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Elements of a Narrative 1

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Jamie Bossenmeyer

on 9 October 2016

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Transcript of Elements of a Narrative 1

English Language Arts
of a
The plot is a sequence of events in a story. The author arranges the events to develop his basic idea; there are 7 essential parts.

geographical place. Where is the action of the story taking taking place?
There are 2 meanings to the word character:
Point of View
Conflict is the struggle between two opposing forces.
It is the opposition of forces which ties one incident to another and makes the plot move
It's usually identified at the inciting incident.
Conflict is not limited to open arguments, rather it is any form or opposition that faces the main character
Within a story there may be only one central struggle, or there may be one dominant struggle with many minor ones
There a two types: External and Internal
the angle from which the story is told
Motif – the topic/concept addressed in fiction. Topic of the theme.
i.e. Conceit, vanity, jealousy, greed
: Narrative writing from the author's imagination
: most compact literature; creates a powerful, emotional effect
: meant to be performed; characters and conflict developed through dialogue and action
: prose writing about real people, events and places
short stories
many sub-genres
narrative poem
lyric poem
many sub-sub-genres
Freytag's Pyramid
The Structure of Plot
a diagram of the structure of a five-act tragedy, given by Gustav Freytag
widely accepted (and sometimes adapted) as a means of analyzing the structure of many kinds of fiction in addition to drama.

The pyramid is made up of seven steps – four phases and three moments from beginning to end.
introductory material: creates the tone, gives the setting, introduces the characters, determines point of view; and supplies other facts necessary for understanding
Inciting Moment
an event or force that ends the exposition and sets in motion the rising action;
determines the conflict;
also called the precipitating incident, exciting force or narrative hook
Rising Action
series of events/obstacles that complicate the resolution to the conflict;
builds suspense;
proceeds to the climax. It can also be called the complication.
the answer to inciting incident is known;
the turning point in the action;
also known as the reversal
Falling Action
eases suspense;
reveals the outcome of the story's climax;
demonstrates how the character overcame the conflict
event that ends the falling action;
"OK, it's over" moment;
can be positive or negative emotions
gives an explanation of all the secrets and misunderstandings connected with the plot;
the tying up of loose ends, exposure of a villain, clearing up a mistaken identity, reuniting characters, riding off into the sunset, etc.
Narrative form is a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Fiction, Poetry, and Nonfiction can be written in narrative form.
historical period, time of day, year. When is the story taking place?


Local Color - writing that focuses on the speech, dress, mannerisms, customs, etc. of a particular place. What is the daily life of the character's like?
Mood or Atmosphere
What feeling is created at the beginning of the story? Is it bright and cheerful or dark and frightening?
Plot Line
Linear Progression
: something changes or progresses straight from one stage to another, and has a starting point and an ending point
Nonlinear Progression
: development that makes sudden changes or develops different directions at the same time
: An account of a conversation, episode, or event that happened before the beginning of the story or an earlier point.
: Aids linear progression through the use of hints or clues in early scenes to suggest events that will occur later.
The time and location in which a story takes place is called the setting. For some stories the setting is very important, while for others it is not. There are several aspects of a story's setting to consider when examining how setting contributes to a story (some, or all may, be present in the story.
1. The person in a work of fiction
people or animal
real or imaginary
2. The characteristics of a person
characterized directly or indirectly
The leading character, hero, or heroine of a drama or other literary work.

A character who is opposed to , struggles against, or competes with another.
When a character undergoes an important internal change by the end of the story. He/She has a new understanding.

When a character does not undergo any type of change; stays the same from the beginning to the end
Three-dimensional; reveals physical, mental and emotional expressions. (You know a lot about the character)

Two-dimensional; uncomplicated character; usually an extra that you do not know a lot about.
In order for a story to seem real to the reader, its characters must seem real. Characterization is the information the author gives the reader about the characters themselves. The author may reveal a character in several ways:
inner thought and feelings
what others say
External Conflict: a character struggles with an out side force
There are 4 types:
Man vs Man
(physical) - The leading character struggles with his physical/mental strength against other, men, forces of nature, or animals.
Example: physical fight, verbal argument, athletic event
Man vs. Circumstances
(classical): The leading character struggles against fate, or the circumstances of life facing him/her.
Man vs. Nature (modern)
Example: wild animal, flood, hurricane, sickness, etc.
Man vs. Society
(social): The leading character struggles against ideas, practices, or customs of other people.
Example-a person rejects a culture, person breaks a federal law, a group fight or argument
Group vs Group
: An entire group struggles against ideas, practices, or customs of other people.
Example-team sports, gang rivalry, Republicans vs. Democrats.
Internal Conflict: a character struggles to overcome some internal problem.
Man vs. Self
(psychological): The leading character struggles with himself/herself: with his/her own soul, ideas of right or wrong, physical limitations, choices, etc.
first person
second person
third person
• First Person – the story is told by the protagonist or one of the characters who interacts closely with the protagonist (using pronouns: I, me, we, etc.). the reader sees the story through this person’s eyes as he experiences it and only knows what he knows or feels.
• Second Person – the reader, identified through the use of “you.”
• Third Person – the author narrates the story (using pronouns: he, she, they, etc.). He can move from character to character, event to event, having free access to characters, and he introduces information where and when he chooses. There are three main types of third person point of view:
o Third Person Omniscient – the author tells the story in third person. Not only does the reader know what the characters have spoken, but the reader is also given additional information or comments about characters’ thoughts, feelings and motivations.

o Third Person Limited – the author tells the story in third person. There is no comment on the characters’ thoughts. No interpretations are offered. The reader is placed in the position of spectator without the author there to explain. It appears as though a camera is following the characters, going anywhere, and recording only what is seen and heard.
- the view of life or truth about human experience; the basic human insight on which the story is founded.
• ALWAYS written in a complete sentence
• NEVER a cliché
The Emperor’s New Suit
• motif - Vanity
• theme - Vanity and conceit can cause someone to make poor decisions.

• motif - perspective and attitude
• theme - Your attitude toward change influences your perspective of the situation.

Third-Person Objective: the facts of a narrative are reported by a seemingly neutral, impersonal observer or recorder.
“Hansel walked ahead of Gretel;
after all, he knew he belonged in the front because Gretel was just a girl.
Gretel dropped breadcrumbs behind her as she went,
knowing that her bumbling brother couldn’t be counted on to find his way home from the outhouse, let alone from the middle of the woods.

Ahead of them, an old witch waited,
her stomach rumbling at the thought of what a delicious dinner the two plump children would make.”

However, this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. Some narrators may reveal the thoughts of all the characters but one, which raises the mystery and significance of the “unknown” character. Other times, a story might be told by a narrator that confines his observations to only one character at a time. This happens in the short story “The Most Dangerous Game,” by Richard Connell, where the POV shifts from Rainsford to Zaroff near the end of the story.
Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is told in third person limited, with Elizabeth Bennet serving as the point of view character. By putting limitations on what the reader is able to know, suspense and mystery become much more available to the writer.
objective POV used to perfect effect is the short story “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson.
“Hansel walked ahead of Gretel. Gretel dropped breadcrumbs behind her as she went.

Ahead of them, an old witch waited.”

Notice that none of the passage is italicized, because all of it is action, and no thoughts or feelings are included at all.
“Hansel walked ahead of Gretel. Gretel dropped breadcrumbs behind her as she went,
knowing that her bumbling brother couldn’t be counted on to find his way home from the outhouse, let alone from the middle of the woods.”

Notice that the mention of the witch is gone, since Gretel has no knowledge of her at this point.

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