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Basic Literary Vocabulary
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Vatman Offline
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Post: #1
Basic Literary Vocabulary

This is simply a list of term's that I may use when I have my lecture's. Feel free to ask any questions on what any of these term's mean. I most likely will go in depth on the subject of a few of these later on, but for now I simply list them for your viewing pleasure.

Exposition
The introductory material which gives the setting, creates the tone, presents the characters, and presents other facts necessary to understanding the story.

Foreshadowing
The use of hints or clues to suggest what will happen later in the story.
Inciting ForceThe event or character that triggers the conflict.

Conflict
The essence of fiction. It creates plot. The conflicts we encounter can usually be identified as one of four kinds. (Man versus…Man, Nature, Society, or Self)

Rising Action
A series of events that builds from the conflict. It begins with the inciting force and ends with the climax.

Crisis
The conflict reaches a turning point. At this point the opposing forces in the story meet and the conflict becomes most intense. The crisis occurs before or at the same time as the climax.

Climax
The climax is the result of the crisis. It is the high point of the story for the reader. Frequently, it is the moment of the highest interest and greatest emotion. The point at which the outcome of the conflict can be predicted.

Falling Action
The events after the climax which close the story.

Resolution (Denouement)
Rounds out and concludes the action.

CHARACTERIZATION
MAJOR CHARACTERS

Almost always round or three-dimensional characters. They have good and bad qualities. Their goals, ambitions and values change. A round character changes as a result of what happens to him or her. A character who changes inside as a result of what happens to him is referred to in literature as a DYNAMIC character. A dynamic character grows or progresses to a higher level of understanding in the course of the story.

Protagonist
The main character in the story

Antagonist
The character or force that opposes the protagonist.

Foil
A character who provides a contrast to the protagonist.

MINOR CHARACTERS
Almost always flat or two-dimensional characters. They have only one or two striking qualities. Their predominant quality is not balanced by an opposite quality. They are usually all good or all bad. Such characters can be interesting or amusing in their own right, but they lack depth. Flat characters are sometimes referred to as STATIC characters because they do not change in the course of the story.

POINT OF VIEW

First Person
The narrator is a character in the story who can reveal only personal thoughts and feelings and what he or she sees and is told by other characters. He can’t tell us thoughts of other characters.

Third-Person Objective
The narrator is an outsider who can report only what he or she sees and hears. This narrator can tell us what is happening, but he can’t tell us the thoughts of the characters.

Third-Person Limited
The narrator is an outsider who sees into the mind of one of the characters.

Omniscient
The narrator is an all-knowing outsider who can enter the minds of more than one of the characters.

CONFLICT
Conflict is the essence of fiction. It creates plot. The conflicts we encounter can usually be identified as one of four kinds.

Man versus Man
Conflict that pits one person against another.

Man versus Nature
A run-in with the forces of nature. On the one hand, it expresses the insignificance of a single human life in the cosmic scheme of things. On the other hand, it tests the limits of a person’s strength and will to live.

Man versus Society
The values and customs by which everyone else lives are being challenged. The character may come to an untimely end as a result of his or her own convictions. The character may, on the other hand, bring others around to a sympathetic point of view, or it may be decided that society was right after all.

Man versus Self
Internal conflict. Not all conflict involves other people. Sometimes people are their own worst enemies. An internal conflict is a good test of a character’s values. Does he give in to temptation or rise above it? Does he demand the most from himself or settle for something less? Does he even bother to struggle? The internal conflicts of a character and how they are resolved are good clues to the character’s inner strength.
Often, more than one kind of conflict is taking place at the same time. In every case, however, the existence of conflict enhances the reader’s understanding of a character and creates the suspense and interest that make you want to continue reading.

FORESHADOWING

An author’s use of hints or clues to suggest events that will occur later in the story. Not all foreshadowing is obvious. Frequently, future events are merely hinted at through dialogue, description, or the attitudes and reactions of the characters.

