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The Elements of Fiction New American Lecture. Plot is “what happens” in a story—the sequence of related events that makes a story hang together. What.

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Presentation on theme: "The Elements of Fiction New American Lecture. Plot is “what happens” in a story—the sequence of related events that makes a story hang together. What."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Elements of Fiction New American Lecture

2 Plot is “what happens” in a story—the sequence of related events that makes a story hang together. What Is Plot?

3 a character who wants something very much the setting The first part of a story is the exposition. The writer introduces Exposition

4 External conflict: a struggle between a character and an outside force The main conflict in a story may be internal or external. Internal conflict: a struggle within the character’s own heart or mind External: climbing wall Internal: fear Conflict

5 Types of Conflict Internal conflict –man vs. himself External conflict –man vs. society –man vs. man –man vs. nature –man vs. supernatural

6 What is the exposition? What conflict does Ulrich face? Quick Check In a forest of mixed growth somewhere on the eastern spurs of the Carpathians, a man stood one winter night watching and listening, as though he waited for some beast of the woods to come within the range of his vision and, later, of his rifle. But the game for whose presence he kept so keen an outlook was none that figured in the sportsman’s calendar as lawful and proper for the chase; Ulrich von Gradwitz patrolled the dark forest in quest of a human enemy. from “The Interlopers” by Saki Exposition and Conflict

7 Ulrich is walking through the forest on a winter night looking for someone. What is the exposition? Quick Check In a forest of mixed growth somewhere on the eastern spurs of the Carpathians, a man stood one winter night watching and listening, as though he waited for some beast of the woods to come within the range of his vision and, later, of his rifle. But the game for whose presence he kept so keen an outlook was none that figured in the sportsman’s calendar as lawful and proper for the chase; Ulrich von Gradwitz patrolled the dark forest in quest of a human enemy. from “The Interlopers” by Saki Basic Situation

8 What conflict does Ulrich face? That of a human enemy. Quick Check In a forest of mixed growth somewhere on the eastern spurs of the Carpathians, a man stood one winter night watching and listening, as though he waited for some beast of the woods to come within the range of his vision and, later, of his rifle. But the game for whose presence he kept so keen an outlook was none that figured in the sportsman’s calendar as lawful and proper for the chase; Ulrich von Gradwitz patrolled the dark forest in quest of a human enemy. from “The Interlopers” by Saki Basic Situation

9 Next, a series of complications arises—events that make the character’s situation more difficult and heighten the suspense. Complication: “If only on this wild night, in this dark, lone spot, he might come across Georg Znaeym, man to man, with none to witness-that was the wish that was uppermost in his thoughts. And as he stepped round the trunk of a huge beech he came face to face with the man he sought.” from “The Interlopers” by Saki Rising Action

10 is the most exciting or suspenseful moment The plot reaches a climax. The climax decides the outcome of the conflict “Ulrich von Gradwitz found himself stretched on the ground, one arm numb beneath him and the other held almost as helplessly in a tight tangle of forked branches, while both legs were pinned beneath the fallen mass.”.... “At his side, so near that under ordinary circumstances he could almost have touched him, lay Georg Znaeym, alive and struggling, but obviously as helplessly pinioned down as himself. from “The Interlopers” by Saki Climax

11 The last part of the plot is the resolution, or denouement. The problems are resolved in some way. The story ends—sometimes happily, sometimes not. “Who are they?” asked Georg quickly, straining his eyes to see what the other would gladly not have seen. “Wolves.” from “The Interlopers” by Saki Resolution

12 Questions Around the Wheel Mastery What are the six elements of plot? Interpersonal Think about a short story you have read. What was your favorite part of the story? Understanding Why is the exposition so important to the plot? Self-Expressive What would happen if a story had no conflict?

13 You will chart the plot of the story we will read by using a diagram like the one below. Copy this example so that you may successfully complete the mapping assignment. Basic Situation Climax Resolution Complications Event Mapping a Short Story

14 Setting

15 Setting draws us into the world of a story. Details of setting tell us where and when events are happening how the situation feels who the characters are what challenges the characters face Setting

16 Character

17 The protagonist is the main character and the focus of readers’ attention. A good protagonist The Protagonist is complicated and contradictory, like a real person has both strengths and weaknesses

18 The Antagonist The antagonist is the force that blocks the protagonist from getting what he or she wants. The antagonist may be a nonhuman force another character

19 Direct Characterization Direct Characterization—The writer tells readers directly what a character is like. Oh, but he was a tightfisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! from “A Christmas Story” by Charles Dickens

20 Indirect Characterization Indirect Characterization—The writer reveals characters’ traits through appearance dialogue private thoughts actions effects on others

21 Dynamic characters change or grow as a result of the story’s action. They Dynamic Characters are main characters gain a new understanding, make an important decision, or take a crucial action help reveal the meaning of the story Believable changes

