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Literary Elements

adapted from Ellen Cavanaugh

Tori Zinno

on 19 October 2018

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Transcript of Literary Elements

Literary Terms
When an author mentions or hints at something that will happen later in the story

means ahead
is a glimpse of something
without the complete details
could be something a character says/does or it could be something that doesn't make sense until later on in the story.
doesn't spoil the surprise, but may seem an obvious clue in retrospect.
"Now my dears," said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, "you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor."

"Now run along and don't get into any mischief. I am going out."
"The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured on insult I vowed revenge."
There were no hands greeting them at the station, no banks of gayly dressed ladies waving handkerchiefs and shouting 'Bravo'."
Hamlin Garland, "Return of a Private"
Edgar Allan Poe, "The Cask of Amontillado"
Real Life ?
Foreshadowing Tips
Keep an
out for:
signs of potential conflict between characters
signals that things may not be what they initially seem
details that are unusual or have particular emotional significance
These might be clues about what is to come!
Why do authors use foreshadowing?
Foreshadowing adds dramatic tension to a story by building anticipation about what might happen next.
Foreshadowing can make extraordinary, even fanciful events more believable; if the text foreshadows something, the reader feels more prepared for the events when they happen.
Authors use foreshadowing to create
or to convey information that helps the reader understand what comes later.

is the tension that the author uses to create a feeling of discomfort about the unknown.
As the reader, you may feel anxious or nervous as a result of the

You may be on the edge of your seat, or unable to put the book down because you want to know what will happen next.
helps to enhance the climax.
How do authors create

authors may speed up events OR the closer the reader gets to the most intense part, the more the author may slow down
hints as to what might happen later
Dangerous actions or events:
having a main character face bodily harm
Take a look a this movie clip. Jot down
your thoughts on how the film maker
created suspense. Did he/she use pace, foreshadowing, and/or dangerous action?
What about this clip?
is a statement that teaches the reader a lesson about people or life in general
The author does not typically tell the reader the theme. It is usually implied. We have to infer!
We have to figure out what it is!
Theme is NOT:
expressed in a single word
the subject
the conflict
How do I figure
out what the theme of a story is??
Think About...
What is the message that the author is trying to convey?
What is the life lesson of this story?
What is the big idea?
What universal lesson can you draw from this story and apply to your own life?
Themes are
. This means that all different types of people can relate to the theme in some way.
Steps to Determine Theme
1. Summarize the plot by writing a one sentence description for the exposition, the conflict, the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the resolution.

2. Identify the motif(s).
Motif = subject

3. Identify the insight or the truth that was learned about the motif/subject.
How did the protagonist change?
What lesson(s) did the protagonist learn from the resolution of the conflict?
What is the author trying to say about the motif or about people in general?

4. State how the plot reveals the new learned truth about the motif.

5.Write one or more generalized, declarative sentences that state what was learned and how it was learned.
Steps to determine theme:
The author begins his or her story with the exposition. It establishes the setting, introduces some of the main characters, explains background, and introduces the characters
is the time, place, and physical details in which a story takes place
Who? What? Where? When? Why?
- the series of events that make up a story
External Conflict
- a struggle between a character and an outside force
Internal Conflict
- a mental or emotional struggle that occurs within a character
- a struggle between opposing forces
External Conflict
Internal Conflict
- The main character in a story. This is who the story is about.

- a character in a story that acts against the protagonist
Rising Action
The events that lead to the climax or the highest point of action in the story. Within the rising action a conflict will be introduced.
The greatest point of tension in a story. It is the most tense, saddest, most exciting, most terrifying moment in the story. It might be a turning point in the story.
Falling Action
The events that follow the climax and lead to the story's resolution.
Resolution/ Denouement
This happens at the end of the story when all conflicts have been resolved and we know what is going to happen to the people in the story.
Character Development or Characterization
Two Types of Characterization:
1. Direct
2. Indirect
Characterization (or character development) is how authors tell the reader what the characters are like.

