Glossary

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GLOSSARY
Narrative
Narrative - a sequence of events that a narrator tells in story form. - a storyteller of any
kind, whether the authorial voice in a novel
Point of View - the perspective that a narrative takes toward the events it describes.
First-person narration: A narrative in which the narrator tells the story from his/her own
point of view and refers to him/herself as "I." The narrator may be an active participant in
the story or just an observer. When the point of view represented is specifically the
author's, and not a fictional narrator's, the story is autobiographical and may
be nonfictional
Third-person narration: The narrator remains outside the story and describes the
characters in the story using proper names and the third-person pronouns "he," "she," "it,"
and "they."
Omniscient narration: The narrator knows all of the actions, feelings, and motivations of all
of the characters.
Limited omniscient narration: The narrator knows the actions, feelings, and motivations of
only one or a handful of characters.
Free indirect discourse: The narrator conveys a character's inner thoughts while staying
in the third person "Sometimes she thought that these were after all the best days of her
life, the honeymoon, so-called."
Objective narration: A style in which the narrator reports neutrally on the outward
behavior of the characters but offers no interpretation of their actions or their inner
states. Ernest Hemingway pioneered this style.
Unreliable narration: The narrator is revealed over time to be an untrustworthy source of
information.

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GLOSSARY
Stream-of-consciousness narration: The narrator conveys a subject's thoughts,
impressions, and perceptions exactly as they occur, often in disjointed fashion and without
the logic and grammar of typical speech and writing. Molly Bloom's monologue in the final
chapter of James Joyce's Ulysses is an example of stream of consciousness. While
stream-of-consciousness narration usually is written in the first person, it can, by means
of free indirect discourse , be written in the third person, as in Virginia Woolf's Mrs.
Dalloway.…read more

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GLOSSARY
Conflict: The central struggle that moves the plot forward. The conflict can be the
protagonist's struggle against fate, nature, society, or another person. In certain
circumstances, the conflict can be between opposing elements within the protagonist.
Rising action: The early part of the narrative, which builds momentum and develops the
narrative's major conflict.
Climax: The moment of highest tension, at which the conflict comes to a head.…read more

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GLOSSARY
Figures of Speech
Figures of speech are expressions that stretch words beyond their literal meanings. By
connecting or juxtaposing different sounds and thoughts, figures of speech increase the
breadth and subtlety of expression.
Aposiopesis: A breaking-off of speech, usually because of rising emotion or excitement.
For example, "Touch me one more time, and I swear--"
Apostrophe: A direct address to an absent or dead person, or to an object, quality, or idea.…read more

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GLOSSARY
Mixed metaphor: A combination of metaphors that produces a confused or contradictory
image, such as "The company's collapse left mountains of debt in its wake."
Metonymy: The substitution of one term for another that generally is associated with it.
For example, "suits" instead of "businessmen."
Pathetic fallacy: The attribution of human feeling or motivation to a nonhuman object,
especially an object found in nature. For example, John Keats's "Ode to Melancholy"
describes a "weeping" cloud.…read more

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GLOSSARY
Literary Techniques
Whereas figures of speech work on the level of individual words or sentences, writers also
use a variety of techniques to add clarity or intensity to a larger passage, advance the plot
in a particular way, or suggest connections between elements in the plot.
Allusion: An implicit reference within a literary work to a historical or literary person,
place, or event.
Anagnorisis: A moment of recognition or discovery, primarily used in reference to Greek
tragedy.…read more

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GLOSSARY
Brontë's Wuthering Heights, the nightmares Lockwood has the night he spends in
Catherine's bed prefigure later events in the novel.
In medias rest: Latin for "in the middle of things." The term refers to the technique of
starting a narrative in the middle of the action. For example, John Milton's Paradise
Lost, which concerns the war among the angels in Heaven, opens after the fallen angels
already are in Hell and only later examines the events that led to their expulsion from
Heaven.…read more

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GLOSSARY
aware of. "Baldricks bullet"When used in tragedy, dramatic irony is called tragic
irony.
Cosmic irony: The perception of fate or the universe as malicious or indifferent to
human suffering, which creates a painful contrast between our purposeful activity
and its ultimate meaninglessness. Thomas Hardy's novels abound in cosmic irony.
Melodrama: The use of sentimentality, gushing emotion, or sensational action or plot
twists to provoke audience or reader response.…read more

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GLOSSARY
Thematic Meaning
Literature becomes universal when it draws connections between the particular and the
general. Often, certain levels of a literary work's meaning are not immediately evident. The
following terms relate to the relationship between the words on the page and the deeper
significance those words may hold.
Archetype: A theme, motif, symbol, or stock character that holds a familiar and fixed
place in a culture's consciousness.…read more

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GLOSSARY
Common Literary Forms and Genres
Aphorism: A concise expression of insight or wisdom: "The vanity of others offends our
taste only when it offends our vanity" (Friedrich Nietzsche,Beyond Good and Evil).
Autobiography: The nonfictional story of a person's life, told by that person.
Ballad: Traditionally, a folk song telling a story or legend in simple language, often with a
refrain.
Biography: The nonfictional story of a person's life.…read more

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