22 Static characters are usually exactly the same as the story ends as they were when it began. They Static Characters are almost always subordinate characters support the plot without distracting readers from the main action—the protagonist’s conflict and growth

23 Flat and Round Characters Flat characters have only one or two character traits can be described in a few words are usually minor characters

24 Flat and Round Characters Round characters have many character traits are complex, like real people are often major characters

25 Questions Around the Wheel - Character Mastery Define indirect and direct characterization. Interpersonal Think of a movie, show or story you’ve read/viewed recently. Classify the characters. Understanding Compare and contrast dynamic and static characters. Self-Expressive What information would have to be added to the play Romeo and Juliet to make Paris a round character rather than a flat character?

26 Point of View

27 Point of view is the vantage point from which a writer narrates or tells a story. What Is Point of View?

28 Omniscient Point of View In the omniscient point of view, the all-knowing narrator knows and can tell what any character is thinking and feeling plays no part in the story knows what is happening in all of the story’s settings

29 How can you tell that this excerpt is written from the omniscient point of view? Omniscient Point of View Quick Check The feud might, perhaps, have died down or been compromised if the personal ill will of the two men had not stood in the way; as boys they had thirsted for one another’s blood, as men each prayed that misfortune might fall on the other, and this wind-scourged winter night.... from “The Interlopers” by Saki

30 Omniscient Point of View The narrator knows background information and both sides of the story. Quick Check How can you tell that this excerpt is written from the omniscient point of view? The feud might, perhaps, have died down or been compromised if the personal ill will of the two men had not stood in the way; as boys they had thirsted for one another’s blood, as men each prayed that misfortune might fall on the other, and this wind-scourged winter night.... from “The Interlopers” by Saki

31 Third-Person-Limited Point of View In third-person-limited point of view, the narrator knows and can tell what a single character is thinking and feeling plays no part in the story

32 Third-Person-Limited Point of View Quick Check She grieved over the shabbiness of her apartment, the dinginess of the walls, the worn-out appearance of the chairs, the ugliness of the draperies. All these things, which another woman of her class would not even have noticed, gnawed at her and made her furious. from “The Necklace” by Guy De Maupassant How can you tell that this excerpt is written from the third- person-limited point of view?

33 Third-Person-Limited Point of View The narrator knows the thoughts of only one character. Quick Check She grieved over the shabbiness of her apartment, the dinginess of the walls, the worn-out appearance of the chairs, the ugliness of the draperies. All these things, which another woman of her class would not even have noticed, gnawed at her and made her furious. from “The Necklace” by Guy De Maupassant How can you tell that this excerpt is written from the third- person-limited point of view?

34 First-Person Point of View In first-person point of view, the narrator knows and can tell only what he or she thinks and feels is a character in the story may be reliable and trustworthy or an unreliable narrator unreliable narrator

35 First-Person Point of View Quick Check The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitively settled—but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the ideas of risk. from “The Cask of Amontillado” by EA Poe How can you tell that this excerpt is written from the first- person point of view?

36 First-Person Point of View The narrator uses “I” and tells his thoughts. Quick Check The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitively settled—but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the ideas of risk. from “The Cask of Amontillado” by EA Poe How can you tell that this excerpt is written from the first- person point of view?

37 Questions Around the Wheel Mastery List as many first and third person pronouns as you can. Interpersonal If you were making a movie of “The Interlopers” where would you place the camera? Why? Understanding Why are most fairy tales told from the omniscient point of view? Self-Expressive Imagine Romeo and Juliet told from Lady Capulet’s point of view.

38 Irony

39 Irony is the contrast between expectation and reality. Three kinds of irony are What Is Irony? verbal irony situational irony dramatic irony

40 Verbal Irony In verbal irony, a speaker says one thing but means the opposite. Verbal irony can become sarcasm if taken to a harsh extreme is the simplest kind of irony

41 Situational Irony In situational irony, what actually happens is the opposite of what is expected or appropriate. Situational irony may mock human plans and intentions is often humorous

42 Situational Irony Read this sentence from Hanson W. Baldwin’s R.M.S. Titanic.... she was fresh from Harland and Wolff’s Belfast yards, strong in the strength of her forty-six thousand tons of steel, bent, hammered, shaped, and riveted through the three years of her slow birth. Explain the situational irony in this ship sinking on its first voyage.

43 Dramatic Irony Dramatic irony occurs when the reader or the audience knows something important that the character does not know. Dramatic irony heightens the sense of humor in comedies and deepens the sense of dread in tragedies adds greatly to the tension in stories, plays, and movies

44 Identify each item as one of the following: verbal irony situational irony dramatic irony Review The movie audience knows that a hostile alien is just past the door. “Don’t go in there!” one viewer yells at the screen. The guest opens his mouth to compliment the chef, but before he can speak, he burps long and loudly. Quick Check After tripping over his own feet, the teen exclaims, “That was graceful!”

