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Elements of a Narrative

discuss various elements of the short story including: plot, theme, setting, characterization, conflict, and others

Bryan Bailey

on 1 December 2015

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Transcript of Elements of a Narrative

Elements of a Narrative
The plot is how the author arranges events to develop his main idea; it is the sequence of events in the story, or play.The plot is a planned, logical series of events having a beginning, middle, and end.The short story usually only has one plot, so it can be read in one sitting, unlike the novel, which may develop and connect many different plots. There are FIVE essential parts of the plot.
2. Rising Action-this is where the events in the story become complicated and the conflict in the story is revealed. (Events between the introduction and the climax)
3. Climax-this is the highest point of interest and the turning point of the story. The reader wonders what will happen next; will the conflict be resolved or not?
4. The falling action-the events and complications begin to resolve themselves. The reader now has an answer to the question from "the climax"; they have found out what happened and if the conflict was resolved or not. (Events between climax and denouement)
1. The exposition-the beginning of the story where the setting and characters are introduced.
5. The Denouement-This is the final outcome, or untangling of events in the story
It is helpful to consider climax as a three-fold phenomenon:
1) the main character receives new information
2) accepts this information (realizes it but does not necessarily agree with it)
3) acts on this information (makes a choice that will determine whether or not he/she gains his objective).
What exactly is this elusive thing called theme?
The theme of a fable is its moral. The theme of a parable is its teaching. The theme of a piece of fiction is its view about life and how people behave.

In fiction, the theme is not intended to teach or preach. In fact, it is not presented directly at all. You extract it from the characters, action, and setting that make up the story. In other words, you must figure out the theme yourself.

The writer's task is to communicate on a common ground with the reader. Although the particulars of your experience may be different from the details of the story, the general underlying truths behind the story may be just the connection that both you and the writer are seeking.
The writer makes direct statements about a character's personality and tells what the character is like.
The writer reveals information about a character and his personality through that character's thoughts, words, and actions, along with how other characters respond to that character, including what they think and say about him.
Ed Johnson scratched his head in confusion as the sales rep explained Dralco’s newest engine performance diagnostic computer. The old mechanic hated modern electronics, preferring the old days when all he needed was a stack of manuals and a good set of tools.
“That Ed Johnson,” said Anderson, watching the old mechanic scratch his head in confusion as the sales rep explained Dralco’s newest engine performance diagnostic computer. “He hasn’t got a clue about modern electronics. Give him a good set of tools and a stack of yellowing manuals with a carburetor needing repair, and he’d be happy as a hungry frog in a fly-field.”
Julie owned a multitude of outfits and accessories, and it always took her forever to decide which combination might impress Trent. As usual, she called her sister several times for advice. After doing so, Julie decided to give the navy blue skirt with the white sweater a try.
Julie held up six different outfits in front of the mirror and pondered which would go best with her navy blue shoes, pastel eye shadow and the diamond earrings she’d already procured from her overflowing vanity. After ninety minutes of mixing and matching, and cell-phoning her sister three times for advice, Julie finally made up her mind. She’d give the navy blue skirt and white sweater a try, hoping Trent would love it.
These characters appear to be fully developed people. They possess a wide and complex range of character traits, or personal qualities, and their actions can be as contradictory or as difficult to predict as those of your friends.
Flat characters appear to have only one or two superficial character traits.
A character that does not change during the course of the story.
A character that changes and sometimes learns as a result of the events in the story.
Setting has two components: TIME and PLACE
In some stories the author may merely establish the setting as a background for the action. In others the setting is vitally important, as important as the characters and plot. A horror story, for example, often needs a setting such as a musty old house with creaking floors to be effective.
In certain stories the time in which the story takes place is an important aspect, suggesting what has happened or will happen in history.
2 types...?
Internal Conflict
takes place within a character, as he or she struggles with opposing feelings, beliefs, or needs.
External Conflict
is one that occurs between two or more characters or between a character adn a natural force.
A struggle between two opposing forces.
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