Elements of Fiction

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					Elements of Fiction

    Class Notes
   Mr. Wilkerson
 Sophomore English
           Elements of Fiction: Plot
           Plot is the action of the story. More specifically, it is the series of
     incidents which introduce, develop, and resolve the central conflict
     within the story.
A.   Exposition provides information about the characters and setting.
           It may also hint about upcoming conflicts in the story.
B.   Inciting Incident is the event which launches the central conflict
           in the story.
C.   Complications (a.k.a. Rising Action) are the events in the story
           which intensify the conflicts and create greater tension in the
D.   Climax/Turning Point is the point in the story when the tension of the
     central conflict is greatest. At this point there is a change in the main
     character’s situation.
E.   Resolution (a.k.a. Falling Action) is when the central conflict is
     resolved, and the tension in the story decreases.
F.   Denouement is the final bit of action and/or image in the story. How
     the author ties up the loose ends and concludes the story is often an
     important clue to theme. (In many short stories, and in some novels,
     the resolution and denouement are simultaneous).
II. Elements of Fiction: Setting
  Setting is the time period, time span, place, and
  overall atmosphere of a story.
A.Time period is the year, month, and time of day
  during which the actions occur.
B.Time span is the amount of time that elapses
  between the beginning and the end of the story.
C. Place is the real or imaginary location in which
  the actions occur.
D. Atmosphere is the feeling or mood an author
  creates through his/her descriptions of time,
  place, and character interactions.
         III. Elements of Fiction:
  Characterization is the term which describes how an
  author creates and develops a character. When
  studying a short story or novel, the reader should
  consider the following:

A. The character’s actions and deeds
B. The character’s spoken or unspoken thoughts
C. The character’s physical characteristics
D. Other characters’ thoughts about and reactions to the
E. The narrator’s thoughts concerning the character
          IV. Elements of Fiction:
               Character Types
  A character is a person, animal, creature, or force
  within a story.
A. The protagonist is the main character of a story.
  The protagonist is
1) the character who discovers the theme of the story or
2) the character whose central conflict allows the reader
  to discover the theme
B.The antagonist opposes the main character.
C. Major and minor characters serve many functions.
  They help to develop the protagonist’s character and
  to clarify his/her central conflict.
        IV. Elements of Fiction:
          Character Types Cont.
D. Flat characters have one-dimensional
E. Round characters have multi-dimensional
F. Static characters are set in their ways; they
  do not show a change in their personalities
  during the story.
G. Dynamic characters are open to or capable
  of change in their thoughts, attitudes, or
  opinions during the story.
        V. Elements of Fiction:
        Conflict and Conflict Types
  Conflict is a struggle between two opposing forces
  in a story. Conflicts can be internal or external.
A.Character vs. Character
  1. Character vs. him/her self (internal conflict)
  2. Character vs. another individual
  3. Character vs. group
  4. Character vs. society
B.Character vs. Nature
  1. Character vs. animal
  2. Character vs. elements
  3. Character vs. geography
 V. Elements of Fiction: Conflict
    and Conflict Types Cont.
C.      Character vs. Supernatural
     1. Character vs. ghost or monster
     2. Character vs. God or gods
     3. Character vs. Fate
      Conflicts can be central or secondary.
A. A central conflict reflects the main character’s
  primary struggle in the story.
B. A secondary conflict can be between, among, or
  within any characters or forces in the story.
 VI. Elements of Fiction: Narrator
        and Point of View
The Narrator is the character who tells the story.
He/She may or may not be part of the story itself.
Point of view is the perspective the narrator uses to
tell the story. Perspective refers to the knowledge,
attitudes and biases of the narrator.
     Narrator Types
A. 1st Person – ―I‖ voice – The narrator is a
character in the story.
B. 2nd Person ―You‖ – The story assumes that you
are the main character OR the author, whether 1st or
3rd, is addressing you the reader.
VI. Elements of Fiction: Narrator
    and Point of View Cont.
C. 3rd Person Omniscient (i.e. all-
knowing) - The narrator is not a character
in the story. The narrator reveals thoughts
and feelings of more than one character in
the story.
D. 3rd Person Limited – The narrator is
not a character in the story. The narrator
focuses on the thoughts of one particular
character in the story.
   VII. Elements of Fiction: Symbol
   A symbol is an object or event that has a meaning, or range of
   meanings beyond itself.
A. Some symbols are ―universal‖. They are recognized and
   understood by many people. For example, a dove often
   represents peace; a rose often means beauty; a long trip for a
   young person often suggests a journey to adulthood. Some
   symbols depend on associations with other symbols; the color
   green symbolizes plants or vegetation, which in turn,
   symbolizes growth.
B. Most symbols are invented. An author creates and uses
   symbols in a story to emphasize key ideas. An author can
   make an object or event symbolic through repetition; by
   association with words, ideas, or feelings; or by a placement
   in a meaningful position in the story
VIII.Elements of Fiction: Theme
       and Theme Types
     Theme is the intended topic of discussion of a
literary work. A piece of literature has both a subject and
a theme. Often a work can have multiple subjects and
multiple themes. A moral is more of a message.

In poetry, fiction, and drama it is the abstract concept
that is made concrete through representation in person,
action, and image. No proper theme is simply a subject
or activity. ―Sports‖ or ―Frustration‖ as individual topics
are not proper themes. But a combination of the two
could be, such as ―The frustration of failing at sports‖.
IX. Elements of Fiction: Irony
Generally, Irony occurs when something happens by
chance that is the opposite of one’s expectations, not
merely a strange or unexpected occurrence.

A. Verbal Irony: a writer or speaker says one thing and
means something entirely different
B. Dramatic Irony: a reader or audience perceives
something that a character in the story does not know
C. Situational Irony: the writer shows a discrepancy
between the expected results of some action or situation
and its actual results—usually the opposite of what is

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