Literary Terms Short Story Unit Protagonist – the main character of the story; the one who has to deal with the conflict(s) Antagonist



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Literary Terms - Short Story Unit
Protagonist – the main character of the story; the one who has to deal with the conflict(s)
Antagonist – The force that works against the protagonist; does not have to be a person.

Foil: a foil character is either one who is in most ways opposite to the main character or nearly the same as the main character. The purpose of the foil character is to emphasize the traits of the main character by comparison or contrast.

Dynamic character: a dynamic character is one who changes by the end of the story, learning something that changes him or her in a permanent way. 

Static character: A static character does not change; he or she is the same person at the end of the story as he was at the beginning.

Round character: a round character is fully developed; readers may even be able to anticipate the actions of a round character if the characterization is well done and consistent.

Flat character: we know very little about a flat character; flat characters are not meant to serve as main characters. They serve as necessary elements in plot or as elements of the setting.

First person point of view: the narrator, usually the protagonist, tells the story from his/her perspective using I, me, we, etc.

Second person point of view: a story told using "you," which places the reader immediately and personally into the story

Third person omniscient point of view: the narrator uses third person pronouns (he/she/they etc.) and is God-like: all knowing (omniscient). This type of narrator is not limited by time or space.

Third person limited point of view: the narrator tells the story using third person pronouns but limits herself to what one character can sense; the limitations are the same as in first person.

Tone: The author or poet's attitude or feeling toward a person, a thing, a place, event or situation. It is also the emotional feeling in the poem/story.

Theme: The theme is what the author wants us to know about the general truth of the story. For example, if the story is about "love," the author probably knows something about love that he/she conveys through the story and the characters. Theme is an idea that is true for most people over time and across cultures.



Symbol/Symbolism: A symbol is a person, place, thing or idea that stands for something else. Water can symbolize purity. Light (as in sun light) often is used to symbolize knowledge or truth.



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