Short Story Literary Terms

IDEA

Characterization (direct/ indirect)

The process of revealing the personality of a character.


Example - Langston Hughes characterizes Roger as timid because he's hungry and is afraid of what Mrs. Jones is going to do to him.

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Protagonist

The main character.


Example - In the movie Shrek, Shrek is the main character.

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Antagonist

The person or thing that gets in the way of the main character


Example - In the movie Shrek, the antagonist is Lord Farquaad because he gets in the way of Shrek and the princess.

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Flat Character

A simple character who does not display internal conflicts.


Example - Bruce from Nemo because we rarely see him and we don't understand why he does what he does. His motives are simple. When he gets hungry, he eats.

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Round Character

A complex character who displays internal conflicts.


Example - Woody from Toy Story because we know why he does what he does. He doesn't like Buzz because he feels he can be replaced by him or Andy will love him more. We see his weaknesses.

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Static Character

A character who stays the same throughout a story.


Example - Primrose Everdeen is a static character because throughout the story she didn't go through any dramatic character changes.

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Dynamic Character

a character who changes throughout a story



Example - Shrek because throughout the story he becomes "softer" and more emotional.

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Internal conflict

a struggle that takes place within a character’s mind


Example- In the Hunger Games, Katniss has to decide whether to go in the games or not. It was an internal conflict.

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External Conflict

a struggle that takes place outside of a character


Example - In the Wizard of Oz they all have external conflicts that need fixing so they travel. They are conflicts we can see.

Diction

word choice


Example - In the Wolf of Wall Street, everyone has filthy diction.

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Denotation

the dictionary definition of a word (non- debatable)


Example - When you hear the word "swag", you think cool and hip. But you can't deny that its denotation is actually an ornamental festoon of flowers

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Connotation

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


Example - When I hear the word "dog," I think of ugly. That is just my connotation of the word.

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First Person POV

the vantage point from which a story is told by one character – uses “I”


Example - The Fault in Our Stars is in Hazels POV. This is first person.

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Third Person Limited POV

a story is told by a narrator who reveals thoughts of one character


Example - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Harry. We can read what he is feeling and know his thoughts before hearing his narrative.

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Third Person Omniscient POV

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


Example - The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

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Situational Irony

when you expect one thing to happen and the opposite happens

Example - A vegan that eats a piece of pizza because they are so hungry.

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Verbal Irony

when you say one thing but mean the opposite


Example -

Dramatic Irony