LiteraryElements There must be certain literary elements present in a work of fiction. Without these key elements, the story could not function properly. What do you think these basic elements of a work of fiction are?
Plot A. Plot is the sequence of events which involves the characters in conflict.
Narrative order is the sequence of events. • Chronological—the most common type of narrative order in children’s books. The events are told in the order they happen. • Flashback—occurs when the author narrates an event that took place before the current time of the story. The opposite is a “flash forward.” • Time Lapse—occurs when the story skips a period of time that seems unusual compared to the rest of the plot.
Conflict—the struggle between the protagonist and an opposing force. There are several types of conflict: • Internal Conflict (character vs. self)—occurs when the protagonist struggles within himself or herself. • ie: a struggle between doing what you want and doing what is right.
Types of conflict (continued) • Interpersonal Conflict (character vs. character)—occurs when the protagonist is against someone else. • ie: a character is competing against his rival in the last track meet of the season.
Types of conflict (continued) • Character vs. Society—occurs when the protagonist is in conflict with the values of his or her society. • ie: I want to wear a white skirt, but it is after labor day. • ie: You want to dye your hair neon green, but it violates the dress code.
Types of conflict (continued) • Character vs. Nature—occurs when the protagonist is threatened by an element of nature. • ie: a character is caught in a rip tide. • ie: a character is lost in the woods and is struggling to make her way through the thick brush and pitch black night.
Types of conflict (continued) • Character vs. Supernatural—occurs when the protagonist must contend against a fact of life or death, over which he or she has little control. • ie: a character is born with a chronic illness. • THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE ALL DEATHS. If someone dies because another character shot him, this is character vs. character, not supernatural (ie fate).
Types of conflict (continued) • Character vs. Technology—occurs when the protagonist is in conflict with human created technology. • ie: a character is being attacked by a robot. • If a character is shot by another character, it is still character vs. character conflict even though the gun is human created technology. The other character pulled the trigger causing the death.
Plot Line • Exposition—sets the stage for the story. • Describes the setting • Provides the situation and condition of the characters • May introduce the problem • Inciting Incidentis the event that starts the action.
Plot Line • Rising Action—includes all action leading to the climax and builds interest and suspense. Characters are developed, events become more involved; this is the major portion of the story. • Climax/Turning Point—is the point of greatest emotional intensity or interest. This is also the point at which the most significant change occurs. This is a key moment where readers have a good idea of what the outcome will be.
Plot Line • Anticlimax—is when the climax is a let down because it is often less exciting than the previous events and is often unbelievable to the story. (anticlimactic—adj.) • Falling Action—leads away from the climax and may provide any necessary explanations.
Plot Line • Resolution or Denouement—the end of the story or the end result; this can be one of the following: • Closed Ending—readers feel that they know what will happen; there is a sense of completion. • Open Ending—readers must draw their own conclusions; they do not know what will happen. • Cliffhanger—an abrupt ending at an exciting and often dangerous time in the plot; usually at the end of a book that is part of a series.
Climax • Plot Line Falling Action Anticlimax Resolution Rising Action Exposition Inciting Incident
Other Elements of Plot • Suspense—a state of tension or uncertainty; an emotional pull that keeps the reader going. The author develops suspense by: • Adding more complications to the plot. • Dropping hints or clues about future events or the final outcome. • Delaying an event the reader knows is coming; slows the action to a crawl. • Developing the characters in such a way that makes the reader care about them and wonder what their future holds.
Other Elements of Plot • Foreshadowing—hints about what will happen later in the story. • Coincidence—something which happens by chance; easily confused with irony.
Setting • Setting includes the time and place in which the story takes place.
There are two main types of setting: • Integral Setting—essential to the plot; influences action, character, or theme. • Integral Setting is important for 5 main reasons: • can provide necessary background information • can create mood • can become a principal force and threaten characters; it creates conflict • can be used to advance the plot • can illuminate a character
There are two types of setting (continued): • Backdrop Setting—relatively unimportant to the plot.
Character A. Character can be revealed through the character’s actions, speech and appearance; or by the comments of the author and/or other characters.
Types of Characters • Protagonist—central or main character in the plot’s conflict. • Antagonist—the force in conflict with the protagonist. ie: society, nature, fate, another character, internal, etc. • Character Foil—character whose traits are in direct contrast to those of the main character.
Character Development • Flat—the reader only knows one side of the character; not fully-developed. • Round—many traits of the character are shown in the story; fully developed. We know the character very well.
Change in Character • Static—a character who does not change throughout the story. • Dynamic—a character who experiences a change through the events of the story.
Combinations • Round + Dynamic—this is the best type of character development; usually the protagonist. • Round + Static—the development is considered well-done; often found in protagonists of children’s books.
Combinations (continued) • Static + Flat—this development is appropriate for minor characters. • Flat + Dynamic—this is NOT a possible combination because we do not know enough about a flat character to notice or recognize a change.
