English Lit. Fiction Terms

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60 Cards. Created by Ashley Fiveash ().
List of Fiction terms D-P


A French term meaning "unraveling" or "unknotting" to describe that portion of a plot that reveals the final outcome of its conflicts or the solution of its mysteries.


A situation in which a character must choose between two courses of action, both undesirable

Direct Presentation of a Character

Method of characterization in which the author, by exposition or analysis, tells us directly what a character is like, or has someone else in the story to do so.


Writing that departs from the narrative or dramatic mode and instructs the reader how to think or feel about the events of a story or the behavior of a character.


In fiction, when a character suddenly experiences a deep realization, insight, or revelation, usually related to something generally commonplace.

Escape Literature

Literature written purely for entertainment, with little or no attempt to provide insight into the true nature of human life or behavior; it follows a pattern of conventional reader expectations.


A narrative device that provides necessary background information about the characters and their circumstances


A brief story that sets forth some pointed statement of truth.

Fairy Tale

A usually short story that sets forth strange and wonderful events in more or less bare summary without detailed character-drawing

Falling action

The segment of the plot that comes between the climax and the conclusion.


A kind of fiction that pictures creatures and events beyond the boundaries of known reality.


A narrated scene that marks a break in the narrative in order to inform the reader or audience member about events that took place before the opening scene of a work.


The introduction of verbal and dramatic hints or clues that suggest a later action.

Happy ending

An ending in which events turn out well for a sympathetic protagonist.

Indeterminate ending

An ending in which the central problem is left unresolved.

Indirect representation of character

Method of characterization in which the author shows us a character in action, compelling us to infer what the character is like from what is said or done by the character.

Interpretative literature

Provides valid insights into the nature of human life or behavior.

Irony of Situation

A situation in which there is an incongruity between the appearance and reality, expectation and fulfillment, or the actual situation and what would seem appropriate.

Dramatic Irony

An incongruity or discrepancy between what a character says or thinks and what the reader knows to be true (or between what a character perceives and what the author intends the reader to perceive).

Cosmic Irony

A discrepancy between what a character aspires to and what universal forces provide; occurs when a writer uses God, destiny or fate to dash the hopes and aspirations of a character or humankind in general.