Tone
  • The descriptive or figurative language used in
    literature to create word pictures for the reader
  • Appeals the senses
  • The writers attitude toward his or her audience
    or subject
  • Revealed through choice of words, detail, mood
  • Formal, informal, solemn, serious, sarcastic,
    ironic, playful, bitter, nostalgic
  • Diary of a Young Girl? tone is emotional and
  • Ellen Foster? tone is informal as it is written
    from the perspective of a young girl

Terms contd
  • Protagonist
  • Irony
  • The main character of a literary work
  • Harry in Harry Potter
  • Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Frodo in The Lord of the Rings
  • The general term for the literary techniques that
    portray differences between appearance and
    reality, expectation and result
  • Verbal words are used to suggest the opposite of
    what is meant
  • Dramatic the audience or reader knows something
    that the character does not
  • Situational When one event is expected to occur
    but the opposite happens.

Terms contd
  • Mood/ atmosphere
  • Antagonist
  • The feeling created in the reader by a literary
    work or passage
  • Horror, mystery, sadness, holiness,
    contemplation, etc.
  • The character or force in conflict with the
  • Malfoy in Harry Potter
  • Danglars in The Count of Monte Cristo

Terms contd
  • Suspense
  • Symbol
  • The feeling of curiosity or uncertainty about the
    outcome of events in a literary work
  • Create suspense by raising questions in the minds
    of readers
  • Anything that stands for or represents something
  • Symbols have 2 meanings
  • 1. their practical function
  • 2. deeper meaning (abstract)
  • Examples
  • American flag? freedom
  • Heart ? love
  • Dove ? hope or peace
  • Wedding rings ? commitment

Terms contd
  • Climax
  • Description
  • The highest point of interest or suspense in a
    literary work
  • Think the most dramatic part of the story
  • A portrait of a person, place, or object in words
  • Mademoiselle Eugenie Danglars was dressed, with
    elegant simplicity, in a figured white silk
    dress. A white rose half lost in her jet-black
    hair was her only ornament she wore no jewels.

Terms contd
  • Dialect
  • Dialogue
  • The form of language spoken by people in a
    particular region or group
  • yall versus you guys
  • fixin and likta
  • A conversation between characters
  • He said, she said, etc.

Terms contd
  • Drama
  • Essay
  • A story written to be performed by actors
  • Shakespeare!
  • A short, non-fiction work about a particular
  • Generally thoughtful and interpretative
  • Presents authors own ideas on a particular

Terms contd
  • Fiction
  • Flashback
  • Prose writing that tells about imaginary
    characters and events
  • A device by which a work represents material that
    occurred prior to the opening scene of the work
  • Harry Potters flashback to when he was a baby.

Terms contd
  • Genre
  • Foreshadowing
  • A category or type of literature
  • 3 major categories prose, poetry, drama
  • Poetry lyric, concrete, narrative
  • Prose fiction, nonfiction
  • Science fiction, fantasy, adventure, historical,
    romantic, mystery, horror
  • Drama tragedy, comedy, melodrama
  • The use of clues in a literary work that suggests
    events that have yet to occur
  • Dantes tells his friends at his wedding that he
    is afraid his happiness will not last.

Terms contd
  • Hero/ heroine
  • Hubris
  • The central character in a work is its hero
  • Represent the values or ideals of a culture
  • Who is the hero in The Count of Monte Cristo? Is
    there a hero at all?
  • Arrogance or pride that results in the misfortune
    of the protagonist of a tragedy
  • Refers to the emotions in Greek tragic heroes
    that led them to ignore warnings from the gods
    and thus invite catastrophe

The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Author Alexandre Dumas
  • Born in 1802 near Paris
  • Fused his works with his political beliefs
  • Forerunner of the French Romantic movement
  • Wrote plays, travel literature, and novels
  • Other famous works by Dumas The Three Musketeers
    and The Man in the Iron Mask

The Count Based on True Events
  • His inspiration for the novel was an anecdote he
    read in a collection of intriguing criminal
  • The anecdote relates that in 1807, a man named
    François Piçaud became engaged to a pretty and
    wealthy girl, inspiring the envy of his friends.
    One of these friends, Loupian, persuaded the
    others to join him in denouncing Piçaud as an
    English spy. Though innocent of the charge,
    Piçaud was arrested and kept in prison for seven
    years. While in prison, he befriended a rich
    Italian cleric who left Piçaud his vast fortune
    when he died. Piçaud returned to Paris in 1815 as
    a wealthy man. Using his wealth, as well as
    numerous disguises, he enacted a complex plan to
    avenge himself on his enemies, murdering several
    of them.
  • Though this real-life story has the all the
    essential plot elements of Dumass novel, it
    lacks the fantastical, epic proportions of great

What makes The Count melodramatic?
  • Published in serial format ()
  • Exaggerated emotion
  • Page 143
  • Emphasis on plot and action rather than on
  • Think musical cues at the appropriate time
  • Page 393-394
  • Page 473
  • Page 522

A Separate Peace
  • Author John Knowles
  • Attended Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire
  • Many of his experiences are portrayed in A
    Separate Peace
  • The only elements in A Separate Peace which were
    not in that summer were anger, violence, and
    hatred. There was only friendship, athleticism,
    and loyalty.
  • Attended Yale University
  • Served in the Air Force during World War II

Title A Separate Peace
  • Look to the title to determine a theme or an
    underlying meaning of text
  • What does Knowles mean by a separate peace?
  • Page 137
  • Page 123

  • Jealousy
  • Denial
  • Loss of innocence
  • Growing up? a coming of age novel?