Literary Glossary: C–D

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A person who appears, or is referred to, in a work of literature. A character described in detail and/or who changes over the course of the work is usually referred to as "round." A "flat" character is generally one-dimensional, and changes little over time. Character can also refer to an individual's moral, social, or ethical qualities (e.g., good/bad).

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Character":


A literary device that authors use to deliver details about a character’s personality in a story. It serves to create an emotional or intellectual reaction to a character or to make the character more vivid and realistic.

Writers use two basic types of characterization to serve varying purposes: direct or indirect. Direct characterizations are direct statements an author makes about a character’s personality and intentions. Indirect characterizations are details that enable readers to infer what is not directly stated.

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Characterization":


A story, often light in tone, that ends with a happy resolution of the central conflict. In classic Greek drama, a comedy is the opposite of a tragedy.

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Comedy":


Ideas or qualities associated with or implied by a word or expression beyond that word or expression’s explicit or primary meaning (See Denotation) 

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Connotation":


The repetition of consonant sounds in a sequence of words, as in the following example from Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est" (note the hard "c" sound). Unlike alliteration, the consonant sounds need not be in the initial syllable of each word.

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "consonance"


A term describing a movement in literature that has its beginnings in 19th- century Symbolist-Romantic poets in France, such as Charles Baudelaire. This literature and poetry is characterized by a fascination with the morbid and macabre and emanates from the belief that life is meaningless.

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Decadent"


An actual or direct meaning for a word or expression as distinguished from the ideas or meanings associated with it or implied by it. (See Connotation)

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Denotation":


A regional or local variation of a language, complete with unique idioms and pronunciations.

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Dialect":


A Conversation between two or more characters as a feature of a book, play, or film. It reveals character and advances the action.

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Dialogue":


A specific genre of fiction represented through performance. Dramatic works tell a story, usually of human conflict, by means of dialogue and action, to be performed by actors. They may or may not have a narrator. In many plays the reader or audience members interpret the actions and words of the characters on their own instead of having the story filtered through the narrator. In classical Greek theatre, there is often a group of actors who serve as a “chorus,” who describe and comment on the main action of the play through song, dance or recitation.

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "drama"

Dramatic Monologue

A poetic form in which a speaker addresses an implied listener, and in which the reader perceives a gap between what the speaker says speaker says and what the speaker actually reveals. Robert Browning’s "My Last Duchess" is a superb example of the form.

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Dramatic Monologue"


A society real or imagined in a repressive and controlled state, often depicted under the guise of being utopian

EDSITEment Lesson Plans that use "Dystopia"