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13-14 Literary Elements Terms Review

Setting, Plot, Conflict, Character, Point of View, Theme

Brenda Mair

on 26 October 2017

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Transcript of 13-14 Literary Elements Terms Review

Literary Elements
Terms Review
Aspects of Setting
Plot Components
Character = a person in a work of fiction.
Two Main Character Types
Characters can also be described as . . .
Objective Point of View
First Person Point of View
Third Person Point of View
Literary Elements
Point of View
Setting = The time and location in which a story takes place
In some stories, the setting is crucial. The story could not exist without its setting. Ex. The Hunger Games relies heavily on the setting of a futuristic society.
In other stories, the setting is not as important. The story could take place in any place or time and still be the same essential story. Ex. Cinderella can take place in any time or place and still be the same basic story.
1. Place
2. Time
3. Atmosphere
Place = WHERE the story takes place (city, country, wilderness, etc.)
Time = WHEN the story takes place (historical time period, time of day, the year, etc.)
Atmosphere = The culture, society, or environmental conditions of a story.
Plot = the sequence of events in a story. Plot is a planned, logical series of events having a beginning, middle, and end.
Shorter stories generally have 1 plot
Longer stories tend to have 1 main plot and several subplots, which enrich and deepen the story.
Inciting Incident
Falling Action
Exposition (background information) = the beginning of the story when the most of the main characters are introduced and the setting is revealed.
Example (Lord of the Rings): The main characters of Frodo, Hobbits, Gandalf are introduced. Middle Earth is revealed as the setting.
Inciting Incident (conflict) = the event that introduces the conflict of the story. The inciting incident begins the rising action.
Example (Lord of the Rings): Frodo discovers the one ring and is given the task of destroying it.
Rising Action
Rising Action (complication) = the series of escalating conflicts and problems in the story that lead to the climax.
Example (Lord of the Rings): Hobbits leave The Shire; fellowship forms; fellowship breaks up; Frodo and Sam venture in to Mordor to destroy ring
Climax (crisis)= the turning point in the story when the conflict reaches its most intense moment. The conflict is not always resolved at this point, it just comes to a head.
Example (Lord of the Rings): Frodo reaches Mount Doom and the ring is destroyed.
Falling Action (story settles) = the events and complications of the rising action and climax begin to resolve themselves.
Example (Lord of the Rings): Sam and Frodo rescued; victories celebrated; Hobbits return home
Resolution (conclusion) = the final outcome of the story. The resolution is when the conflict is resolved. The resolution does not have to be a happy one.
Example (Lord of the Rings): Frodo realizes that his life will never be the same; joins other ring bearers and leaves the shire forever.
Conflict = the basic opposition or tension that sets the story in motion.
Without conflict, there is no story!
Conflict ties one incident in the story to another and makes the plot move.
In shorter stories, there is generally 1 conflict.
In larger works, there are many conflicts.
Types of Conflict
There are five main types of conflict:
1. Character vs. Character
2. Character vs. Self
3. Character vs. Society
4. Character vs. Nature
5. Character vs. Supernatural
Character vs. Character (physical) = when the main character struggles against another person.
This struggle is not necessarily a physical fight. It can be a competition between two people.
Character vs. Self (psychological) = when the main character struggles with something inside himself/herself (fear, depression, past experiences, etc.)
Character vs. Society (social) = when the main character struggles against the ideas, prejudices, injustices, practices, or customs of other people.
Character vs. Nature (survival) = when the main character struggles to survive against the natural world.
Character vs. Supernatural (Paranormal/Magic) = when the main character struggles against a supernatural force (ghosts, evil spirits, magic, aliens, etc.)
1. Protagonist
2. Antagonist
Protagonist = the major character of a story.
All of the major events of the story center around this character.
Protagonist does not equal good guy! There are many stories about people with questionable values, motives, or histories.
Harry Potter is an example of a Protagonist.
Antagonist = the person or force that the protagonist struggles against.
What the antagonist is depends on what the conflict is. If the conflict is man vs. man, the antagonist is a person. If the conflict is man vs. nature, then the antagonist could be a storm, an animal, or a deserted island.
Lord Voldemort is an example of an antagonist.
1. Static
2. Dynamic
3. Flat
4. Round
Static = a character that never learns or changes.
