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58 Cards in this Set

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A story in which the characters and their actions are equated with general truths about human conduct. The characters in an allegory often represent abstract concepts, such as faith, innocence, or evil. See SYMBOL.
A reference to a famous historical, fictional, or mythological person, place, or event outside the story. Allusions enrich a story by suggesting similarities to comparable circumstances in another time or place.
The character (or force) that is in direct conflict with the protagonist. An antagonist may be another person, the physical or social environment, or some aspect of the protagonist's personality. See PROTAGONIST.
A ludicrous or trivial incident that occurs instead of an expected event of significance. Sometimes the anticlimax appears in the middle of the story as an intentional digression. More often it takes plave after the story has reached its climax. See CLIMAX.
An image, plot pattern, or character type that recurs frequently in myth, religion, folklore, or literature According to the psychologist Carl Jung, archetypal experiences such as birth and death form part of the "collective unconscious" that the mind inherits from its racial or cultural past.
Authorial Statement
An interpretation of the events in a story by the author or indirectly by one of the charcters. See THEME.
A person in the story. Most stories contain one or more major characters and several minor characters. (Dynamic, Flat, Round, Static)
Dynamic Character
A person who undergoes significant development or change during the story.
Flat Character
A person with little depth or complexity who may be described in one or two phrases.
Round Character
A person with a fully deceloped, complex (even contradictory) personality who defies simple analysis or description.
Static Character
A person who remains essentially unchanged throughout the story.
The methods by which writers create, reveal, or develop their characters. Writeres can focus on the external reality of the characters by describing their appearance, actions, or manner of speech. They can also portray the inner reality of their characters by revealing their thoughts and feelings.
The moment in the story when the major action reaches its turning point. The climax (also called the crisis) marks the end of the story's development and propels it twoard conclusion. See ANTICLIMAX.
That part of the plot in which the various conflicts that have been introduced in the exposition are developed in greater detail before they reach the climax.
The struggle that grows out of the collision of various forces within a story. Although such conflicts may be many, often clashing with one anotehr on several levels, they usually occur in three patterns: (1) the conflict between one person and another, (2) the conflict between a person and that pereson's physical or social environment, (3) the conflict between a person and some aspect of his or her personality. See ANTAGONIST, PROTAGONIST.
The suggested or implied meaning of a word, as contrasted with its literal meaning or denotation. These additional associations may be personal (the result of individual experience) or universal (the product of the collective human experience). See DENOTATION.
The moment in the story when the major action reaches its turning point (also called the climax) marks the end of the story's develoopment and propels it twoards conclusion.
Critical Analysis
The systematic divsion of a work of literature (in this case a short story) into its various parts (or elements) in order to achieve a better understanding of the whole.
The literal dictionary definition of a word, apart from any emotional or intellectual association or connotation it may evoke. See CONNOTATION.
A French word meaning the untangling of a knot. As applied to fiction, the term refers to the conclusion of a story where the various conflits (knots) are resolved (untangled). The denouement may add a surpirsing twist to the story, but it does not usually add new information. See RESOLUTION.
The direct speech of characters in a story, punctuated by quotation marks. Dialogue can be used to introduce or explain the conflict in a plot, to represent the qualities of various characters, or to reveal the point of view of the centeral character or narrator.
A brief period of action, often complete in itself, that forms part of a larger narrative. A story may contain several related episodes that advance the plot toward the single scene or episode that marks the climax.
The part of the story near the beginning that introduces ("exposes") the elements of setting, character, and conflict that exist prior to the major action of the story.
A brief narrative devised to illustrate a moral lesson The chief characters in a fable are often animals who talk and act like human beings. The plots of many fables come from folklore or supersitition and focus on unusual or supernatural events.
An interruption in the flow of a story to introduce an earlier scene or episode. Various devices ranging from simple recollection to dream sequences can be used to present information from the past that helps explain or comment on the present situation in the narrative.
A character who enhances and clarifies the features of the protagonist by providing a direct and distinctive contrast to the major character.
The introduction of clues early in the story to suggest or anticipate significant events that will develop later.
The use of words or figures of speech to create a mental picture. Imagery exploits all five senses to produce a single powerful impression or to create a cluster of impressions that conveys a dominant mood.
A term that suggests some sort of discrepancy between appearance and reality. Although irony is a broad term that can be applied to events both trivial and tragic, it depends on the ability of the reader to recognize contradictions and incongruities Irony usually takes three forms: (1) Verbal Irony, (2) Dramatic Irony, (3) Situational Irony.
Verbal Irony
Speech in which what is said is directly opposite to what is meant. Verbal irony differs from sarcasm in that the tone of the speaker is lighter, even though the effect produced may be just as devastating.
Dramatic Irony
A circumstance in which characters reaveal their inability to understand their own situation. Dramatic irony is most effective when characters make fateful choices based on information that the reader realizes is incorrect. A descrepancy between what characters know and reader know.
