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Elements of Literature

presentation on the elements of literature

Deborah Kitchell

on 30 September 2011

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Transcript of Elements of Literature

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Elements of Literature
point of view:
figurative language /symbolism:
style, tone, mood, irony: All 3 are devices used to convey meaning, create a structure for the story, sense of reality, and author attitude
author's arrangement & sequencing of action in a story;
can move chronologically (through TIME), spatially (through
SPACE), &emphatically (degrees of emphasis)
1. exposition
background information; situates the characters & gives a frame of reference
2. rising action
sequencing of events, feelings and dialogue that force the action towards a climax
5. climax
moment of greatest emotional tension in a story; often found
towards the end of a story
4. forshadowing
a hint, usually a figurative suggestion of things to come
7.Resolution (denoument)
conflict is resolved--often no resolution in modern & postmodern lit
context of the action of story, frames the characters according to:
1. time
2. location
3. weather
the subjects influencing or being influenced by events and setting; all characters possess MOTIVATION that explains their thoughts, feelings, actions and speech
Protagonist: main character; engages reader's interest & sympathy

Antagonist: force that opposes the protagonist, often the "Bad Guy"

Secondary character: characters that help move along plot, but aren't primary agents

Dynamic: changes often through redemption, lessons learned

Static: can be flat or round but neither changes nor evolves

Flat: one-dimensional BUT can become round

Round: multidimensional, psychologically complex character

Stock: stereotypical character; often created from multitude off cliches and social prejudices

Foil: provides a contrast or conflict for antoher characer--often for the protagonist
person vs. person
person vs. society
person vs. nature
person vs. God
person vs. himself
person vs. machine
A class of wills or forces often between an ANTAGONIST and a PROGTAGONIS which is either INTERNAL (person vs. self or EXTERNAL forces:
deals with the narrator (who is telling the story) & the perceptions he or she brings. The NARRATIVE VOICE filters the action, setting, and characters of the story.
1. First person (I, we, etc.): Just one character's consciousness is revealed
a character, object, setting, action, name, etc. that maintains its literal (denotative) meaing but suggests a figurative (connotative) meaning.
visual allegory: "Voyage of Life-- Youth" by Edward Cole
Conventional: symbols that are understood and shared by large groups of people or a culture

Literary: symbols can be conventional, but are established internally by the context of the work in which they appear

Allegory: while symbols are suggestive, allegory has a fixed, definite figurative meaning; only ONE abstract idea can be cgenearted by a concrete object

Metaphor: figure of speech that makes an indirect comparison between two unlike subjects.

Simile: Compares two unlike items (like metaphors) BUT introduces them with the words "like" or "as"
This film has been called a metaphor for both apartheid in S. Africa and U.S. anti-Mexican sentiment
Love is like a rose
Kirk, Spock, & McCoy = symbols for Logic, Reason, and Emotion
Types of STYLE Conventions:
Diction--word choices can be succinct, terse, humorous, slang, sophisticated, etc.

Length/Type of Sentences--depending on diction, short/simple sentences can denote simplicity, directness, etc.

Use of Dialogue: can be used exclusively or sparsely
the author's voice or attitude that conveys an emotional quality (sadness, glee, nostalgia, depression, hope, celebration, etc.)
Four main types of Irony: all deal w.discrepancies
Verbal--saying one thing but meaning another; sarcasm

Situational--disconnect between what is expected to say or happen and what is actually said or happened

Dramatic: occurs when the reader or viewer has more knowledge about a situation that a character or narrator.

Cosmic: idea that fate, destiny, or a god controls & toys with human beings; a notion that some force just beyond human understanding is frusting human activity and/or events.
moment of insight by which a
character's life is altered
ex. a cellar creates one mood;
a moutaintop another
2. Second person (you, your): Speaks directly to the reader: rare.
3. Third person:
Omniscient: all knowing--reports/evaluates thoughts/feelings of many characters
Limited Omniscient: restricted to a single perspective
Objective: reports action and dialogue in a detached/journalistic fashion.
4. Stream of Consciousness: Takes reader inside the conscious or unconscious mind of a character

5. Reliable: Is credible; can be trusted to filter events and others

6. Unreliable: Not credible due to character flaws, naivete, lack of insight; reader must supply the critical perspective.
Deborah Kitchell
"Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains" - Rousseau
O. searching for the murderer
of the King of Thebes
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