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Narrative Elements

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by

Ian Clifford

on 13 September 2012

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Transcript of Narrative Elements

Elements of Literature Plot is what happens in a story. Plot Plot is why and how events happen. Oedipus is the story of a man who poked out his eyes. If the plot is examined, however, it's a story of man's relationship with his gods. Plot also gives the audience something to buy in to. Hamlet opens with a ghost. Immediately we have questions about why there's a ghost and who it could be. Setting Setting creates a backdrop for the story. The environment changes the way the story is told. A private conversation in a public place will make the audience feel as though they are eavesdropping on said conversation. Without characters, there is no story. Characters Generally, a story follows certain characters
through some sort of journey. Readers are captivated by the change in the characters; we love not who they begin as, but who they become. In Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Frodo begins as a childlike creature, oblivious to everything in the world around him. By the end, he is so corrupted and beaten by his ordeal he is a completely different person, and one we feel for. We've followed him through his journey, and because he's well-crafted, we feel like we know him personally. Symbolism Symbols create many meanings. Symbols invite the audience to participate; the audience gives the symbol their own meaning, and interprets the story in their own way. The most obvious interpretation of a symbol is not always the implied meaning. What's the point? Theme A theme should be described in a whole sentence. Love, for example, is not a theme. The things love makes individuals do, however, is a theme. Style Tone Diction Style is how a creator conveys meaning to his or her audience. In the writing of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Tolkien had very different targets. He wrote two different books in the same world, and because of his different targets, the style was very different. The Hobbit follows Bilbo Baggins through his adventure in a sort of way that children will understand and connect with Mr. Baggins. Lord of the Rings is epic fiction, and has a sense of utter doom that is aimed at a more mature audience. Diction is how a writer utilizes language to set the stage and tell the story. Herman Melville uses his mastery of language to make very vivid settings that connect the audience's feelings to the story. Tone informs the reader of his or her part. If the tone seems detached, the reader will feel detached, as well. If it's a more friendly tone, the reader will want to participate. Irony In Romeo and Juliet, we as the audience knows Juliet is only asleep, but we're forced to watch Romeo needlessly commit suicide. This is an example of dramatic irony. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is built around situational irony. The scarecrow yearns for intelligence, only to discover he has been a genius the whole story. In A Series of Unfortunate Events, the narrator starts the story by saying not to read the book because only bad things happen; of course, the narrator does not really want the reader to avoid the book. This is a form of verbal irony. Cathedral In Cathedral, the narrator is rather closeminded about having a man in his home, especially a blind man. The plot focuses on this man's change as he comes to grips with the challenges the blind man faces and becomes closer to the blind man. Cathedral is set in a couple's home. The narrator appears to feel invaded by the blind man's so-called intrusion into the narrator's home. In Cathedral, we meet the narrator. He appears to be insecure about his relationship with his wife, thus giving the story a body. The man's wife functions as a mechanism to add the blind man to the story. Robert, the blind man, adds a conflict. Our narrator is at war with himself over this new experience, so that we have a plot. Robert is an unwanted guest. The narrator does not know much about him. Robert symbolizes the unknown. Things that we've not experienced before may be terrifying for us. Robert symbolizes the unknown. The theme of Cathedral could be said to be that of embracing that which is unknown to us. Cathedral is set in a first-person point-of-view. This viewpoint makes the story almost like an interpersonal narrative. The style of Cathedral is super chill, man. The narrator seems to not be very invested in anything he does (that's the cannabis). At the end of Cathedral, Robert guides our narrator as he draws a cathedral. Robert creates a better image of a cathedral than the man who can see. This is a sort of situational irony. Fin
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