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The foundations of literature

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1 The foundations of literature
Literary Elements The foundations of literature

2 Literary elements: Diction and Dialect
Dialect is variation of a given language spoken in a particular place or by a particular group of people. A dialect is distinguished by its vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. If we’re only talking about pronunciation, we usually use the term “accent.” Dialect is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors, such as social class. Diction involves a writer’s selection of language. Diction may be described as formal or informal, abstract or concrete, figurative or literal.

3 Literary elements: Theme
Theme is what is revealed about human life or human nature. It reveals something that we can often relate to. Although it is usually unstated, it gives a story meaning. Theme can reveal an author’s whole view of life. Theme is not a story’s plot or the story’s subject: It is an idea. It gives us insight into some aspect of life we have never really thought about before, or it may make us understand on an emotional level.

4 Literary elements: Theme
General guidelines for discovering theme: When writing about theme, we must use at least one complete sentence to state a theme, rather than just a phrase, such as “the joy of childhood.” A theme is not the same as a moral. So ask yourself, “What does this story reveal?” rather than “What does this story teach?” One way to determine a theme is to ask how the main character (protagonist) changes during the story. Also, consider the story’s title. It often will hint at the meaning of the story. A theme should not refer to specific characters or events in a story. It should be something about life or human nature that is general enough for the reader to relate to. Theme should explain the whole story, not just a part of it.

5 Literary elements: Symbolism and setting
Setting: particular time, environment, and place in which events occur. Symbols used in literature are objects used to represent other things or ideas. Setting often serves as a symbol. Authors include symbolism in their stories to give the stories deeper meaning: objects, people, places, or events that stand for something broader than themselves, such as an idea or emotion. Symbols are all around us: Hearts symbolize love, caring. The American flag symbolizes the United States of America. The Trojan Head downstairs symbolizes pride and strength.

6 Literary elements: Irony
Irony is the contrast between what is expected and what actually exists or happens. Three types of irony include: Situational irony: the contrast between what a character or the reader expects to happen and what actually happens. Verbal irony: occurs when someone says one thing but means another (a common form is sarcasm). Dramatic irony: the contrast between what a character knows and what the reader or audience knows.

7 Literary elements: Irony
Verbal irony In “The Lottery” Old Man Warner says, “The next thing you know people will want to go back to living in caves.” The irony in that statement is that Warner thinks without the lottery, people will become primitive – even though the lottery is as primitive of a ritual as there is. Situational irony The lottery is conducted on a bright, sunny day by a man named Summers. However, this effervescent setting belies the dark task of the day and the dark side of human nature. Dramatic irony The characters know that the “winner” of the lottery is actually the loser. The reader doesn’t know this until the first stone is thrown.

8 Literary elements Suspense:
The element of plot that makes the reader want to read on to find out what happens. The reader usually experiences suspense when he or she is worried about whether a character will succeed in overcoming conflict. Setting often helps establish suspense.

9 Literary elements Tone:
The attitude the writer takes toward the subject he or she is writing about. Just as we reveal our attitude by our tone of voice when we are speaking, so writers show their attitude (tone) by their writing style. A tone can be pessimistic, optimistic, earnest, serious, bitter, humorous, joyful, melancholy, nostalgic, etc.

10 Literary elements Tone can often help determine mood:
Mood is the climate of  feeling in a literary work. The choice of setting, objects, details, images, and words all contribute toward creating a specific mood. For example, the moods evoked by the more popular short stories of Edgar Allen Poe tend to be gloomy, horrific, and desperate. An author may create a mood of mystery around a character or setting but may treat that character or setting in an ironic, serious, or humorous tone.

11 Literary elements: Figurative language
Whenever you describe something by comparing it with something else, you are using figurative language. Any language that goes beyond the literal meaning of words in order to furnish new effects or fresh insights into an idea or a subject. Three common figures of speech are personification, simile, and metaphor.

12 Literary Elements: Figurative language
Simile A figure of speech which involves a direct comparison between two unlike things, usually with the words like or as. Example: He threw baseballs as if they were bullets. The wheat field lies like liquid gold. Metaphor A figure of speech which involves an implied comparison between two relatively unlike things. The comparison is not announced by like or as. Example: The road was a ribbon of moonlight.

13 Literary elements: Figurative language
Personification A figure of speech which gives the qualities of a person to an animal, an object, or an idea. It is a comparison which the author uses to show something in an entirely new light, to communicate a certain feeling or attitude towards it and to control the way a reader perceives it. Example: The brave, handsome brute fell with a creaking rending cry (the author is giving a tree human qualities).

14 Literary Elements: Foreshadowing
Foreshadowing employs hints given by the writer about something that will happen later in the story. Foreshadowing increases the reader’s feeling of suspense: the excitement or tension that readers feel as they get involved in a story and become eager to know the outcome.