Foreshadowing frequently serves two purposes. It builds suspense by raising questions that encourage the reader to go on and find out more about the event that is being foreshadowed. Foreshadowing is also a means of making a narrative more believable by partially preparing the reader for events which are to follow.

IRONY

Irony is the contrast between what is expected or what appears to be and what actually is.

Verbal Irony
The contrast between what is said and what is actually meant.

Irony of Situation
This refers to a happening that is the opposite of what is expected or intended.

Dramatic Irony
This occurs when the audience or reader knows more than the characters know.

TONE/MOOD

Tone
The author’s attitude, stated or implied, toward a subject. Some possible attitudes are pessimism, optimism, earnestness, seriousness, bitterness, humorous, and joyful. An author’s tone can be revealed through choice of words and details.

Mood
The climate of feeling in a literary work. The choice of setting, objects, details, images, and words all contribute towards creating a specific mood. For example, an author may create a mood of mystery around a character or setting but may treat that character or setting in an ironic, serious, or humorous tone

SYMBOLISM

A person, place or object which has a meaning in itself but suggests other meanings as well. Things, characters and actions can be symbols. Anything that suggests a meaning beyond the obvious.
Some symbols are conventional, generally meaning the same thing to all readers.
For example: bright sunshine symbolizes goodness and water is a symbolic cleanser.

THEME

The main idea or underlying meaning of a literary work. A theme may be stated or implied. Theme differs from the subject or topic of a literary work in that it involves a statement or opinion about the topic. Not every literary work has a theme. Themes may be major or minor. A major theme is an idea the author returns to time and again. It becomes one of the most important ideas in the story. Minor themes are ideas that may appear from time to time.

It is important to recognize the difference between the theme of a literary work and the subject of a literary work. The subject is the topic on which an author has chosen to write. The theme, however, makes some statement about or expresses some opinion on that topic. For example, the subject of a story might be war while the theme might be the idea that war is useless.

Four ways in which an author can express themes are as follows:

1. Themes are expressed and emphasized by the way the author makes us feel.. By sharing feelings of the main character you also share the ideas that go through his mind.

2. Themes are presented in thoughts and conversations. Authors put words in their character’s mouths only for good reasons. One of these is to develop a story’s themes. The things a person says are much on their mind. Look for thoughts that are repeated throughout the story.

3. Themes are suggested through the characters. The main character usually illustrates the most important theme of the story. A good way to get at this theme is to ask yourself the question, what does the main character learn in the course of the story?

4. The actions or events in the story are used to suggest theme. People naturally express ideas and feelings through their actions. One thing authors think about is what an action will "say". In other words, how will the action express an idea or theme?
IMAGERY: Language that appeals to the senses. Descriptions of people or objects stated in terms of our senses.

FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

Whenever you describe something by comparing it with something else, you are using figurative language. Any language that goes beyond the literal meaning of words in order to furnish new effects or fresh insights into an idea or a subject. The most common figures of speech are simile, metaphor, and alliteration.

Simile
A figure of speech which involves a direct comparison between two unlike things, usually with the words like or as. Example: The muscles on his brawny arms are strong as iron bands.

Metaphor
A figure of speech which involves an implied comparison between two relatively unlike things using a form of be. The comparison is not announced by like or as. Example: The road was a ribbon of moonlight.

Alliteration
Repeated consonant sounds occurring at the beginning of words or within words. Alliteration is used to create melody, establish mood, call attention to important words, and point out similarities and contrasts. Example: wide-eyed and wondering while we wait for others to waken.

Personification
A figure of speech which gives the qualities of a person to an animal, an object, or an idea. It is a comparison which the author uses to show something in an entirely new light, to communicate a certain feeling or attitude towards it and to control the way a reader perceives it. Example: a brave handsome brute fell with a creaking rending cry--the author is giving a tree human qualities.

Onomatopoeia
The use of words that mimic sounds. They appeal to our sense of hearing and they help bring a description to life. A string of syllables the author has made up to represent the way a sound really sounds. Example: Caarackle!