Direct Characterization
The author makes statements about a character's personality and
what the character is like.
"Mrs. Zinno is very angry."
"She is a crazy teacher!"
Indirect Characterization
The author
the reader what characters are like through the character's
, and
along with
how other characters respond to that character
, including what others think and say about him/her
"Mrs. Zinno was shouting, waving her arms around, and stomping on the floor."
"Okay class, today we are going to jump around and sing at the top of our lungs!" said Mrs. Zinno.
"Mrs. Zinno is crazy!" said Mrs. Cote.
They were jerks, the whole gang of them.
She was surprisingly strong for a girl of such petite stature. Her fiery determination usually matched her auburn hair, but not today for the first time since meeting Mr. Black she was afraid.
Peter was bored with the TV show, but the remote control was across the room, so he just watched it anyway. Jan would be in soon and would get the remote control for him
Peter was lazy and would never move himself more than was absolutely necessary
"That was a pretty good poem that you wrote for English class. Your stuff is so good. I wish I could write like you," Rachel said.
Types of Characters
1. Flat
2. Round
3. Static
4. Dynamic

Fiction vs. Nonfiction
- literature that tells of imaginary events, people, and places. Fiction is
- literature that is about
people, places, facts, and events. Nonfiction is

Determine the
of the story.
= subject/topic

2. What do the characters do and say that relate to the motif/subject.

3. Write a statement/sentence stating the theme or universal lesson from the story.
Irony is the difference between the appearance of things and reality. Many times it is the exact opposite of what it appears to be.
There are three types of irony:
1. Verbal
2. Situational
3. Dramatic
Verbal Irony
A character says one thing but means something else. It is the difference between what is said and what is meant.
Situational Irony
The difference between what happens and what is expected to happen.
Dramatic Irony
An comparison of two unlike things using "like" or "as"
A comparison of two unlike things, made by referring to one thing as another
When an inanimate objects, or ideas are given human characteristics or qualities
A word, person, place, or object that represents an idea or concept beyond what it means on a literal level.
The difference between what the audience knows and what the character knows
What is a symbol?
What is the purpose of using symbols?
Authors use symbols to send implicit (hidden) messages to the reader.
Symbols are shortcuts that authors use so that they don't have to spend time explaining these messages. They assume the reader can make meaning on their own.
Do you ever feel like a plastic
bag drifting through the wind wanting to start again?
Hip hop just died this morning and she's dead
How could you be so cold as the winter wind when it breeze yo...
I'm bulletproof,
Nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down, but I won't fall
I am titanium
Melissa could hear the last piece of cheesecake in the refrigerator calling her name.
The candle flame danced in the dark.
An exaggerated statement or description. It is used for emphasis and/or vivid description, but is not meant to be taken literally.
Fables are stories that feature animals, plants, or forces of nature that have been given human qualities.
Fables teach moral lessons, like how to behave or how to treat people.
Parables teach moral lessons, but they only have human characters
Parables usually take place in the real world, with real problems
Parables often have a spiritual aspect
“He picked up a handful of snow—and another, and still another. He packed it round and firm and put the snowball in his pocket for tomorrow. Then he went into the warm house.”
a reference to something or someone, such as an event, book, place or work of art
Why do authors use it?
Authors use
Help the audience better understand a subject

To draw connections between two ideas
"The side lines are line with casualties
Who sip life casually, then gradually become worse
Don't bit the apple, Eve
." ~ Jay-Z
My rep grows like the nose of Pinocchio
Just because I've mastered the art of braggadocio." ~ Akrobatik
person vs. self
person vs. society
person vs. nature
person vs. person
may transform honest people into criminals.
can help people survive dark times.
Unconditional can withstand any obstacle.
the difficult circumstances that come about through the character's attempts to find solutions to his/her problem/conflict.
character is described with such detail that he/she seems like a "real" person.
Usually protagonists and antagonists, but exceptions do occur

We understand their motivations (why they do things) and their personal perspective
Marlin from
Finding Nemo
is a round character. We know his past, his personality, his feelings, and his motivation.
character has only one or two character traits and does not change throughout the story.
How do you know if you have a round character?
If you can list a lot of things about the character (feelings, personality, motivation) you probably have a round character.
The author does not provide us with enough information about the character. The reader only gets to know one side of the character's personality.
Round Character vs. Flat Character
Round Character = a three-dimensional drawing - gives more detail than a one-dimensional drawing
Flat Character = a one-dimensional drawing - if you draw a 1D flat house, you can't see three/four sides. You can only see a few characteristics of a flat character. There are many things you can't see.
character is one who changes or evolves over the course of a story
The change must be
outlook on life
Marlin is a dynamic character because at the beginning of the story he is very protective of Nemo and barely lets him go anywhere. By the end of the story he learns to let go and trust Nemo.
character is a character who does not change his/her personality in the story.
Scar is evil and self-serving at the beginning of the story and at the end of the story.
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