15 Literary elements: Flashback
A flashback is an account of a conversation, episode, or event that happened before the beginning of a story. It often interrupts the chronological flow of a story to give information that can help readers understand a character’s present situation.

16 Literary elements: Characterization
Characters: The people (or animals) who take part in the action of a story. Characterization: The ways a writer develops the characters; means of demonstrating who the character is.

17 Literary elements: Characterization
In order to have a full understanding of the characters in a story, we may need a variety of information: Physical descriptions Past history or experiences Interactions with other people Personality traits

18 Literary elements: Characterization
This information can be provided in two ways: 1. Directly: The author tells what the character is like, usually through description and simple statements. 2. Indirectly: The author shows what the character is like; implies facts about the character through showing the character in his or her surroundings, allowing the character to demonstrate his or her characteristics.

19 Literary elements: Characterization
In the indirect method, some devices include: Other characters’ comments and reactions to the main character The main character’s actions Dialogue with other characters Interaction with other characters The main character’s reaction to events and surroundings Often, a combination of direct and indirect methods is used.

20 Literary elements: Characterization
Whether characters in a story are real or imagined, they should possess certain basic qualities that make them believable and interesting. Characters are not “all good” or “all bad.” Characters are consistent in their actions. Characters are clearly motivated, with understandable reasoning. If there is a change in their actions, there is a reason behind it.

21 Literary elements: Characterization
Characters that change Generally, one or more of a story’s characters change as a result of the events of the story. A character who grows emotionally, learns a lesson, or alters his or her behavior is called a dynamic character. This fully developed character is a “round” character: Jerry from “Through The Tunnel” A character who is simple, who remains unchanged throughout a story, is known as a static character, or “flat” character: Lennie from Of Mice and Men.

22 Literary elements: Extended metaphor
Review: Metaphor A figure of speech which involves an implied comparison between two relatively unlike things. The comparison is not announced by like or as. An extended metaphor carries the comparison another step and extends it through your writing. It often includes metaphors and similes.

23 Literary elements: Extended metaphor
Let’s think of one comparing writing to playing basketball. Start by listing all the basketball words you can think of to see how they could be used in a comparison: dribble jump shot three-pointer foul free throw time out referee camping in the lane net shoot bounce pass half-time warm-ups equipment rebound defense offense assist goal tending slam dunk swish pick technical steal

24 Literary elements: Extended metaphor
Then write: For me, writing is like playing basketball. As I prepare for practice, I gather my equipment: a pencil, pad of paper, a dictionary, and a Diet Coke. My warm-ups include doodling on the edge of the paper while I contemplate what to write. When my mind is sufficiently stretched, I begin writing.

25 Literary elements: Extended metaphor
The words start in my head and dribble down my arm, through my pencil, and onto the page. It isn’t always smooth: Sometimes, I get a fast break, and the words come faster than I can write them down. Other times, I throw the ball away, writing in a direction that doesn’t match my topic. Then I take a time-out and drink my Diet Coke.

26 Literary element: Point of View
The vantage point from which a story is told. First person: told by one of the characters in his or her own words. Third person: told by someone not in the story. A narrator who is not a character describes the events and characters. One version of third person is called third-person omniscient: the narrator is “all-knowing” and can see into the minds of all the characters, providing the most information possible.

27 Literary Element: Point of View
Effects of using different points of view: First person: more limited (only view of one character); more subjective (told as one person sees it, which may not be as it really is); more personal (goes deeper into the mind and emotions of one specific character). Third person: more complete (can look into any character’s thoughts, views, emotions); told from a variety of perspectives (truer picture); less development on one specific character (development of many characters)

28 Literary elements: Conflict
Most stories are built around a central conflict or struggle between opposing forces. The five basic forms of conflict are person versus person; person versus self; person versus nature; person versus society; person versus a supernatural force.

29 Literary Elements: Conflict
Conflict is also seen as: Internal: occurs inside the character (fear, doubt, confusion, guilt) External: the character is pitted against another character, outside force (such as nature) a physical obstacle, even a supernatural force Usually, there is one central conflict in a story, but many stories have more than one struggle.

30 Literary elements: Allusion
Review: An allusion is a brief reference to a person, event, place, or phrase outside of a story that the writer assumes the reader will recognize. An allusive reference can be real or fictional. A literary allusion refers to another written work, art piece, book, etc.

31 Literary elements: Plot
Plot is the chain of related events that take place in a story. A plot is almost always built around conflict. Most plots include these stages of development: Exposition: includes background about characters, conflict, and setting. Rising action: suspense builds because complications arise that make the conflict more difficult for the main character(s) to resolve. Climax: the turning point of the action, when the reader’s interest reaches its highest point. Falling action and resolution: The conflict ends and loose ends are tied up.

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