Literary Terms Packet
The terms in this packet will be used throughout the semester in literature discussions and on exams. Please memorize and be able to use and identify all terms in papers and on exams.
Some information in this packet came from Modern English by Arnold Lazarus, et.al. and A Dictionary of Literary, Dramatic, and Cinematic Terms by Sylvan Barnet, et.al.
A reference to someone or something that is known from history, literature, religion, politics or some other branch of culture. An example is Sandra Cisneros' "Straw into Gold," which is an allusion to the folktale about Rumpelstiltskin.
Example: "I have seen my head . . . brought in upon a platter" is an allusion to the execution of St. John the
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Give me back my gun." (I.C.) --what the character thinks and feels: She thought how she had never felt so humiliated in her life. She knew he'd never ask her out. (I.C.) --what other characters say about the character: "I don't like Happy. He is such a sexist and needs constant attention." (I.C.) Direct characterization is when the writer directly describes the character, telling us about her. Indirect characterization is the use of the last four techniques above. We have to infer what the character is like from the clues, just like we do in real life when we are getting to know someone. A dynamic character is one who changes in some important way as a result of the plot. A static character is one who does not change much in a story. A round character has more dimensions to his/her personality. S/he is more complex, just like we are. A flat character is one-dimensional and has only one or two personality traits. S/he usually can be summed up in a single phrase: loyal sidekick, nosy neighbor, etc. A foil is a character who acts as a contrast to another character. Tom Sawyer, for example is a foil to Huck Finn. Horatio is a foil to Hamlet. Chid'