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Literary Elements

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Rebecca Meyer-Larson

on 25 September 2018

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Transcript of Literary Elements

Literary Elements
Elements of Fiction (Drama too)
Literary Elements
Greek Drama (Antigone)
: Her heart was cold like ice when she told him she never loved him.
: a comparison of two unlike things using the words like or as.
: a comparison of two unlike things (not using the words like or as--usually using a form of the verb "to be"--was, is, are, etc.)
: "Hope is the thing with feathers. That perches in the soul, And sings the tune--without the words, And never stops at all."--Emily Dickinson
: The use of vivid, lively language to represent objects, actions, or ideas. Evokes the 5 senses.
". . . a voice from within the tomb! -- by a cry, at first muffled and broken like the sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling into one long, loud, and continuous scream, utterly anomalous and inhuman -- a howl -- a wailing shriek, half of horror and half of triumph, such as might have arisen only out of hell, conjointly from the throats of the damned in their agony and of the demons that exult in the damnation." - Edgar Allan Poe's THE BLACK CAT
: when the opposite of what you expect happens.
: The lion in The Wizard of Oz is cowardly when we expect him to be brave.
: a reference to, or a representation of, people, places, events, literary work, myths, or works of art, either directly or by implication.
: Milhouse, on falling in love: "It was just like Romeo and Juliet, only it ended in tragedy."
theme/author's message
Our part of District 12, nicknamed the Seam, is usually
crawling with coal miners heading out to the morning shift
at this hour. Men and women with hunched shoulders,
swollen knuckles, many who have long since stopped trying
to scrub the coal dust out of their broken nails, the lines of
their sunken faces. But today the black cinder streets are
empty. Shutters on the squat gray houses are closed. The
reaping isn’t until two. May as well sleep in. If you can.
Our house is almost at the edge of the Seam. I only
have to pass a few gates to reach the scruffy field called the
Meadow. Separating the Meadow from the woods, in fact
enclosing all of District 12, is a high chain-link fence topped
with barbed-wire loops. In theory, it’s supposed to be elec-
trified twenty-four hours a day as a deterrent to the preda-
tors that live in the woods — packs of wild dogs, lone
cougars, bears — that used to threaten our streets. But since we’re lucky to get two or three hours of electricity in the
evenings, it’s usually safe to touch. Even so, I always take a
moment to listen carefully for the hum that means the fence
is live. Right now, it’s silent as a stone. Concealed by a
clump of bushes, I flatten out on my belly and slide under a
two-foot stretch that’s been loose for years. There are several
other weak spots in the fence, but this one is so close to
home I almost always enter the woods here.
: The time and place (sometimes weather/season) that a story takes place.
a small French town next to the woods (in which there is a creepy, seemingly abandoned mansion).
internal conflict
external conflict
: A struggle between opposing forces in a story or play, usually resolved by the end
: the struggle occurring within a character's mind.
: a character is grappling some force outside of him or herself
(wo)man vs (wo)man: The Dark Knight
(wo)man vs Nature: Into the Wild
(wo)man vs Machine/Technology: iRobot, Wall-e
(wo)man vs Fate: Romeo & Juliet, Lord of the Rings
(wo)man vs God/Supernatural: Percy Jackson
: the process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character.
It is revealed through descriptions and dialogue.
: the main character (usually the "good guy")
: the character that opposes or gets in the way of the protagonist.
: When characters speak out loud to each other--a conversation.
: Now it's my turn. I'm thinking of something dark and mysterious. It's a fish we don't know. If we ask it directions, it could ingest us and spit out our bones.
: What is it with men and asking for directions?
: I don't want to play the gender card right now. You want to play a card, let's play the "let's not die" card.
: a speech given by a single character, most often to express their mental thoughts aloud, though sometimes also to directly address another character
: when a character talks to himself or herself or reveals his or her thoughts without addressing a listener.
: central idea of a text. (A full sentence--what is the author saying about life?)
: Keep moving forward in life; you can't repeat the past.
: a group of actors who described and commented upon the main action of a play with song, dance, and recitation. (Often, their task is to give a voice to the citizens.)
: Sometimes, the chorus provides information to the audience (Think the prologue to Romeo & Juliet). Other times, the chorus plays an integral role with the other characters (think about their conversations with Creon in Antigone)
What do we know about Antigone?
What do we know about Oedipus?
What do we know about Jocasta?
What do we know about Creon?
What do we know about Eteocles?
What do we know about Polynieces?
What do we know about Ismene?
Burt turned the radio on too loud and didn't
turn it down because they were on the verge of another argument and he didn't want it to happen. He was desperate for it not to happen.
Vicky said something.
"What?" he shouted.
"Turn it down! Do you want to break my
He bit down hard on what might have come
though his mouth and turned it down.
Vicky was fanning herself with her scarf even
though the T-Bird was air-conditioned. "Where are we, anyway?"
She gave him a cold, neutral look. "Yes, Burt. I
know we're in Nebraska, Burt. But where the hell are we?"
"You've got the road atlas. Look it up. Or can't
you read?"

“I'll fight it. I'll fight it for you. Don't you worry about me, Hazel Grace. I'm okay. I'll find a way to hang around and annoy you for a long time.”
Writer or speaker's choice of words
The use of clues by the author to prepare readers for events that will happen later in a story.
"Ah distinctly I remember,
it was in the bleak December
and each dying wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Wearily I sought the morrow, vainly I had sought to borrow
from my books surcease of sorrow"
Situational irony
– the actual outcome of a situation is the opposite of someone’s expectations.
Verbal irony
– a person says one thing and means another.

Dramatic irony
– the audience has important information that characters in a literary work do not have.

STATIC CHARACTER is one who does not change much in the course of a story.

DYNAMIC CHARACTER is one who changes in some important way as a result of the story’s action.

FLAT CHARACTER has only one or two personality traits. They are one-dimensional, like a piece of cardboard. They can be summed up in one phrase.

ROUND CHARACTER has more dimensions to their personalities---they are complex, just a real people are.
Figures of Speech


an expression of language, such as simile, metaphor, or personification, by which the usual or literal meaning of a word is not employed.
a combination of contradictory words

eg: "cruel kindness"
: exaggerations to create emphasis or effect. Hyperboles are used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but are not meant to be taken literally.
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