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Unit 1 the power of storytelling part a narrative structures
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Unit 1: The Power of Storytelling Part A: Narrative Structures. Literary Elements and Language Terms Set #1. Part A: Narrative Literary Elements – Characters, Point of View, Conflict, and Plot. I. What is a Narrative?.

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Literary Elements and Language Terms Set #1

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Unit 1 the power of storytelling part a narrative structures

Unit 1: The Power of Storytelling

Part A: Narrative Structures

Literary Elements and Language Terms Set #1

Part a narrative literary elements characters point of view conflict and plot

Part A: Narrative Literary Elements – Characters, Point of View, Conflict, and Plot

I what is a narrative

I. What is a Narrative?

Narrative: a piece of writing that tells of a related series of events (a story)

  • Narratives are NOT only fiction.

  • All narratives contain characters, conflict, and plot.

Ii what are characters

II. What are Characters?

Characters: The people/actors in a story.

1 protagonist

1. Protagonist

  • The “good guy” (the Main Character) around whom the plot revolves.

  • S/he is not always a likeable person.

2 antagonist

2. Antagonist

  • The “bad guy”

  • The person, place, or thing in conflict with the protagonist – can be another person, a force of nature, fate, society, etc.

Iii how do writers depict characters

III. How Do Writers Depict Characters?

Characterization: The process by which writers reveal their characters’ traits (qualities)

  • Two Types:

    • Direct characterization: The writer directly tells the reader what the character is like

      ex. “Jennifer was a bright and honest young lady.”

Iii how do writers depict characters1

III. How Do Writers Depict Characters?

  • Indirect Characterization: The writer reveals character's traits indirectly with any combination of:

    • Describing the character’s appearance

    • Dialogue (what they say!)

    • The opinions of other characters about the character

    • Character’s actions

    • The character’s private thoughts

Iv types of characters

IV. Types of Characters

Flat: One-dimensional (paper doll); one or two personality traits only (usually the “bad guy”)

Ex. Cinderella’s


Iv types of characters1

IV. Types of Characters

Round: 3-dimensional; many traits and complexities (usually the main character)

Ex. Shrek!

Iv types of characters2

IV. Types of Characters

Stock: stereotypical character

Ex. Marie Barone from “Everybody Loves Raymond”

Iv types of characters3

IV. Types of Characters

Dynamic Character: a character that changes in an important way

- Remember – “Dynamite” EXPLODES

Iv types of characters4

IV. Types of Characters

Static Character: does not undergo a major change in the story

- Remember – “static” television set

Ex. Dwight

Schrute from

“The Office”

V character motivation

V. Character Motivation

Motivation: The reasons for a character’s behavior

- This requires you to make inferences based on characterization!

Vi point of view

VI. Point of View

  • Point of View is the vantage point from which we “see” a story.

  • The point of view in a story affects how WE look at it and understand what happens in it.

Vi point of view1

VI. Point of View

  • 3 Types:

    • 1. First Person: Told by one of the characters in the story; Uses the pronoun “I”

      2. Third Person Limited: The narrator, who is almost never a character in the story, zooms in on the thoughts of just one or a select few characters

    • 3. Third Person Omniscient: the narrator knows all there is to know about the characters and problems

Vii what is conflict

VII. What is Conflict?

  • Conflict: The struggle between opposing characters or forces; Problems

1 external conflict

1. External Conflict

Clash between a character and an outside force – with another person, object, or entity.

  • Man vs. Man

  • Man vs. Nature

  • And many others…

2 internal conflict

2. Internal Conflict

A struggle within a character’s mind

  • Man vs. Self

Viii what is plot

VIII. What is Plot?

  • Plot: The series of events that occurs in the story that presents and resolves a conflict.

    • There are seven (7) elements of plot.

    • Freytag’s Pyramid helps us remember the elements of plot and the order they usually go in.

