Literary terms


Functions of setting

Setting as a mirror = a storm breaks out as one of the characters in the story is feeling confused and angry

Setting as an antagonist = the main character in the story rebels against his restrictive social environment

Setting as a way of revealing character = the story is set in a grey and depressing urban setting, however, in a moment of great happiness one of the characters sees the world around him as joyous and celebratory.


Protagonist = the central character of the plot

Antagonist = the character against whom the central character struggles

Round character = a character who shows emotional and intellectual depth and who is capable of growing and changing

Flat character = a character who embodies or represents a single characteristic

Type or caricature = often a one – dimensional character who is distorted for humorous purposes

Dynamic character = a character who changes as a result of the experiences he has had

Static character = a character who remains untouched by the events in the story.

Methods for conveying character

The technique of telling = the author interrupts the narrative to comment on the character’s personality, thoughts or actions

The technique of showing = the author allows the character to reveal themselves through what they do and say.

PLOT – refers to an author’s arrangement of the events that make up a story. The plot of a work is not necessarily the same time as the story. Stories usually follow a chronological order: they start at the beginning and proceed chronologically until the end. Plots do not always follow this pattern. Many writers choose to mix up events in order to provoke specific response in the reader.

THEME is the central idea that directs and shapes the subject matter of a story play, or poem. It is the view of life or insights into human experiences that the author wishes to communicate to his reader. The theme of a literary work should not be confused with the subject or the story. To say that a work is about love is not identifying the theme, it is merely stating the subject matter. Saying what happens in a story is also not a way of identifying the theme, it is simply summarizing the plot. The theme s the abstract, generalized comment or statement the author makes about the subject of the story. It is the answer tot the question “ What does the story mean?”, not “What is the story about?”




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