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Story Elements

Year 9 English - exploring themes

Matt Houselog

on 7 September 2018

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Transcript of Story Elements

What is a theme?
THEME: a common idea that is in several stories
AUTHOR' MESSAGE: what the author wants the audience to receive (teaches a lesson)

Birth - life after loss, life sustains tragedy
Death - death as mystery, death as a new beginning
Heroism - false heroism, heroism and conflicting values
Escape - escape from family pressures, escaping social constraints
Love - love sustains/fades with a challenge
Journey - most journeys lead back to home
Coming of age - boy becomes a man
Patriotism - inner conflicts stemming from patriotism
Peace and war - war is tragic, peace is fleeting
Hope - hope rebounds
Hopelessness - finding hope after tragedy
Generation gap - experience versus youthful strength
Home - security of a homestead
Betrayal - fading bonds of love
Power - Lust for power
Isolation - the isolation of a soul
Judgment - balance between justice and judgement
Fortune - a fall from grace and fortune
Family - destruction of family
Sense of self - finding strength from within
God and spirituality - inner struggle of faith
Good and evil - the coexistence of good and evil on earth
Duty - the ethics of killing for duty
Survival - man against nature
Conformity - industrialization and the conformity of man
Individualism - choosing between security and individualism
Deception - appearance versus reality
Race relations - learned racism
Suffering - suffering as a natural part of human experience
Alienation - creating emotional isolation
Loss - loss of innocence, loss of individualism
Discovery - conquering unknown, discovering strength

1. Get with your partner
2. Think of a movie you both have watched at least a couple of times (or one you have seen recently, so that you remember a good portion of it)
3. Write a three-sentence synopsis (a short summary) about your movie:
a. What is it about?
b. What characters are involved?
c. What happens?
4. Think of one theme from that movie. Write down the theme using 1 complete sentence.
5. Note at least 2 examples from the movie (or pieces of evidence) that fit into your theme.
6. Follow Steps 4 & 5 to come up with a second theme.
7. Write your two themes on the whiteboard.
Movie Themes (do in notebook)
There are multiple themes in every story
Themes are reoccurring: they will not just show up once
Not always easy to find - you might have to dig!
Elements of Themes
1. Choose 1 theme and think of 3 different movies in which that theme is a part of the story. 2. Write your theme in a full sentence!
3. Write a 2 or 3 sentence synopsis (short summary) for each movie
4. Write 2 examples of the theme from the movie FOR EACH movie you select.
Theme Assignment
Movie Clip:
Look for a theme in the movie clip
Story Elements
Plot Structure
Rising Action
Falling Action
Point of View
Author's Purpose
-information given in the beginning of a story to help you understand what is happening
Exposition Serves 4 Purposes...
1. Provide background information
2. Establishes the setting (where/when the story takes place)
3. Introduces reader to the main characters
4. Establishes the central conflict
-major events of the story that leads up to the climax
-events usually become more exciting as you get closer to the climax
-the turning point of the story
-usually the most intense/exciting moment
-explains/shows the main theme of the story
-events that come after the climax
-leads to the resolution
-usually less intense/exciting
-the ending of the story
-the central conflict is resolved
-most (not all) other conflicts are resolved
Guide to Writing: Story Summaries
1. State the title and the author
2. Identify the main character or main characters
3. Describe the setting
4. Relate/Restate the main events (don't say everything that happens)
5. Use time-order words like: "first, then, when..."
6. Keep events in the order of the story.
7. Explain how the story ends.
Flat Characters
Round Characters
a serious disagreement, argument, or turmoil
How would you describe a conflict? (Write & Draw in your notebooks)
-fighting against others
-fighting against yourself
Write down at least 2 examples of external conflict you've been involved with recently.
Write down at least 2 examples of internal conflict you've been involved with recently.
-main character of the story
-USUALLY the "hero"
-the nemesis (enemy) of the protagonist
-USUALLY the "bad" person
-creates conflict
-characters that are complex
-important to the story
-go through significant change by the end of the story
-characters that are simple
-stay the same throughout the story
Central Conflict
- the main conflict in the story
- protagonist is involved in this conflict
- ALWAYS resolved in the resolution
6-8 sentences!
Who is telling the story?
First Person
Third Person - Limited
Third Person - Omniscient
- the story teller is a character in the story
- we see the story through this character's eyes
- story is told by a narrator, someone not personally involved with the story
- limited to knowing only the information about the main character
-all-knowing narrator
-knows all of the thoughts, feelings, and actions of all the characters
- how the story is told
- the speed or pace
- sarcastic?
- the emotional feeling of the story
fast, slow, sarcastic, serious
exciting, scary, happy
Essential Question: What elements go into a good story?
-language that has the opposite intention of what is communicated
Essential Question: How does irony make a story more interesting?
-provide a "twist" in the story
-dramatic effect
-to point out social issues (satire)
3 Types
-saying one thing, but meaning something else
Verbal Irony
- a situation that turns out to be the opposite of what we’d expect
–we know something a character doesn’t know
Situational Irony
Dramatic Irony

I went to the store. We needed milk. There was one in stock. I had the exact change. I went home. I made cookies. They were good.
Improve the story!
Pick 1 type of irony and write about how you would include it in the story below to make it more interesting.
”I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled ...”
A Modest Proposal
by Jonathan Swift
-pointing out problems in society
-the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices
Why use Irony?
Essential Question: How do authors create characters and tell their stories in an interesting way?
The ways in which an author reveals the traits of characters to the reader.
Types of Characterization
The author directly "tells" the reader about a character.
Readers must infer facts about a character through:
1. physical descriptions of a character
2. thoughts of a character
3. actions and words of a character
4. thoughts, actions, and words of other characters
= tell
"Do I really look all right?" she asked, feeling suddenly doubtful about her clothes.
"You look fine," he replied automatically. "You look great," he said, as his thumbs jabbed a reply on the plastic device.
"You're not even looking at me."
"I look at you every day." Oliver laughed, meeting her eye, then uncharacteristically blushing and looking away. His BlackBerry beeped again, and this time he excused himself, walking away to answer it.
Schuyler was startlingly pretty, with a sweet, heart-shaped face; a perfectly upturned nose; and soft, milky skin--but there was something almost unsubstantial about her beauty. She looked like a Dresden doll in witch's clothing. Kids at Duchesne School thought she dressed like a bag lady. It didn't help that she was painfully shy and kept to herself, because then they just thought she was stuck-up, which she wasn't. She was just quiet.


- making decisions about a person based on a set of criteria (guidelines)
- personal opinion
- a conclusion based on evidence and reasoning
- physical proof
- fact-based
Example #1: Mr. Houselog has an obsession with chainsaws.
Example #2: Mr. Houselog's living room has 3 mounted chainsaws, a poster of Brenda Hubbard (a famous chainsaw carving artist), and a DeWalt catalog on his coffee table opened up to the chainsaw section.
Direct or Indirect?
Identifying Character?
Notebook Assignment:
Write a one-sentence description of each character from the readings.
3-4 sentence summary on Story Elements Notes
Third Person - Objective
- story is told by a narrator
- unbiased viewpoint = no thoughts or feelings from ANY characters
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