Materi Kuliah Literature

May 26, 2011 at 3:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fiction Terms

Here are terms that you should become comfortable using in verbal/written communication about fiction. Note: additional terms may be given in class.

Character: an imagined person in a literary work (Romeo or Young Goodman Brown, for example).

Flat characters: are one-dimensional figures, figures with simple personalities. They show none of the human depth, complexity, and contrariness of a round character or of most real people.

Round characters are complex figures. A round character is a full, complex, multidimensional character whose personality reveals some of the richness and contradictoriness we are accustomed to observing in actual people, rather than the transparent obviousness of a flat character. We may see a significant change take place in a round character during the story.

Protagonist: The protagonist or hero is the central character in the story who engages our interest or sympathy. Sometimes, the term protagonist is preferable to hero, because the central character can be despicable as well as heroic.

Antagonist: the character or force that opposes the antagonist.

Motivation is the external forces (setting, circumstances) and internal forces (personality, temperament, morality, intelligence) that compel a character to act as he or she does in a story.

Irony: a contrast of some sort; reveals a reality different from what appears to be true.

Verbal irony: the irony is between what is said and what is meant (“You’re a great guy,” meant bitterly).

Dramatic irony: the contrast is between what the audience knows (a murderer waits in the bedroom) and what a character says (the victim enters the bedroom, innocently saying, “I think I’ll have a long sleep”).

Situational irony: when an incongruity exists between what is expected to happen and what actually happens (Macbeth usurps the throne, thinking he will then be happy, but the action leads him to misery).

Plot: the artistic arrangement of events in a story. Events can be presented in a variety of orders:
Chronological: the story is told in the order in which things happen. It begins with what happens first, then second, and so on, until the last incident is related.

In medias res: Latin for “in the midst of things.” We enter the story on the verge of some important moment.

Flashback: a device that informs us about events that happened before the opening scene of a work; often a scene relived in a character’s memory.

Exposition: the opening portion that sets the scene, introduces the main characters, tells us what happened before the story opened, and provides any other background information that we need in order to understand and care about the events to follow.

A conflict is a complication that moves to a climax. Conflict is the opposition presented to the main character of a story by another character, by events or situations, by fate, or by some act of the main character’s own personality or nature. More loosely defined for contemporary fiction, it is the problem or tension that must somehow be addressed (if not perfectly resolved) by the end of the story.

Suspense: the pleasurable anxiety we feel that heightens our attention to the story.

Foreshadowing: indication of events to come. The introduction of specific words, images, or events into a story to suggest or anticipate later events that are central the action and its resolution.

Climax: the moment of greatest tension in the story, at which the outcome is to be decided.

Denouement (French for “untying of the knot”): resolution; conclusion or outcome of story.
Epiphany: a moment of insight, discovery, or revelation by which a character’s life or view of life is greatly altered.

Point of View: Point of view refers to who tells the story and how it is told. What we know and how we feel about the events in a story are shaped by the author’s choice of a point of view.

Narrator: the teller of a story (not the author, but the invented speaker of the story).

There are two broad categories for points of view that storytellers can use:

The third-person narrator.
The first-person narrator.

The third-person narrator uses “he,” “she,” or “they,” to tell the story and does not participate in the action.

The first-person narrator uses “I” and is a major or minor participant in the action.

A second-person narrator, you is possible but rarely used because of the awkwardness in thrusting the reader into the story, as in “You are minding your own business on a park bench when a drunk steps out of the bushes and demands your lunch bag.”

