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Literary Terms for 8th Grade

Alliteration- the repetition of initial constant sounds


Allusion- a reference to a well known person, place, event or work of art or story
Antagonist- a character or force in conflict with the main character
Assonance- repetition of a vowel sound Atmosphere- feeling created by a literary work
Autobiography- story about someone's life written by the person
Ballad- song-like poem that tells a story Biography- story of someone's life
Blank Verse- a poem without a rhyme or a beat
Character (major & minor)- a person or an animal who takes place in the story; major is a
character that has a big part in the story, a minor character is a character that has less of a
role in the story
Climax- the point of the story where the story line reaches its high point Conflict- a struggle
between opposing forces
Couplet- a two lined stanza
Denouement- the ending or the closing of a story
Dialect- regional version of a language
Dialogue- spoken words between characters
Exposition- a writing or a speech that informs or explains
Fable- a brief story with animals with a lesson of moral
Fantasy- a writing that has many elements not contained in real life
Fiction- a writing that tells about imaginary characters and/or events Flat Character- a
character with only one or two personalities and has little history Folk Tale-a type of story
that is passed down by word of mouth
Foot- a group of stresses within a line
Foreshadowing- a method of hinting what is to come later in the story earlier in the book
Free Verse- a poem with no pattern rhythm or beat
Genre- a type of story; science-fiction, fantasy, fiction, horror and biography
Hero/Heroine- the character in the story that the reader is supposed to side with and does all
of the brave and daring obstacles in the story
Hyperbole- an exaggeration for affect
Iamb- a type of foot
Imaginary- not real; a mental picture
Irony- a contradiction to support the story
Legend- a widely told stories that may or may not be true
Lyric Poem- a musical poem that puts out the poet's view
Metaphor- a figure of speech as something is described as something else Meter- a poem in a
rhythm pattern
Moral- a lesson teaching literary work
Onomatopoeia-`words used in place of the sound: Crash, Bang and Boom Oxymoron- words
phrase that is a contradiction of itself- sweet and sour sauce
Parable- a short story with a simple moral lesson
Pentameter- a verse written in five-foot lines
Personification- a figurative type of speech that uses non-humans in human phases: Mother-
Earth, Father Time
Plot- the outline of the story and the main ideas and events
Point of View- the way a person looks on a happening, event, place or person Protagonist- the
character or force the main character is up against Rhyme- the repetition of sound at the
ends of words
Rhyme Scheme- the way a rhyme is set up
Rhythm- the beat for a poem
Round Character- a character, that has many emotions and a deep history
Science Fiction- a writing that tells about imaginary events that involve science or technology
Setting- the time and place the story takes place
Simile- a figure of speech that makes a direct comparison between two unlike subjects using
like and as
Sonnet- a poem that contains fourteen lines
Stanza- a group of lines in a poem considered as a unit
Symbol- anything that stands or represents something else
Theme- a central message or insight into the life expressed in the literary work
Tone- the attitude toward the subject and audience conveyed by the language and rhythm of
the speaker in a literary work
Jargon- confused, nonsensical, meaningless talk; usually of a particular group or activity
Syntax- the way words are put together to form phrases, clauses, or sentences Omniscient-
having infinite awareness, understanding, and insight
Implicit- understood though not directly stated Explicit- clearly and precisely expressed
Idiom- a speech form or expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its
separate words as in keep tabs on
Expository- serving to explain something
Flashback- a section of a literary work that interrupts the sequence of events to relate an event
from an earlier time
Epic- a long poem in elevated style narrating the deeds of a hero