Characterization • Direct Characterization—when the author goes right out and tells the reader about a character’s personality, attitude or feelings. • This occurs in the narration of 3rd person point of view limited omniscient and omniscient. • “As Rachel walked down the hall, she passed Anne who had a reputation for being bossy and obnoxious.”
Characterization (continued) • Indirect Characterization—the author reveals a character’s personality, attitude or feelings through one of five methods. • Speech • Anne said, “Look, you can either do it my way or leave.” • Through Anne’s speech, we can conclude that she is bossy.
Characterization (continued) • Indirect Characterization • Actions • While the group was working on the project, Anne continuously checked to make sure everyone was completing their assigned task in the manner she had instructed. This act was usually accompanied by the other group members rolling their eyes. • Through Anne’s actions, we can conclude that she is controlling. Through the group members’ rolling of the eyes, we can conclude that they are annoyed.
Characterization (continued) • Indirect Characterization • Thoughts • Exasperated by the slow progress, Anne thought, “Holy Guacamole! These idiots can’t follow simple directions. What more can I do to explain this?” • Through Anne’s thoughts, we can conclude that she is irritated, demeaning, and self-important.
Characterization (continued) • Indirect Characterization • Physical Appearance • I glanced at Anne as she passed me in the hall. As usual, she was wearing a freshly ironed, brilliant white button-down shirt with a pair of pants, free of any wrinkles despite the fifteen minute bus ride to school. • Through Anne’s appearance, we can conclude that she is meticulous, tidy, clean, and routine.
Characterization (continued) • Indirect Characterization • Other Character’s Opinions • When I first met Anne, I thought she was perfect, but over the years, I’ve realized that she is arrogant, rude, and insensitive. • Through the 1st person point of view, we get the narrator’s opinion of Anne.
Point of View A. Point of view depends upon who the narrator is and how much he or she knows.
There are three points of view • First Person—this is a character in the story using “I.” The character readers most identify with because readers see the story through his or her eyes. • Second Person—the author speaks directly to the reader using “you.” (very seldom used) • Third Person—the narrator is not in the story and tells about the characters using “he,” “she,” or “it.”
There are three third person points of view. • 3rd Person Dramatic or Objective—readers are told only what happens and what is said. The narrator shares events like a newspaper reporter without opinion. • 3rd Person Limited—readers are given the thoughts and feelings of only one character. • 3rd Person Omniscient—this “all knowing” narrator knows everything about the characters and their problems, including their thoughts and feelings. Typically, this narrator does not share all characters’ thoughts and feelings, especially minor characters, because this would be overwhelming for the reader.
Style • Style is the language used in a book; the way the words are put together to create a story.
Types of Style • Standard Written Style—more formal than most speech. • Hello, my name is Kathryn. • Conversational Style—the language is more informal; it sounds like the way people really talk. • Hi, I’m Katy. • Eye Dialect—words are spelled the way they sound and is sometimes hard to read. • Hey y’all, you ‘ken call me Kate.
Devices of Style • Tone—the author’s attitude toward what he or she writes. • The attitude that you (the reader) get from the author’s words. • Tone can be described as humorous, angry, pleased, straight-forward, matter-of-fact, exciting, etc.
Devices of Style • Mood—the climate or feeling in a literary work. • Setting, objects, details, images, and words contribute to the mood. • ie: the setting and objects are mysterious, creepy, funny and the language of the character is odd and vague. *The dilapidated house loomed ominously at the end of the overgrown yard. I had heard stories about the woman who lived here; many believed her to be a witch. I still had twenty more raffle tickets to sell, so taking a deep breath to calm my nerves, I hesitantly knocked on the door, hoping that no one was home.
Devices of Style • Imagery—it is an appeal to the senses—taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell. It paints pictures in our minds. • Figurative Language—uses words in a non-literal way. • Personification—gives human traits to animals or inanimate objects. • Simile—compares two things using the words “like,” “as,” or “than.” • Metaphor—an implied comparison stating the resemblance between two things.
Devices of Style • Allusion—an indirect reference to something outside the current literary work. • “He was a real Hercules.” • Symbol—a person, object, situation, or action that stands for something in addition to itself. • A dove is an actual bird, but it is also a symbol for peace.
Devices of Style • Irony— • Verbal Irony—sarcasm; the opposite of what is being said. • Dramatic Irony—the reader knows what is happening, but the characters do not . (think of scary movies) • Situational Irony—the unexpected twist; the opposite of what we or the characters expect to happen actually happens.
Theme The author’s underlying message about life or human nature.
What theme is not: • Theme is not the subject—the subject can related in one word, ie: love, war, friendship, etc. • Theme is not the plot. • Theme is not the summary of the story. • Theme is not the moral of the story which tells a moral imperative—something readers should or should not do, usually illustrated with consequences.
Theme is what readers learn about the subject: • Friendship is often hard to sustain. • All people have both good and bad qualities. • Evil exists in many forms and is often mistaken for something else entirely. • Theme can be interpreted in different ways by different readers. • When determining theme, it is necessary to find details in the text to support.