Literary Terms – Sixth Grade Alliteration – the repetition of initial consonant sounds. Used to draw attention to certain words or ideas, to imitate sounds, and create musical effects
Analogy – a comparison between two or more things that are similar in some way, but unlike in others
Antagonist – a character or force in conflict with the main character (protagonist)
Autobiography– story of the writer’s own life, told by the writer. They are a form of nonfiction and are generally written in first person.
Biography – life story of a person told by another person. They are a form of nonfiction, but effective biographies share qualities of a good narrative.
Character – person or an animal that take part in the action of a literary work
Major character – the most important character(s) in the story
Internal – character struggles within the mind of self, to make a decision, take action, or overcome a feeling
Connotation– set of ideas associated with a word, in addition to its explicit meaning. It can be personal, based on individual experiences
Denotation – the dictionary meaning of a word, independent of other associations that the word may have.
Example: lake – denotation is “an inland body of water.” Connotations might be “Vacation spot” and “place where fishing is good.”
Dialect– form of a language spoken by people in a particular region or group
Dialogue – spoken conversation between characters
Essay – short nonfiction work about a particular subject. Usually have a single focus, with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.
Exposition– writing or speech that explains a process or presents information
Fable – a brief story or poem, usually with animal characters, that teaches a lesson or moral.
Fantasy – highly imaginative writing that contain elements not found in real life
Fiction – prose writing that tells about imaginary characters and events
Figurative Language – writing or speech that is not to be taken literally
Metaphor – something is described as though it were something else, points out similarity between two unlike things
Simile – a comparison of two unlike things, using “like” or “as”
Prose– fiction (novels and short stories) and nonfiction (biography, autobiography, letters, essays, and reports)
Drama – serious drama and tragedy, comic drama, melodrama, and farce
Hero/Heroine – a character whose actions are inspiring or noble. They struggle to overcome the obstacle and problems that stand in their way.
Imagery – author’s use of words or phrases that appeal to one or more of the five senses
Inference – a form of reasoning based on the information given and what you already know through your own experiences. To make an inference is to draw a new conclusion from what is already known.
Irony– surprising, interesting, or amusing contradictions
Journal – a daily or periodic account of events and the writer’s thoughts and feelings about events
Legend – widely told story about the past
Moral – a lesson taught by a literary work. Moral must be made by the reader based on other elements in the story.
Motive – reason that explains or partially explains a character’s thoughts, feelings, actions, or speech
Myth – a fictional tale that explains the actions of gods or heroes ore the origins of elements of nature
Narrative – a story that is either fiction or nonfiction
Narrator – a speaker or character that tells a story
Narrator’s perspective – the way he or she see things
Third person narrator – stands outside the action and speaks about it
First person narrator – one who tells a story and participates in the action
Nonfiction - prose writing that presents and explains ideas or that tells about real people, places, objects, and events
Novel – a long work of fiction writing
Onomatopoeia – the use of words that imitate sounds
Persuasion – writing or speech that attempts to convince the reader or listener to adopt a particular opinion or course of action
Plot – the sequence of events in which each event results from a previous one and causes the next. Usually involves both characters and a central conflict.
Rising action – introduces the central conflict, events which lead up to the turning point, the climax
Climax – the turning point, the high point of interest or suspense
Falling action – events which lead to the end of the central conflict
Resolution, conclusion, or denouement – any events which occur during the falling action, bring about the end of the story
Poetry – one of the three major types of genre. Most poems use highly concise, musical, and emotionally charged language; making use of figurative language, imagery, and special devices, such as rhyme.
Point of View (POV) – the perspective or vantage point, from which a story is told.
First person – told by the narrator in the story who uses the first person pronoun “I”
Third person – a narrator outside the story, uses third-person pronouns “he,” and “she,” no use of “I” telling the story
Omniscient – the narrator knows and tells about what each character feels and thinks
Limited – the narrator relates the inner thoughts and feelings of one characters; and everything is viewed from this character’s perspective
Prose – the ordinary form of written language – fiction and nonfiction
Protagonist – the main character in a literary work
Science Fiction – combines elements of fiction and fantasy with scientific facts. Are generally set in the future
Sensory Language – writing or speech that appeals to one of more of the senses.
Setting – the time and place of the action of a story
Short story – a brief work of fiction that presents a sequence of events, or plot. Plot usually deals with central conflict of main character (protagonist). These events usually communicate a message about life or human nature (theme).
Surprise Ending –a conclusion that is unexpected. Often this is foreshadowed, or subtly hinted at, during the course of the work
Suspense – a feeling of anxious uncertainty about the outcome of events in the literary work
Symbol – anything that stands for or represents something else
Theme – a central message, concern, or purpose in a literary work. It is not a summary of the plot. It is a generalization, or general statement about human beings or about life.
Indirectly – the reader must figure out what the theme is by looking carefully at what the work reveals about people or about life