Hyperbole
An exaggerated statement used to heighten effect. It is not used to mislead the reader, but to emphasize a point. Example: She’s said so on several million occasions

Some cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.
02-13-2008 11:39 AM
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Darthmat Offline
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Post: #2
Re: Basic Literary Vocabulary

Wow, great list.

I am so proud of myself, I new most of that already. Razz

I highly suggest Mobb Deep's albums The Infamous and Hell on Earth, if you have not listened to it yet.
02-13-2008 11:45 AM
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WildFire Offline
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Post: #3
Re: Basic Literary Vocabulary

My teacher tought us the same things, but it's always nice to have something as a reference as you're writing.

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02-14-2008 02:22 AM
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Rebelnerd Offline
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Post: #4
Re: Basic Literary Vocabulary

jesus, it took them YEARS to go over that in school, and i read it in about a minute. why couldn't they just give us a sheet like that at the beginning?

I think Buenaventura Durruti is a pretty cool guy. eh kills fascists and doesnt afraid of ruins.
The quickest way to kill a revolution is to wait for it.
02-14-2008 02:25 AM
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WildFire Offline
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Re: Basic Literary Vocabulary

I know, they should have. It would have been conveniant.

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02-14-2008 02:31 AM
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Darthmat Offline
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Re: Basic Literary Vocabulary

Agreed. >[

I highly suggest Mobb Deep's albums The Infamous and Hell on Earth, if you have not listened to it yet.
02-14-2008 07:18 AM
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Suicidal-kun Offline
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Re: Basic Literary Vocabulary

Want to know what annoys me? That they constantly have to go over the same thing, over and over again! Want an example? I learned about synonyms and antonyms in fucking elementary school, now in 10th grade, we're still going over them! Why the fuck do we have to waste time going over things we've already learned years ago????
02-14-2008 10:44 AM
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WildFire Offline
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Re: Basic Literary Vocabulary

They claim they teach you more complex levels of previously learned stuff, to refresh your memory. Sure id forget it. But if I read them again once, it'd come back to me.

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02-19-2008 12:10 PM
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monkey Away
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Post: #9
Re: Basic Literary Vocabulary

WildFire Wrote:I know, they should have. It would have been conveniant.

We all no that nothing can be easy and everything must be overcomplicated. are you thinking we coud actually learn easyly?

Had to move on. Account is dead.
04-12-2008 01:58 PM
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xcriteria Offline
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Re: Basic Literary Vocabulary

Rebelnerd Wrote:jesus, it took them YEARS to go over that in school, and i read it in about a minute. why couldn't they just give us a sheet like that at the beginning?

Suicidal-kun Wrote:Want to know what annoys me? That they constantly have to go over the same thing, over and over again! Want an example? I learned about synonyms and antonyms in fucking elementary school, now in 10th grade, we're still going over them! Why the fuck do we have to waste time going over things we've already learned years ago????

Yeah I hate that. Learning can be compacted so much vs. how they teach in school. Nice summary, Vatman.
04-23-2008 07:32 AM
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AMomentOfClarity Offline
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Post: #11
Re: Basic Literary Vocabulary

Biggrin, As much as I knew most of the stuff on this page already It was very simple too read I feel that even some of the younger people in secondary schools can understand it I’m pretty damn impressed. Scratchchin
01-08-2010 12:19 AM
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Loxor Offline
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Re: Basic Literary Vocabulary

Huge bump is huge?

Also, this thread deserved to be bumped, as it is awesome.

Anything that ever happened or will... one condition, it has to be amazing.

I gave her wings but she don't wanna fly no more.

I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time
01-08-2010 01:31 AM
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IllusoryDeath Away
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Post: #13
Re: Basic Literary Vocabulary

Karus Wrote:Also, this thread deserved to be bumped, as it is awesome.
01-08-2010 08:21 AM
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