Situational Irony
A situation that demonstrates an incongruity between what the reader expects or presumes to be appropriate and what actually occurs.
A figure of speech in which an imaginative comparison is made between two dissimilar things witout the use of the word like or as.
The character traits, environmental forces, desires, and goals that alone or in combination explain a character's pattern of behavior.
The person who tells the story. The narrator may be a character who is directly or indirectly inovolved in the action, or a detached observer who wants to explain what happened. See also POINT OF VIEW.
The speed with which events are narrated. Some stories can be told quickly, with details omitted, time compressed, and events summarized. Others must be told slowly, with all details included, time extended, and events dramatized as scenes. The pace of a story will vary according to the nature of the events being recounted and their importance to the plot.
A short narrative offered as an answer to a difficult moral question or to illustrate a moral truth. See FABLE.
A rhetorical device making an assertion that on one level appears to be a contradiction but that on another level may actuallly be true.
A composition that imitates the distincitve features of a serious piece of writing for coming or satiric purposes. See SATIRE.
The essential structure of a story arranged according to a coherent sequence of events. The plot is usually divided into three major parts: (1) the EXPOSITION, where the existing conflicts are established; (2) the COMPLICATION where new conflictsa re introduced or old conflictsa re increased in internsity until they reach a climax or crisis; and (3) the DENOUEMENT, where the conflicts are resolved.
Point of View
The vantage point or perspective from which the story is told. Point of view refers to both position (the narrator's proximity to the action in time and space) and person (the narrator's character and attitude). See also NARRATOR. There are four basic point of views: (1) Third-Person Omniscient, (2) Third-Person Limited Omniscient, (3) First-Person, (4) Objective.
Third-Person Omniscient
The narrator, usually assumed to be the author, tells the story. He or she can move at will through time, across space, and into the mind of each character to tell us anything we need to know to understand the story.
Third-Person Limited Omniscient
Although the author is still the narrator, he or she gives up total omniscience and limits the point o fview to the experience and perception of one character in the story. Instead of knowing everything, the reader knows only what this one character knows or is able to learn.
The aouthor selects one of the characters in the narrative to tell the story. This character may be involved in the action or may view it from the position of an observer. This character may tell about events as they are happening or many years after they have taken place.
The author presents the external action of the story as if it were being filmed by a movie camera. The story is presented without any attempt to comment on or interpret the characters' private thoughts or feelings. All that the reader knows about the event must be inferred from the characters' public words and deeds.
The character who is engated in the central conflict of the story, sometimes called the hero or heroine. See ANTAGONIST, CHARACTER, CONFLICT, FOIL.
Reflexive Fiction
Fiction in which the reader is reminded directly or indirectly that the story is artifice, the creation of a writer who is consciously shaping all the narrative elements, not reporting facts. The effect is to draw the reader into a consideration of the creative process as well as that which is created; it is an increasingly common approach in modern writing, especially in experimental fiction. See VERISMILITUDE.
The events that occur after the climax and bring the conflicts n the story to an appropriate conclusion. See DENOUEMENT, PLOT.
A sudden change or turnabout in the fortunes of the protagonist.
A work of literature that ridicules vice or folly in ideas, institutions, or individuals. Although a satiric work treats its subject with varying degrees of amusement and scorn, its ultimate purpose is to bring about improvement by calling attention - either directly or indirectly - to higher standards of human behavior. See PARODY.
The time, place, and social reality within which a story takes place. In a limited sense, setting refers to the physical landscape; in a broader sense, setting refers to the cultural landscape - the assumptions, rituals, and shared beliefs that shape the characters and their world.
An oversimplified character who recurs so frequently in literary works that his or her behavior has become predictable.
A writer's distinctive manner of expression. Among the many features that characterize a writer's style are diction, sentence structure, and strategies for selecting, analyzing, and interpreting experience. See TONE, VOICE.
A person, act, or thing that has both literal significance and additional abstract meanings. Unlike an allegory, where such things are equated with one or two abstract ideas, a symbol usually refers to several complex ideas that may radiate contradictory or ambiguous meanings. See ALLEGORY. Something that is itself and stands for something else.
The central or unifying idea about human experience that grows out of all the other elements in the story. Occasionally the theme may be stated directly by the author or indirectly by one of the characters. More often the theme must be derived from an attempt to understand the complex interaction of forces within the narrative. Argument of the story (developed reasoned thinking).
The author's attitude towards the situations and characters in the story. By combining a variety of verbal strategies - diction, sentence structure, imagery, and symbloism - authors create a tone that establishes the mood, atmosphere, or emotion coling of a story. See STYLE, VOICE.
The attempt to make fictional elements seem lifelike and real rather than creations of the writer. Until very recently, most fiction aimed at a sense of verisimilitude. See REFLEXIVE FICTION.
The personality of the author or narrator that is reeald through a distinctive and habitual mode of expression. See STYLE, TONE.