Third-person narrator (nonparticipant)
Omniscient (the narrator takes us inside the character[s]
Selective omniscient or limited omniscient (the narrator takes us inside one or two characters)
Objective (the narrator is outside the characters)

First-person narrator (participant)
Major character
Minor character

Third-person narrator: No type of third-person (nonparticipant) may appear as a character in a story.
Omniscient narrator: is all-knowing.
Editorial omniscient: the narrator not only recounts actions and thoughts, but also judges.
Neutral omniscient allows characters’ actions and thoughts to speak for themselves.
The selective omniscient narrator is much more confined than the omniscient narrator. With selective omniscient, the author often restricts the narrator to the single perspective of either a major or a minor character. The way that people, places, and events appear to that character is the way that they appear to the reader.
Stream-of-consciousness: when limited omniscient attempts to record mental activity ranging from consciousness to the unconscious, from clear perceptions to confused longings.
Objective point of view employs a narrator who does NOT see into the mind of any character. From this detached and impersonal perspective, the narrator reports action and dialogue without telling us directly what characters feel and think. This point of view places a heavy emphasis on dialogue, actions, and details to reveal character.

With a first-person narrator, the “I” presents the point of view of only one character’s consciousness. The reader is restricted to the perceptions, thoughts, and feelings of that single character.
The first-person narrator can be a major character like the narrator in “A & P” ;
or a minor character (imagine how different the story would be if it had been told by Lengel the manager or by Stoksie, one of the co-workers).
An unreliable narrator is a fictional character whose interpretation of events is different from the author’s.
One type of unreliable narrator is the naive narrator (the innocent eye) who lacks the sophistication to interpret accurately what he/she sees. The reader understands more than the narrator does.

Setting: the locale, time, and social circumstances of a story (for instance, an Eastern town in winter, about 1950, in an upper-class private girls school).

Tone: the prevailing attitude (for instance, ironic, compassionate, objective) as perceived by the reader; the author’s feelings toward the central character or the main events.

Symbol: a person, object, action, or situation, that, charged with meaning, suggests another thing (for example, a dark forest may suggest confusion, or perhaps evil), though usually with less specificity and more ambiguity than allegory. A symbol usually differs from a metaphor in that a symbol is expanded or repeated and works by accumulating associations.

Theme: the central idea or meaning of a story; what the work is about. When you express the theme in your own words, it should be worded in a complete sentence and universally expressed.

Literary criticism: discourse–spoken or written–about literature.

Literary theory: criticism that tries to formulate general principles rather than discuss specific texts.


Flat characters are two-dimensional in that they are relatively uncomplicated and do not change throughout the course of a work. By contrast, round characters are complex and undergo development, sometimes sufficiently to surprise the reader.

Exposition is the background information on the characters and setting explained at the beginning story. The exposition will often have information about events that happened before the story began. The exposition is often the very first part of the Plot.

Inciting Force; the person(s) or incidents(s), or of both, which cause the protagonist to behave in a manner that initiates the conflict and the series of crises that result.

The Rising Action of a plot is the series of events that build up and create tension and suspense. This tension is a result of the basic conflict that exists and makes the story interesting.

Crisis is a point in a story or drama when a conflict reaches its highest tension and must be resolved.

The climax is when the conflict rises to its peak. A basic plot graph looks something like this: _/*\_ Climax (*) is the peak of the plot line.

Falling action is the part of a literary plot that occurs after the climax has been reached and the conflict has been resolved.

The conclusion in a story is usually when the end is.

The difference between novel and short story:

A short story is a fictional prose narrative shorter and more focussed than a novel, usually deal with a single character.

A novel is a fictional prose narrative of considerable length, usually having a plot that unfolds by actions, dialogue and thoughts of the varied characters.

Types of characters
Round vs. flat

In his book Aspects of the novel, E. M. Forster defined two basic types of characters, their qualities, functions, and importance for the development of the novel: flat characters and round characters. Flat characters are two-dimensional, in that they are relatively uncomplicated and do not change throughout the course of a work. By contrast, round characters are complex and undergo development, sometimes sufficiently to surprise the reader.

Point of view is the perspective from which a narrative is related.

The Narrative Point of View

The narrative point of view is the relationship assumed between the author or character that is telling the story and the characters.

