EMS Homework Help

 Common Literary Devices

Overview: In this lesson you will learn about:
  • Symbolism
  • Imagery
  • What a Metaphor is
  • What a Character/characterization is
  • What a Protagonist is
  • What an Antagonist is
  • What a Static is
  • What Dynamics is
There is also many more basic literary information below, just scroll down to find what your looking for.

Questions to ponder: "How are symbolism, imagery and metaphors used? What affects do they have?"

- The use of an object to represent something else; Example: a dove might symbolize peace.

Imagery- The use of language to create vivid pictures in the reader's mind. Example: There were ice sickles hanging from his nose

Metaphor-An implied comparison in which a word or phrase is used in place of another, such as He was drowning in money.

Elements of Literature

Character- a person, an animal, or another being in a story, play, or another literary work.

  • Protagonist-  Character at the center of a story.(The good guy)
  •  Antagonist- A Character or force that opposes the Protagonist. (The bad guy)
  •   Static-(flat) one-dimensional character who never changes; actions are predictable (often secondary character)
  •   Dynamic-(round) many-sided character, with good and bad qualities who is capable of change; they are like real-life people, and are usually the main character in most books.

                                                   Character Development


Spiderman VS Venom is an example of a man vs himself type of conflict
  1. Plot- the character in action. How do the character's experiences change or develop that character in the story? How do the character's qualities and actions move the plot along? Is the plot realistic or believable for this certain character?
  2. Conflict Resolution- the so what? of the writing piece writing. What problem does the main character need to resolve? This is the reason you are reading. How do the character's qualities affect the conflict and how it's resolved?


  • Plot- a series of events of events that tell you a story; it has a conflict that must be solved.
  • Conflict- a problem caused when a character wants something but an obstacle stands in his way.
  •  Types of conflict:    
                                 Man VS Nature
                                 Man VS Society
                                  Man VS Man
                                  Man VS Himself/Herself
                                  Man VS  Technology
  •  Exposition- The beginning part of a story in which the characters, setting (Time, Place), and conflict are usually introduced. (The Introduction)
  • Rising Action- (Rising Tension) where the problem gets worse. ↑:(
  • Example: The police believed they had found images of someone setting her house on fire.
  • Climax- the crisis moment! The most exciting or tense moment of the story after which all the questions are answered; the turning point
  • Example- Marcie finally saw the man, sitting outside of her house. with an evil grin on his face. She had never been more terrified.
  • Falling Action- (Falling Tension) When the Rising Action will fall and turn good.
  • Example: When Marcie got home she found out that her house burning down was an accident. But who? ↨ :)
  • Resolution- after the climax. It is  " sewing up"  of all loose when all questions are answered . (The Conclusion)
  • Marcie found out that it was her neighbor, trying to put out the fire but instead suffered severe brain injuries that made him crazy and have hallucinations
  • Questions to ponder: "What is the main problem? How is the conflict resolved?"
  • Setting- When and where the story takes place.
    Questions to ponder: "How does the setting influence the problem and how it's resolved?"

                                                   Point of View

  •  Point of View- The perspective of the narrator. For example, the narrator may be the main character telling the story from his/her point of view. Other times the narrator will be "looking in"
  • First Person perspective- The narrator is the character within the story; he/she will use the word "I" when speaking. Because the narrator is the character in the story, he has all the limitations of a human and cannot read the mind of other characters. He can, however, tell the reader what he thinks and his perspective of the story
  • Third Person perspective- The narrator is outside of the story and he tells what he observes.


  •  a person, an animal, or another, or another being in a story, play, or other literary work.
  •                                                         There are different kinds of characters
  • Sometimes, animals are characters, like folk tails 
  • Other times a fantastic creature is the main character, like fairy tails
  • Plus a character can be a god or a hero.
  • But usually a character is an ordinary human

Characterization- the way in which a writer reveals the personality of a character.
             Ways the author reveals the character:

  1. describing how the character looks and dresses
  2. the readers tone of voice
  3.  how the character acts
  4. letting the reader know the character's inner thought and feelings
  5. revealing what other people in the story think or say about the character.
 6.  telling the reader directly what the character's personality is like (cruel, kind, sneaky, brave, and so on)


Theme - The main idea or underlying meaning of a literary work.

  • A theme may be stated or implied
  • themes may be major or minor
               A major theme is an idea the author returns to time and again, It becomes one of the most important ideas in the story
               Minor themes are ideas that may appear from time to time.
It is important to recognize the difference between the theme of a literary work and the subject of the literary work.
        The subject is the topic on which an author had chosen to write. The theme, however, makes some statement about or express some opinion on that topic. For example, the subject of a story might be war hile the theme might be the idea that war requires great courage.
Questions to ponder: "What are some of the themes? How are the main themes developed throughout the story? Consider how a character and his/her actions help to develop the theme."