Literary Elements These are the basic elements which you will need to be prepared to explain to the class about your novel. Literary Elements Theme Character Setting Plot Point of View Rising Action Climax Falling Action Resolution Theme The author reveals the theme through the literary elements such as character, setting, plot, and point of view. Theme, continued Theme is the main idea, meaning. or message of a literary work. It is not the same as the subject or a summary of the action. It is the author’s statement of the way things are – or how they should be. It is the author’s reflection on a universal truth. Character Who (or what) is in the story – people or animals. Usually one character is central – the action revolves around him or her. Character, continued Protagonist – The chief character in a play, story, or film. Enlists our interest and sympathy, whether his/her cause is heroic or not. Antagonist – Second most important character in a play, story, or film. Directly opposed to the protagonist, a rival or opponent. Character, continued The author reveals character in four main ways: 1. By author comment - the author tells a person’s actions and analyzes his character. 2. By the character’s actions 3. By the character’s comments 4. By what the other characters say about him Character, continued Useful Character Questions What traits does each character have? How are they revealed? Does a character change during the story? If so, how? Character, continued How does the writer want you to react to each person? Does the character remind you of someone you know? Setting The physical background of a story, the time and place in which the action takes place. It is normally explained at or near the beginning of the story. Setting, continued Does the setting influence the plot or the characters? What kind of mood or atmosphere (the emotional coloring) does the setting create? How important is the setting to the story? Could the same story happen in any other time or place? Setting, continued As you read the story: Picture the setting – think about : Geographical location Scenery Weather Furniture Clothing Time of Year Period of History Plot Plot – the plan of events or the main story. It is based on one or more conflicts, with one being the main conflict of the story. Plot, continued There are two kinds of conflict: External – Between two characters – human vs. human Between a character and society – human vs. society Between a character and nature or a supernatural element – human vs. nature Plot, continued Kinds of conflicts, continued: Internal – Within a character – human vs. him/herself. Techniques to Develop the Plot Foreshadowing – hinting about an event that has not yet occurred. Flashback – breaks the sequences of events to tell about something that occurred earlier. Techniques to Develop the Plot, continued Suspense – feeling of growing tension and excitement felt by the reader as the plot develops. Surprise Ending – unexpected twist in the plot at the end of the story. Techniques to Develop the Plot, continued Dialogue – an important way for the author to create realism and suspense. Useful method of revealing character and developing plot. Point of View First Person - Narrative told by one of the characters from the “I” point of view. Limited because the reader knows only what the character knows. Point of View, continued Limited Third Person – Narrator tells the story using “he” and “she.” Can be limited with the narrator knowing the thoughts of only one character. Point of View, continued Omniscient – Narrator tells the story using “he” and “she.” Knows the thoughts and feelings of all the characters. Exposition Setting, characters, and situation are revealed. May suggest the theme and sometimes even hint at the probable outcome. Rising Action Major part of the plot. Series of steps each presenting a minor obstacle or problem and leading to a climax. Developed mainly by incident, description, characterization, and dialogue. Climax The culmination of events of the rising action. The most exciting moment. The highest point of interest. Usually brief and distinct – sometimes only a sentence long. Falling Action Follows the climax and explains any details that need further clarification. May try to help the reader understand an unexpected ending. Usually short. Resolution How the conflict of the story is resolved – how the main problem is solved. Book Journaling Assignment As you read the book you will pose questions to your partner about the portions you have read. This is designed to help you both understand better and to allow you to point out things that your partner may have overlooked or thought was less important. Book Journaling Assignment, continued Remember that you will be coordinating your report with your partner for presentation in both classes.
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