First Person Narrative Point of View
This narrative point of view is told through the eyes of the writer, who is more often than not talking about a personal experience. This form of writing is identified by using “me, myself and I”. An example of this kind of writing would be: “I think this website has great writers”.

Second Person Narrative Point of View
Second person involves the writer communicating with the reader directly. It makes the reader feel as if the writer is talking to him on a deep, personal level. It is a friendly form of writing, characterized by the use of “you”. “I’m going to look into your eyes” or “You have nice legs” are examples of second person writing.

Third Person Narrative Point of View
This narrative point of view is a little different. It is impersonal. It is detached. It is considered the most professional approach to writing. Third person writing is a covert operation, where the writer completely detaches himself from the story. This is the most common narrative point of view for fiction writing because it gives the author the most freedom. It uses person pronouns such as “he”,”she”, “it”, or “they”.

A major character is any person, persona, identity, or entity that originated in a work of art. Along with plot, setting, theme, and style, character is considered one of the fundamental components of fiction.

A minor character supports the main character in a story. They do no grow or change during the story. They are also known as two-dimensional characters or flat characters.

The objective point of view is when the writer tells what happens without stating more than can be inferred from the story’s action and dialogue.

A background character is a character that rarely has speaking lines

Characterization is an important element in almost every work of fiction, whether it is a short story, a novel, or anywhere in between. When it comes to characterization, a writer has two options:

1. DIRECT CHARACTERIZATION – the writer makes direct statements about a character’s personality and tells what the character is like.

2. INDIRECT CHARACTERIZATION – the writer reveals information about a character and his personality through that character’s thoughts, words, and actions, along with how other characters respond to that character, including what they think and say about him.

An alert writer might recognize that the two methods of characterization fall under the decision to “show” or to “tell”. Indirect characterization “shows” the reader. Direct characterization “tells” the reader.

As with most “show” versus “tell” decisions, “showing” is more interesting and engaging to the reader, and should be used in preference to “telling”.

The protagonist (main character, sometimes known as the “hero” or the “heroine”) of a novel is certain to be a round character; a minor, supporting character in the same novel may be a flat character.

The antagonists (characters in conflict with protagonists, sometimes known as “villains”) are round characters.

The Parts of a Story

The three main parts of a story are the CHARACTER, the SETTING, and the PLOT.
These three elements work together to hold your reader’s interest.

CHARACTER: A person, animal or imaginary creature in your story. There are usually one or two main characters. There can be many secondary characters too. Make your characters interesting so that they hold your reader’s interest.

SETTING: This is where your story takes place. The setting is a time – the future, the past, or now. The setting is also the place – on the moon, in Chicago, at the Whitehouse. The setting is an important part of your story.

PLOT: The plot of your story tells the actions and events that take place in your story. Your plot should have a beginning, a middle and an end. The plot tells the events of your story in a logical order.

Theme is what the author is trying to tell the reader. For example, the belief in the ultimate good in people, or that things are not always what they seem.

Tone is the mood that the author establishes within the story.

The Forms of poetry

What is poetry?
Poetry is a lot of things to a lot of people.
Poetry is artistically rendering words in such a way as to evoke intense emotion from the reader.
Poetry is a short piece of imaginative writing, of a personal nature and laid out in lines is the usual answer.

What is the difference between a poem and poetry?
A poem is a literary creation, and poetry is the art form.
A poem is a single piece of poetry, complete in itself. Poetry is the collective term used to describe a group of poems, which may or may not be related by theme, author, or style.

What is the difference between poetry and prose?
Prose is language that has as its primary goal the sharing of information. Poetry has as its primary goal the use of language itself as music. There is no rule that says a given piece of writing MUST be one or the other.

The versivication of poetry
In poetry, a stanza is a unit within a larger poem. A stanza consists of a grouping of lines, set off by a space, that usually has a set pattern of meter and rhyme.

