Short Story Literary Terms


Characterization (Direct/ Indirect)

the process of revealing the personality of a character
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Roger is timid because he's hungry and is afraid of what Mrs. Jones is going to do to him.


the main character
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Simba is the protagonist in The Lion King, because he is the main character.


the person or thing that gets in the way of the main character
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Scar is the Antagonist because he goes against Simba (protagonist) in the Lion King.

Flat Character

a simple character who does not display internal conflicts
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Mother Gothel is a flat character because the readers don't get to know much about her. Her opinions and feelings don't change throughout the entire movie, she consistently cares only for her youth.

Round Character

a complex character who displays internal effects
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Rapunzel is a round character because she displays her deep feelings that she wants to see the "floating lights", that appear every night on her birthday.

Static Character

a character that stays the same throughout the entire story
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Rip Van Winkle is a static character because his character traits from the beginning to the end do not change.

Dynamic Character

a character who changes throughout the story
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Maximus from Gladiator is a dynamic character because he went from patriotic roman general to Colosseum gladiator to savior of Rome.

Internal Conflict

a struggle that takes place inside a character's mind
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Ariel in "The Little Mermaid" has an internal conflict because she has to decide whether to stay with her family in the sea, or to trade in her ability to talk for human legs.

External Conflict

a struggle that takes place outside of a character
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The scene of "Finding Nemo" where Bruce is trying to eat Marlin and Dori is an external conflict because it's a conflict that occurs outside of one character's mind.


word choice
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Shakespeare is a good example of diction because his plays use very complicated word choice (diction).


the dictionary definition of a word (not debatable)
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"The Tell Tale Heart" uses great denotation because there are so many words that have been modify from their original form.


all of the emotional associations and societal assumptions connected with a word

First Person Point of View

the vantage point from which a story is told by one character - uses "I"
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Gravity is told in first person point of view by one of the main characters, Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock.

3rd Person Limited Point of View

a story is told by a narrator who reveals thoughts of one character
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The Most Dangerous Game is told in 3rd person limited narrative because it is a non-character narrator who focuses on Rainsford's thoughts and feelings throughout the story.

3rd Person Omniscient

the vantage point from which a story is told by an all-knowing narrator