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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Elements of literature

These are the parts of a story. These elements are used to form the structure of a literary piece.They represent the elements of storytelling which are common to all literary and narrative forms.For example, every story has a theme; every story has a setting; every story has a conflict; every story is written from a particular point-of-view, etc.

Action: Everything that happens in a story.
Plot: The plot of a story is the sequential arrangement of events or the series of events in a story. There are five parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
Exposition: The introductory material which gives the setting, creates the tone, presents the characters, and presents other facts necessary to understanding the story.

         Rising Action: The central part of the story during which various problems arise  after a conflict is introduced.
Climax: It is the high point in the action of a story. Frequently, it is the moment of the highest interest and greatest emotion. It is the point at which the outcome of the conflict can be predicted.
Falling Action: The action and dialogue following the climax that leads the reader into the story’s end.
Resolution (Denouement): It is the part of a story in which the problems are solved and the action comes to a satisfying end.
Conflict: A problem or struggle between two opposing forces in a story. There are four basic conflicts:
Person Against Person: A problem between characters.
Person Against Self: A problem within a character’s own mind.
Person Against Society: A problem between a character and the society, school, the law, or some tradition.
Person Against Nature: A problem between a character and some element of nature-a blizzard, a hurricane, a mountain climb, etc.
Setting: It refers to the geographical location of the story, time period, daily lifestyle of the characters and the general atmosphere of the story. In other words, it is the place and the time frame in which a story takes place. TIME and PLACE: Time: of day, year, era/age? Place: city, country? Outside, inside? Rich and opulent or poor and simple? Stark and barren landscape? Rainy or sunny? Beautiful or adversarial? Dark or light? Dangerous or safe? The weather? How does all this affect meaning? What feelings (atmosphere) are evoked just by the setting?
Theme: The main idea or underlying meaning of a literary work. A theme may be stated or implied. Theme differs from the subject matter of a literary work, in that it involves a statement or opinion about the topic. It is important to recognize the difference between the theme of a literary work and the subject matter of a literary work. The subject matter is the topic on which an author has chosen to write. The theme, however, makes some statement about or expresses some opinion on that topic. For example, the subject matter of a story might be war while the theme might be the idea that war is useless.
Foreshadowing:  It is an author’s use of hints or clues to suggest events that will occur later in the story. Foreshadowing frequently serves two purposes. It builds suspense by raising questions that encourage the reader to go on and find out more about the event that is being foreshadowed. Foreshadowing is also a means of making a narrative more believable by partially preparing the reader for events which are to follow.
Style: The distinctive way that a writer uses language including such factors as word choice (Diction), sentence length, arrangement, and complexity, and the use of figurative language and imagery. Other questions that define style are: what is the overall effect of the way he writes? Simple, poetic, colloquial, humorous, pedantic, child-like? How does it contribute to the author’s message and the overall effect the author wishes to create?
Mood: It is the feeling a piece of literature is intended to create in a reader. It is the climate of feelingin a literary work. The choice of setting, objects, details, images, and words all contribute towards creating a specific mood. For example, an author may create a mood of mystery around a character or setting but may treat that character or setting in an ironic, serious, or humorous tone.
Tone: It is the author’s attitude towards what he or she is writing that translates into your attitude. Tone asks the question:what is the feeling of the whole work and the writing/artist's craft? Joyful? Melancholy?Fatalistic? Angry? Peaceful? Scary? Mysterious? An author’s tone can be revealed through choice of words and details.
Character: One of the people (or animals) in a story.
Characterisation: It is the way in which the writer portrays the characters in a story.What kinds of person/people are the character(s)? Their beliefs/hopes/dreams/ideals/values/morals/fears/strengths/weaknesses/vices/virtues/talents? How do they conduct themselves? What do they say and do to reveal themselves? What do others say and do about them? What are your opinions or feelings about them? Characters can be fictional or real historical entities.
Classifications of types of characters include: protagonist, antagonist, foil, stereotype, flat, round, static, dynamic.
Protagonist: The main character in a story, often a good or heroic type.
Antagonist: The person or force that works against the hero of the story.
Foil: A character that provides a contrast to the protagonist.
Flat: Flat characters are sometimes referred to as STATIC characters because they do not change in the course of the story.
Round: A round character changes as a result of what happens to him or her. A character that changes inside as a result of what happens to him is referred to in literature as a DYNAMIC character. A dynamic character grows or progresses to a higher level of understanding in the course of the story.
Point of View: It is the perspective from which a story is told.
First-person:The narrator is a character in the story; uses “I,” “we,” etc.
Third-person: The narrator outside the story uses “he,” “she,” “they”
Third-person limited: The narrator tells only what one character perceives.
Third-person omniscient: The narrator can see into the minds of all characters.
Imagery: It is the language that appeals to the reader’s senses. It is based on descriptions of people or objects stated in terms of our senses. The author’s use of visual imagery is impressive; the reader is able to see the island in its entire lush, colorful splendor by reading Golding’s detailed descriptions in Lord of the flies.
Symbolism: It is based on the person, place, or thing that represents something beyond itself, most often something concrete or tangible that represents an abstract idea. It is anything that suggests a meaning beyond the obvious. Some symbols are conventional, generally meaning the same thing to all readers. For example, bright sunshine symbolizes goodness and water is a symbolic cleanser.
Irony: This is when the writer's meaning is DIFFERENT (often the opposite) from what is actually stated or actually happening.
Verbal Irony: What is SPOKEN or said (the words) is different/opposite from what is meant. Hyperbole, litotes and pun are examples of verbal irony.
Dramatic irony: This occurs when the audience or reader knows more than the characters know. Dramatic Irony answers the following questions: Does the audience/some characters know more than another character? Is one or more character(s) speaking/acting without knowledge others have, thus creating a double meaning?
Situational Irony: This refers to a happening that is the opposite of what is expected or intended. The EVENTS: do the events have a double meaning...the meaning of the situation as it actually happened versus the situation that we expected to happen or would normally happen? Does a set of circumstances turn out differently from what is anticipated or considered appropriate? Is the action/situation surprising or unexpected? Is there unexplained coincidence in the story? A surprise ending?

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