Stanzas can be given a specific name depending on their structure and rhyme pattern.
List of stanza names according to number of lines:
2 lines = Couplet
3 lines = Tercet
4 lines = Quatrain
5 lines = Cinquain, Quintain (poetry)
6 lines = Sestet
7 lines = Septet
8 lines = Octave
Other stanza names:
Ballad stanza
Burns stanza or Scottish stanza
Ottava rima
Sicilian octave
Spenserian stanza
Balassi stanza
Onegin stanza
Terza rima

Rhythm may be generally defined as a “movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions.

Meter is a recurring pattern of stressed (accented, or long) and unstressed (unaccented, or short) syllables in lines of a set length.
Some feet in verse and poetry have different stress patterns. For example, one type of foot consists of two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed one. Another type consists of a stressed one followed by an unstressed one. In all, there are six types of feet:

Iamb (Iambic) Unstressed + Stressed Two Syllables
Trochee (Trochaic) Stressed + Unstressed Two Syllables
Spondee (Spondaic) Stressed + Stressed Two Syllables
Anapest (Anapestic) Unstressed + Unstressed + Stressed Three Syllables
Dactyl (Dactylic Stressed + Unstressed + Unstressed Three Syllables
Pyrrhic Unstressed + Unstressed Two Syllables

A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds in two or more words
In the general sense, general rhyme can refer to various kinds of phonetic similarity between words, and to the use of such similar-sounding words in organizing verse. Rhymes in this general sense are classified according to the degree and manner of the phonetic similarity:
syllabic: a rhyme in which the last syllable of each word sounds the same but does not necessarily contain vowels. (cleaver, silver, orpitter, patter)
imperfect: a rhyme between a stressed and an unstressed syllable. (wing, caring)
semirhyme: a rhyme with an extra syllable on one word. (bend, ending)
oblique (or slant/forced): a rhyme with an imperfect match in sound. (green, fiend; one, thumb)
 assonance: matching vowels. (shake, hate) Assonance is sometimes used to refer to slant rhymes.
consonance: matching consonants. (rabies, robbers)
half rhyme (or sprung rhyme): matching final consonants. (bent, ant)
alliteration (or head rhyme): matching initial consonants. (short, ship)

Elements of poetry
The subject is the topic of the poem—what the write about love, death, abortion, sex, or a taboo subject.
The theme is one of the most important aspects of a poem. The purpose of the theme is to make an important point about the topic.

What’s the difference between “subject” and “theme” in a poem?
subject is what it is about
theme is the message or moral

The tone of a poem is roughly equivalent to the mood it creates in the reader.
Tone is the attitude the poet takes toward his or her work or a character in the poem. Tone should not be confused with mood, the feeling that a poem creates. Tone can often be summed up in one word–serious, ironic, humorous, etc.

The Language of poetry
Diction refers to the language of a poem, and how each word is chosen to convey a precise meaning. Poets are very deliberate in choosing each word for its particular effect, so it’s important to know the origins and connotations of the words in a poem, not to mention their literal meaning, too.

Denotation refers to the literal meaning of a word, the “dictionary definition.”. For example, if you look up the word snake in a dictionary, you will discover that one of its denotative meanings is “any of numerous scaly, legless, sometimes venomous reptiles¡Khaving a long, tapering, cylindrical body and found in most tropical and temperate regions.”
Connotation, on the other hand, refers to the associations that are connected to a certain word or the emotional suggestions related to that word. The connotative meanings of a word exist together with the denotative meanings. The connotations for the word snake could include evil or danger.

Imagery in poetry is what the words of the poem make the reader ‘see’ in their imagination. it is the colors, sounds, and sometimes feelings evoked by the poem.

Symbolism, as a type and movement in poetry, emphasized non-structured “internalized” poetry that, for lack of better words, describe thoughts and feelings in disconnected ways and places logic, formal structure, and descriptive reality in the back seat.

A symbol works two ways: It is something itself, and it also suggests something deeper.
An object, person, situation, or action that stands for something else more abstract.


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