Freytag s pyramid

Freytag’s Pyramid

Viii elements of plot

VIII. Elements of Plot

1. Exposition: introduces the setting, characters, and any necessary background

Viii elements of plot1

VIII. Elements of Plot

2. Inciting Moment/Incident: An event occurs that initiates the main action and begins the primary conflict in the story.

3. Rising Action: Presents complications that intensify the conflict; builds suspense as we wonder what the outcome will be.

4. Climax: The turning point in the story and the moment of greatest suspense

Viii elements of plot2

VIII. Elements of Plot

5. Falling Action: The events that occur as a result of the climax, but before the primary problem created in the inciting moment has been resolved.

6. Resolution: The main problem created by the inciting moment/incident is solved.

Viii elements of plot3

VIII. Elements of Plot

7. Denouement: The “where are they now.” The author ties up any loose ends and answers any remaining questions.

Ix types of plot

IX. Types of Plot

1. Linear Plot: Goes in chronological order – the events are told in the order in which they happened (Goes in order of Freytag’s Pyramid without deviation)

Ix types of plot1

IX. Types of Plot

2. Non-Linear Plot: Events are NOT revealed in the order that they occurred, but in some other order that the writer chooses

  • Flashback: a scene within the story that interrupts the sequence of events to reveal something that happened at an earlier time

  • Foreshadowing: hints or clues early on that suggest things that will happen later in the story

Part b literary elements sensory language imagery and mood

Part B: Literary Elements – Sensory Language, Imagery, and Mood

X imagery

X. Imagery

Sensory Language: Words and phrases that appeal to the senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and/or taste. Sensory details create…

Imagery: Vivid descriptions that re-create sensory experiences for the reader, creating “word pictures”

Ex: “a thundering downpour of rain”

To what senses does this example appeal? What image does it create?

Xi mood

XI. Mood

Mood: The feeling or atmosphere that the writer creates for the reader using imagery and setting details.

Xi mood1

XI. Mood

What senses do the following details appeal to, and what image and mood do they create all together?

  • “Flashes of lightning illuminated the ink-black sky.”

  • “Another cobweb stuck to her cold, clammy skin.”

  • “The foul smell of dead mice hung in the air.”

  • “She could not get the metallic taste of fear out of her mouth.”

  • “There was an ominous scratching on the door.”

Part c language terms diction and tone

Part C: Language Terms – Diction and Tone

Xii diction

XII. Diction

Diction: Word choice

  • Writers choose their words with purpose. If we can analyze diction, it can help us understand their theme and purpose.

  • In order to analyze diction, we have to be able to analyze…

Xii diction1

XII. Diction

Denotation: The dictionary or literal meaning of a word.

Ex: Plump = a full, round, and pleasing figure

Connotation: All the meanings, associations, or feelings that a word suggests.

Ex: Fat = while similar in denotative meaning to plump, it has a very harsh and mean connotation

Xii diction2

XII. Diction

Why study diction?

  • A writer or speaker’s choice of words evoke emotions within us.

  • The connotation of a word can be positive, negative, or neutral.

Xii diction3

XII. Diction

Examine the diction in the following sentences. What are the connotations here? Which sentence has a more positive connotation, and which has a more negative connotation?

  • You look unique today.

  • You look odd today.

  • You look weird today.

Xii diction4

XII. Diction

Examine the diction in the following sentences. What are the connotations here? Which has a more positive emotional connotation?

  • I’m crazy about him.

  • I love him to the depths of my soul.

Xii diction5

XII. Diction

Categorize the following words as having a positive, negative, or neutral connotation.




Xiii tone

XIII. Tone

Tone: The writer’s/speaker’s attitude toward his/her subject or audience. This is described by a single adjective (ex. a sarcastic tone, a playful tone, a bitter tone) and can be figured out by examining the diction and the choice of details in a text.



Literary elements and language terms set 1


You are now responsible for knowing and being able to apply the literary terms in this lesson. Most of them are review, so study them carefully and be sure you know them!

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