45 The movie audience knows that a hostile alien is just past the door. “Don’t go in there!” one viewer yells at the screen. Review Identify each item as one of the following: verbal irony situational irony dramatic irony The guest opens his mouth to compliment the chef, but before he can speak, he burps long and loudly. Quick Check After tripping over his own feet, the teen exclaims, “That was graceful!” verbal irony dramatic irony situational irony

46 Questions Around the Wheel Mastery When you are speaking to someone, what other clues, besides tone of voice, would help you recognize that someone is using verbal irony? Interpersonal “How ironic!” or “Isn’t that ironic?” are statements you may have heard. What were the circumstances? Understanding How would a story’s point of view affect your ability to recognize verbal irony? Self-Expressive Create an ironic situation and describe how it is ironic.

47 Theme

48 What Is Theme? A work’s theme is the central idea or insight about human life that it reveals. Many elements contribute to a work’s theme. Theme settingconflictcharactersplot

49 What Is Theme? The theme of a work of literature is its root. It reveals the writer’s personal attitude toward the world and the people in it may give readers insight into life and human nature or help them realize the importance of what they already know gives meaning to the work’s characters and events

50 A work’s theme is sometimes confused with its What Is Theme? subject—what the story is about plot—the events of the story moral—the rule of conduct that the story teachesmoral These parts of a story are important, but they are not its theme.

51 What Is Theme? Identify each item as one of the following: subject plot moral theme Three siblings go swimming in a creek even though their grandfather warns them not to. One sibling is almost swept away by the current. The story of a dangerous swim Young people’s overconfidence can put them in danger; young people often learn a lesson the hard way. Quick Check Listen to your elders.

52 Three siblings go swimming in a creek even though their grandfather warns them not to. One sibling is almost swept away by the current. What Is Theme? Quick Check Identify each item as one of the following: subject plot moral theme The story of a dangerous swim Young people’s overconfidence can put them in danger; young people often learn a lesson the hard way. Listen to your elders. moral plot subject theme

53 Discovering a Theme Identifying a work’s theme is not easy but can help the reader understand the work more fully. The theme is rarely stated outright and must be inferred. A long and complex work may present more than one theme, or insight into human life.

54 Discovering a Theme Here are some guidelines for discovering theme. Think about the title. Pay attention to story’s conflict and how it is resolved. Consider how the protagonist changes. Consider the work as a whole.

55 Think about the title. Readers may find clues to the theme in the first words they read, the work’s title. Discovering a Theme How might these three things—a fish, a river, and a girl—affect the main character’s life? “The Bass, the River, and Sheila Mant”

56 Consider how the protagonist changes. Often what the main character learns about life is the truth the writer wants to reveal to the reader. Discovering a Theme There was a summer in my life when the only creature that seemed lovelier to me than a largemouth bass was Sheila Mant. I was fourteen. At the beginning...

57 Consider how the protagonist changes. Often what the main character learns about life is the truth the writer wants to reveal to the reader. Discovering a Theme Poor Sheila! Before the month was over, the spell she cast over me was gone, but the memory of that lost bass haunted me all summer and haunts me still.... I never made the same mistake again. At the end...

58 Pay attention to story’s conflict and how it is resolved. Conflict is central to most literature and often contains clues to the theme. Discovering a Theme What conflict does the protagonist face? How does he initially respond to the conflict? “I think fishing’s dumb,” she said, making a face. “I mean, it’s boring and all. Definitely dumb.”... I would have given anything not to appear dumb in Sheila’s severe and unforgiving eyes.

59 Consider the work as a whole. Other elements of the story, such as setting or characters, may also contribute to the theme. Discovering a Theme How does the development of Sheila’s subordinate character add to your understanding of the theme? “Eric said I have the figure to model, but I thought I should get an education first. I mean, it might be a while before I get started and all. I was thinking of getting my hair styled, more swept back... ?”

60 Stating a Theme You should use at least one complete sentence to state the theme of a work.complete sentence Express the theme as a generalization about life or human nature. Do not refer to specific characters or events in the work.generalization “The Bass, the River, and Sheila Mant” reveals the extremes to which people will go when they are in love and reminds readers that these sacrifices often fail to win love. Note

61 Choose a story that meant something to you. Use this chart to help you discover and then state the story’s theme. Compare your statement with those of other students who chose the same story. Practice Steps to Determining a Theme What the title suggests: How the main character changes: How the conflict is resolved: What, in general, the story reveals about life and people: The story’s theme:

62 Tying It All Together What do short stories and Kool Aid have in common? Write a one page QuickWrite on this question.


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