World Literature (English 10) Terms + Definitions

Short Story

An imaginative prose narrative written to give the reader entertainment and insight. It is designed to produce a single impression or effect, and is short enough to be read in one sitting.


The arrangement of incidents or events (or sequence of related actions) within a story; usually develops from an initial conflict in the beginning of the story and shows the working out of the conflict until its resolution at the end.


Imaginary persons who carry out the action of the plot.


Central idea which gives the story meaning; the interpretation of the events (plot) and persons (characters) in the story from which we learn some truth of human experience. (Examples: Love, honesty, courage, faith, etc)


Time, place, and general background of the story.


The attitude or emotion of the author/narrator toward his subject or audience; the manner in which the writer of a story deals with his subject and the general effect it is meant to have on the audience.

What do the above terms (#2-6) contribute to the story?

The help give unity to the story.

Direct Exposition

The author tells the reader directly what the character is like.

Indirect Revelation

The author allows the reader to draw his own conclusions about a character from what the character himself does or thinks, or from what the other characters think of him.

Static Character

Remains essentially the same throughout the story.

Dynamic Character

Undergoes some change and is different at the end of the story.

Point of View

The method of presenting the reader with the material of the story; it is the perspective from which the story is told.

Omniscient Point of View

In an omniscient point of view, an all-knowing author is the narrator who comments freely on the actions and characters as he is able to delve into the minds of all characters and tell what they think or feel.

Limited Point of View

The author tells the story from the viewpoint of one character using either the first or third person.

Objective Point of View

The author presents the characters in action with no comment, allowing the reader to come to his own conclusions about them.


The rhythmical expression of beauty.


A short narrative song written in stanzas.


Groups of repeated line usually containing the same meter and rhyme scheme.


Conversation between characters.

Folk/Traditional Ballad

Earliest type of ballad; written anonymously; was originally sung.

Literary/Art Ballad

Consciously written by a poet in imitation of the folk ballad.

Dramatic Monologue

A poem which reveals a character through his conversation.

Into what three parts is a story divided?

Beginning, middle, and end.


A struggle between opposing forces.

External Conflict

Conflict is between a protagonist and antagonist.


Main character of a story.


An opposing character or rival in a story.

Internal Conflict

Conflict is within the mind of a character (man vs. self).


A feeling of uncertainty regarding a story's action or outcome that is designed to keep the reader's interest.


The point of highest intensity in a story.

How are detective and mystery stories similar to puzzles or math problems?

They provide intellectual excitement for the reader.


Suggested meanings or associations of a word.


Literal meanings of a word.


Use of words which appeal to our senses.


An expressed comparison of unlike things in which the words {like, as, resembles, or similar to} are used.


A comparison in which human qualities are given to an inanimate object or animal.


An implied comparison in which one thing is described in terms of another.


An exaggeration of the truth for purpose of emphasis.


A poem or story that has meaning in itself but also represents something beyond itself.


Addressing an inanimate object as if it were alive or addressing an absent person as if they were still present.

Verbal Irony

Saying the opposite of what is meant.

Dramatic Irony

Contrasting what a character says and what the reader or audience knows to be true.

Irony of Situation

Presenting a discrepancy between appearance and reality or between expectation and fulfillment.


The ridicule of human folly or vice with the purpose of correcting it; uses humor and sarcasm.


A narrative or description in which the characters, places, and other items are symbols.


The correspondence of sounds.


The regular recurrence of sound or motion.


Using words which sound like what they mean. (Examples: crash, hiss, pop, etc)

End Rhyme

The repetition of the accented or stressed vowel sound and all succeeding sounds in words which come at the ends of lines of poetry.

Internal Rhyme

Rhyming of words within a line of poetry.

Approximate Rhymes

Words that sound similar, but do not truly rhyme. (Example: from mice, promise)

Masculine Rhyme

One syllable words that rhyme. (Examples: wide, side)

Feminine Rhyme

Two or more syllable words that rhyme. (Examples: squeaking, speaking)


Use of initial consonant or vowel sounds that are the same. (Example: tried and true, safe than sorry)


Repetition of final consonant sounds. (Example: first, last)


Repetition of like vowel sounds followed by unlike consonants. (Example: time, mind, mile)


Words with a soft, smooth, or pleasant effect.


Words with a rough, harsh, or unpleasant effect.


When rhythm occurs at regular intervals; a poem's established rhythm.


The pattern in a line of poetry consisting of one accented syllable and one or two unaccented syllables.

What are the four basic feet of poetry?

Iamb, trochee, anapest, and dactyl.

Blank Verse

Unrhymed iambic pentameter.

Eye Rhyme

When two words look as if they should rhyme but do not. (Example: grave, have)


The construction of two or more thoughts in the same pattern.


The indulgence in emotion for its own sake without regard for honestly presenting the truth of human experience.

Fixed Form

A traditional pattern which applies to the whole poem.

Continuous Form

A poem that is written line upon line with no grouping of lines or breaks.

Stanzaic Form

A poem written in stanzas.


Two-line stanza.


Three-line stanza.


Four-line stanza.


Five-line stanza.


Six-line stanza.


Seven-line stanza.


Eight-line stanza.


A phrase or sentence which is repeated at intervals in a poem, usually at the end of a stanza.


A fourteen-line poem (usually written in iambic pentameter) with a definite pattern of two basic varieties, Italian or English.

Italian/Petrarchan Sonnet

Has two parts: An octave and a sestet, which represent a division in thought - The octave responds to the sestet by making a comment, giving an example, or answering a question. Has a rhyme scheme of {abba abba} and raises a question or presents a situati

English/Shakespearean Sonnet

Contains three quatrains which present three examples or ideas, a couplet which presents a conclusion to the quatrains, and has a rhyme scheme of {abab,cdcd,efef,gg}.


A fixed form of five lines with an anapestic rhythm and a rhyme scheme of {aabba}.


Japanese form of poetry; usually unrhymed; consists of three lines with five, seven, and five syllables respectively.


A five-line poem of 2,4,6,8, and 2 syllables.

Figure Poem/Shaped Verse

Constructed in such a way that the printed shape suggests the topic of the poem.

Free Verse

Poetry that usually has no rhyme or meter; tends to follow the normal rhythms and cadences of speech.