Literary Analysis

By Meghna Pinnaka


Plot is a literary term used to describe the events that make up a story or the main part of a story. These events relate to each other in a pattern or a sequence. The structure of a novel depends on the organization of events in the plot of the story.


A person portrayed in novel, short story, or play.

  • Major or central characters are vital to the development and resolution of the conflict. In other words, the plot and resolution of conflict revolves around these characters.
  • Minor characters serve to complement the major characters and help move the plot events forward.
  • Dynamic - A dynamic character is a person who changes over time, usually as a result of resolving a central conflict or facing a major crisis. Most dynamic characters tend to be central, because resolving the conflict is the major role of central characters.
  • Static - A static character is someone who does not change over time; his or her personality does not transform.
  • Round - A rounded character is anyone who has a complex personality; he/she is often depicted as a conflicted and contradictory person.
  • Flat - A flat character is the opposite of a round character.
  • Stock - Stock characters are those types of characters who have become conventional or stereotypical through repeated use in particular types of stories. Stock characters are instantly recognizable to readers or audience members characters. Sometimes, stock charactersare conflicted.
  • Protagonist - The protagonist is the main character in a story. He/she/they is faced with a conflict that must be resolved. The protagonist may not always be admirable.
  • Antagonist - The antagonist is the character(s) (or situation) that represents the opposition against which the protagonist must contend. In other words, the antagonist is an obstacle that the protagonist must overcome.
  • Anti-Hero - A major character, usually the protagonist, who lacks conventional nobility of mind, and who struggles for values not deemed universally admirable
  • Foil - A foil is any character (usually the antagonist or an important supporting character) whose personal qualities contrast with another character (usually the protagonist). By providing this contrast, we get to know more about the other character.
  • Symbolic - A symbolic character is any major or minor character whose very existence represents some major idea or aspect of society.


The problem in the story. Usually, the protagonist struggles against

1. nature

2. him/herself

3. another character (the antagonist)

4. against society


In literature, the word ‘setting’ is used to identify and establish the time, place and mood of the events of the story. It basically helps in establishing where and when and under what circumstances the story is taking place.

Works Cited

"Types of Characters in Fiction." Types of Characters in Fiction. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2015.
Literary analysis comprises of the plot, character, setting, conflict and techniques used to emphasize the author's purpose.

How do you use it?

You do literary analysis by recognizing the different ways the author used to focus on his purpose.

Why do you do literary analysis?

You do literary analysis in order to understand the deeper meaning of the text which further helps the reader (you) to understand his purpose better.