the differences between genres and styles

Literary Terms 3


In any field of study, you will find vocabulary and terms that are unique to that field. As you study literature, and in particular the differences between genres and styles across the decades covered in this course. You will find it helpful to utilize the particular terms associated with reading and analyzing works of literature.

Learning these terms will help you as you work through the readings. Write about literature in your writing assignments, and prepare you for the final exam. Please make a note of any unfamiliar terms and their definitions, so that you may refer to them while studying. Many of these may be found in the glossary of your text, and some may be found within the lessons as you progress through the course.

Interior Monologue 

An extended speech or narrative, presumed to be thought rather than spoken by a character.


Identification with another’s situation so as to experience similar emotions and physical sensations.


The main idea or underlying meaning that is explored in a story.

Magical Realism

A narrative technique developed by many Caribbean, Central. And South American writers who interweave personal daily life and vivid, often fantastical images.


A reference to a concrete image, object, character, pattern. Or action whose associations evoke significant meanings beyond the literal ones.


A word or group of words evoking concrete visual, auditory, or tactile associations.

Elements of Fiction

Plot, characters, setting, point of view, style, and theme in a story.

Frame Story  

A story that contains another story or stories within it.

Omniscient Narrator

A storyteller who seems to know everything about a story’s events and characters, even their inner feelings.


A way of writing or speaking that asserts the opposite of what the author, reader, and character know to be true.

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