The events of the story do not make the character a better or a worse person. They stay the same.
Minor characters and villains are often static.
Dynamic = a character that changes, learns, or grows throughout the story.
Whether for better or for worse, the events of the story have changed the character and made them into a different person.
Protagonists and other main characters are usually dynamic.
Flat = a character that only has one or two characteristics.
These characters are not well developed. We as readers only get to see one side of a flat character’s background or personality, and we do not get into their heads.
In other words, these characters are stereotypes. e.g. brilliant detective, drunk, scrooge, cruel stepmother, etc.
Minor characters and villains are often flat.
Round = a character that is complex, multidimensional, and well developed.
We get to know these characters very well. We as readers get insight into their past, their thoughts, and their motivations.
Protagonists and other main characters are usually round.
Crabbe, Goyle, and Malfoy are examples of static characters.
Ron Weasley is an example of a dynamic character.
Professor McGonagel is an example of a flat character.
Hermione Granger is an example of a round character.
Characterization = How an author develops a character so that they seem life-like to the reader.
Authors develop characters through . . .
1. Physical Appearance
2. Thoughts and Feelings
3. Actions
4. Reactions
Physical Appearance = how the character looks.
Thoughts and Feelings = what the character says, thinks, feels, and dreams.
Actions = what the character does or does not do.
Reactions = how the character reacts to other characters, situations, or problems.
Harry Potter's scar and eyes are an important part of his characterization. The scar is a mark of his childhood trauma, and his eyes are the exact same as his mothers. These two physical characteristics always remind Harry of who he is.
Harry's words, thoughts, and feelings frequently demonstrate that he is a loyal and compassionate person. For example, Harry shows loyalty to Dumbledore when he verbally defends him while facing Voldemort in Chamber of Secrets.
Harry's actions speak volumes about his character. His actions show that he is brave, loyal, and compassionate. For example, Harry befriends Luna Lovegood, a girl who is frequently made fun of.
Harry Potter's reactions to other characters and situations show a lot about his character. For example, when Malfoy provokes Harry, he reacts by fighting back. This reaction shows that Harry will defend himself and his friends.
Point of View = the vantage point from which a story is told.
The point of view can vary from work to work.
Point of view is used to convey the feelings and motives of the characters.
Objective Point of View = the narrator tells a story without stating what the characters are thinking or feeling.
In objective point of view, the narrator will never tell you more than what can be observed.
This point of view is very similar to real life. You can observe what people do and what they look like, but you do not have access to their thoughts.
First Person Point of View = the narrator participates in the action of the story as a character.
When reading stories in the first person, you cannot always trust what the narrator is telling you.
When the narrator is not trustworthy, this is called an unreliable narrator.
Third Person Point of View = the narrator does not participate in the action of the story as one of the characters but has access to the characters thoughts and feelings.
In third person point of view, the narrator lets us know exactly what the characters think and feel.
There are two types of Third Person Point of View
1. 3rd Person Limited
2. 3rd Person Omniscient
Third Person Limited = the narrator’s knowledge is limited to one character, either major or minor.
With third person limited point of view, the read knows about the thoughts and feelings of one character.
Third Person Omniscient = the narrator knows everything about all the characters.
With third person omniscient point of view, the reader knows about the thoughts and feelings of all the characters in the story.
Theme = what the author is trying to say about life, society, or human nature.
The theme is revealed through the events of the story and the thoughts/feelings of the characters.
Theme is often described as the moral of the story.
Theme is NOT the actual conflict of the story! Rather, theme is what the author is trying to SAY about the effects of that conflict.
An understanding of theme is dependent upon your previous experience with life and literature.

At the same time, theme in literature can enlarge your own understanding of life.
Common Literary Themes
1. Quest for Eternal Life
2. Individual Needs vs. Group Needs
3. Understanding/Accepting Yourself
4. Relationship to the Natural World
5. Obtaining Justice
6. What it means to be a hero.
7. What it means to be a survivor.
8. What does the future hold for us?
9. Love (in all its forms) and its effects
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