Important Literary Elements • Irony • Point of View • Symbolism
Irony Three types: Situational Verbal Dramatic
Irony • A device that develops meaning by putting together seemingly contrasting concepts or ideas. • Irony occurs when there is a difference between what is asserted or believed and what is actually the truth.
Situational Irony • Occurs when events turn out opposite than what is expected or desired due to circumstances beyond human control • Example: John stayed up all night working on his paper. It was going to be his best work yet. However, at 8:00am, just before his paper was due, his computer crashed. He lost all of his work.
Verbal Irony • Something is said that is the opposite of its intended meaning (sarcasm). • Example: “Susan wrecked her car and then exclaimed, ‘I am having a wonderful night!’”
Dramatic Irony • When the reader or audience knows information that the character does not know, and thereby witnesses the impact of what the character says or does. There is a discrepancy between what the reader knows and what the character believes to be true. • Example: In Romeo and Juliet, the audience knows that Juliet is not dead, while Romeo believes she is dead and kills himself.
Point of View • The perspective from which a story is told – who tells the story and how it is told. • What we know and how we react to the action and events in the story is directly influenced by the perspective of the narrative voice or point of view.
Common Points of View • First person – the narrator uses “I” to tell the story and can either be a major or minor participant in the action (character). • Third person – the narrator uses “he,” “she,” or “they” to tell the story and does not participate in the action. This narrator can have different levels of information regarding the characters’ inner thoughts.
Third Person Point of View Continued… • Third person omniscient – the narrator uses third person view point and knows all of the characters’ inner thoughts. • Third person limited – third person view point, but the narrator only has access to the thoughts of one or a few of the characters. • Objective – this is still the third person view point, but the narrator does not see into the mind of any particular character. The narrator reports action impartially, without telling us what the characters think or feel.
Symbolism • When one thing stands for or represents another thing. • Symbolism allows for deeper meaning.