Literary Terms Notes

Literary Elements Notes


1.       Setting: The time and location where a story takes place.

2.       Plot: All the events in a story.

3.       Conflict: Opposition between characters or forces

4.       Theme: The main idea or underlying meaning of a literary work.

5.       Motif: A recurring object or concept in a work of literature.

6.       Exposition: The purpose of exposition is to provide some background and inform the readers about the plot, character, setting, and theme of the essay or story.

7.       Rising Action: Follows the exposition and builds suspense, leading up to the climax.

8.       Climax: The point of highest tension or drama in a work of literature.

9.       Falling Action: The part of the plot after the climax that shows the effects of the climax and leads to the resolution.

10.   Resolution: The conclusion of the plot’s conflicts, where the problem of the story is resolved or worked out.

11.   Metaphor: A comparison of two unlike things without using “like” or “as”

12.   Simile: A comparison of two unlike things using “like” or “as”

13.   Allusion: A reference to an event, place, literary work, or myth.  It is left to the reader to make the connection between the allusion and the story.

14.   Idiom: An expression whose meaning is not clear by knowing the literal meaning of the words.  For example: “Kick the bucket” or “Let the cat out of the bag.”

15.   Onomatopoeia: A word that imitates a sound.  “Boom” or “Swish”

16.   Alliteration: The repetition of a consonant sound in the first syllable of a series of words. 

17.   Hyperbole: An exaggeration.

18.   Personification: To give human qualities to a nonliving object or idea.