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Literature Elements of Fiction

Literature Unit 8
Literature and the Language Arts
Responding to Literature

AB
Fictionis prose created from the imagination and usually narrative.
Proseis writing that uses straightforward language and that differs from poetry in that it doesn’t have a rhythmic pattern.
Narrative writingis that which tells a story.
Works of fiction usually contain the elements ofcharacter, plot, setting, and theme.
A characteris a person (or sometimes an animal) who takes part in the action of a literary work.
A protagonistis the main character in a story.
An antagonistis a character who struggles against the main character.
A major characteris one who plays an important role in a literary work.
A minor characteris one who plays a lesser role.
A one-dimensional character, or flat characterreveals only one quality or character trait.
A three-dimensional characterseems to have all the complexities of an actual human being.
Characters come alive in fictionthrough characterization.
Characterizationis the act of creating a character.
A writer creates characters in three ways #1by showing what characters say, do, or think;
A writer creates characters in three ways #2by showing what other characters say or think about them;
A writer creates characters in three ways #3by describing what physical features, dress, and personality the characters display.
The plot of a work of fiction is the series of events or situations related to acentral conflict, or struggle.
The conflictcan be internal or external.
The internal conflicttakes place within a character.
The external conflictstruggle between a character and an outside force, such as another character, society, or nature.
A plotusually contains the introduction of a conflict, its development, and its eventual resolution.
A story may begin with exposition,the introduction of the setting and characters.
The inciting incidentis the event that introduces the central conflict.
The rising action, or complicationdevelops the conflict to a high point of intensity.
The climaxis the highest point of suspense in the story.
The crisis, or turning pointis the point in the story where something happens to decide the future course of events.
The falling actionis all the events that follow the climax.
The resolutionis the point at which the central conflict ends.
The dénouementis any final material that finishes the story.
Plots are often illustrated using a pyramid;however, many plots do not include all these elements, and in short stories, the climax often occurs very late in the plot.
The setting in a work of fiction (or any other literary work)is the time and place in which it happens.
In fiction, the settingis often revealed through the description of the landscape, buildings, rooms, scenery, weather, and season.
The settingreveals important information about the time period, geographical location, cultural environment, and physical conditions in which the characters live.
These distinctions affect how the reader interprets a character’sviews and actions.
A theme of a work of fiction (or any other literary work)is a central idea of the work.
Themeis different from subject.
A subject of a workis its topic, such as “horses,” “friendship,” or “tornadoes.”
A themeis a broad statement about a topic, such as “animals can be our most loyal companions,” “friends are worth more than money,” or “tornadoes might destroy buildings but not communities.” Many stories share the same subject but have different themes because they make unique statements about that subject.
A story may havemore than one theme.
Describing themecan be a useful means of clarifying your thinking about the story.
Other elements that influence and shape a work of fiction includemood and point of view.
Mood, or atmosphereis the feeling or emotion the writer creates in a literary work.
By working carefully with descriptive language,the writer can evoke in the reader an emotional response such as fear, discomfort, longing, or anticipation.
Point of viewis the vantage point from which a story is told.
In stories told from first-person point of view,the narrator takes part in the action of the story and includes himself or herself in the telling of the story by using words such as I and we.
In stories told from the third-person point of view,the narrator is more of an observer, standing outside the action of the story and relating details to the reader using words such as he, she, it, and they.
The point of view from which a story is toldaffects what the reader knows about the events and characters in the story and how the reader reacts to the events and characters.
If the point of view from which a story is told changes,the story itself changes.
The oldest types of fictionare the stories told in the oral tradition, which include myths, legends, and fables.
Although many of these are prose stories,some myths were originally written in poetic form.
Short stories, novels, and novellasare types of fiction.
A short storyis a brief work of fiction that contains a definite beginning, middle, and end.
Although it contains all the main elements of fiction__________it may not fully develop each element.character, setting, plot, and theme
Often in the short story,the true natures of characters are revealed by their actions and their encounters with other characters.
Sometimes writers of the short story may focus oncreating mood rather than telling a story.
A novelis a long work of fiction that usually has more complex elements than a short story. Its longer format allows the elements of fiction to be more fully developed.
A novellais a work of fiction that is longer than a typical short story but shorter than a typical novel.
The term novel comes fromnovella, which is Italian for a tight-knit, realistic, prose tale.
The novellaoriginated in Italy during the Middle Ages (c.500 AD–1350 AD) and contributed to the development of both the short story and the modern novel.
Another popular literary form during the Middle Ages that contributed to the development of the novel is the romance,a type of tale that features the adventures of such legendary figures as Alexander the Great and King Arthur.
The modern noveldeals with the reality of human experience, often in an imaginative or romantic way.
Some novels focus mainly oncharacter, while others may concentrate on plot or even imagery.
In the novel,the true natures of characters are typically revealed by their reactions to the actions and events they undergo during the course of the narrative.
Some people view fiction in terms ofsubject matter and define short stories and novels as works of historical fiction, science fiction, westerns, romances, or any of a number of additional categories.
Historical fictiontells a story that is partly based on actual historical events and is partly made up.
Science fictionis imaginative literature based on scientific principles, discoveries, or laws.
Often science fiction deals withthe future, the distant past, or worlds other than our own, and often works of science fiction take present-day problems and exaggerate them into the future.
The term westernrefers to short stories or novels set in the western United States—usually during the second half of the 1800s—that relate the details of the venturesome lives of frontier men and women.
Today the term romancestill describes stories that feature extraordinary characters in exotic settings committing heroic acts.



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