Traditional Short Stories

Fable: A short story that usually is about animals and is intended to teach a lesson.

Fairytale: A type of short story that has magic and good vs. evil characters.

Tall Tale: An exaggerated, unreliable story told for entertainment.

Trickster Tale: A tale that includes a trickster – a clever animal or person who plays tricks on other characters.

Legend: A traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but can’t be proven.

Myths: A made up story that explains the existence of a natural phenomenon.

Wisdom Literature: Literature that teaches how to live properly.

Moral: A message or lesson to be learned from a story or play.

Motif: A recurring image, idea, or symbol.

Archetype: A universally known or understood character, situation, or theme.

Villain: An evil character in the story.

Hero: A character admired for good acts.

Setting: The time and place in which a story takes place.

Plot: The series of events that make up a story.

Characters: A person in a novel, story, play, or movie

Indirect Characterization: When the narrator shows the reader something about the character through the character’s actions, things the character says, or things other characters say.

Direct Characterization: When the author specifically reveals traits about the character in a direct, straightforward manner.

Flat Character: A character whose personality can be described as having one or two personality traits and who does not have a lot of importance or depth.

Round Character: A complex character with many personality traits and who does have many characteristics, high importance, and much depth.

Static Character: A character who does not undergo any type of inner change (personality/attitude) throughout the text.

Dynamic Character: A character who does undergo a type of inner change (personality/attitude) throughout the text.

Foil Characters: A character who creates a contrast to a different character in order to highlight particular qualities of the other character (good appears more “good” when evil is present).

Point of View: The perspective from which a story is told.

Theme: The main idea of a piece of writing or work of literature that an author is trying to express to the reader about life or human nature.

Internal Conflict: The psychological or mental struggle within the mind of a literary or dramatic character.

External Conflict: The struggle between a literary or dramatic character and an outside force such as nature or another character.

Protagonist: The main character of a literary work.

Antagonist: A character or force against which another character struggles.

Mood: The attitude the reader has from a text or work of literature.

Tone: The attitude the writer gives off toward a subject.

Symbolism: The use of one object or idea to represent another object or idea.