Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms
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Literary Terms #6 Plot Terms & Narrative Terms. AP English Literature and Composition Hilltop High School Mrs. Demangos. Atmosphere. Effect of physical environment Also called Mood

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Literary Terms #6 Plot Terms & Narrative Terms

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Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

Literary Terms #6Plot Terms & Narrative Terms

AP English Literature and Composition

Hilltop High School

Mrs. Demangos


Atmosphere

Atmosphere

  • Effect of physical environment

  • Also called Mood

  • The emotional feelings inspired by a work. The term is borrowed from meteorology to describe the dominant mood of a selection as it is created by:

    • diction,

    • dialogue,

    • setting,

    • description

Mood


Atmosphere1

Atmosphere

  • Often the opening scene in a play or novel establishes an atmosphere appropriate to the theme of the entire work.

  • The opening of Shakespeare's Hamlet creates a brooding atmosphere of unease.

Mood


Atmosphere2

Atmosphere

  • Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher establishes an atmosphere of gloom and emotional decay.

Mood


Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

Tone

  • The author’s or speaker’s attitude

  • The author’s implicit attitude toward the reader or the people, places, and events in a work as revealed by the elements of the author’s style.

  • Tone may be characterized as serious or ironic, sad or happy, private or public, angry or affectionate, bitter or nostalgic, or any other attitudes and feelings that human beings experience.

speaker’s attitude


Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

Tone

  • By looking carefully at the choices an author makes (in characters, incidents, setting; in the work's stylistic choices and diction, etc.), careful readers often can isolate the tone of a work and sometimes infer from it the underlying attitudes that control and color the story or poem as a whole.

…serious or ironic, sad or happy, private or public, angry or

affectionate, bitter or nostalgic, or…


Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

Tone

  • To illustrate the difference, two different novelists might write stories about capitalism.

Author #1 creates a tale in which an impoverished but hard-working young lad pulls himself out of the slums when he applies himself to his education, and he becomes a wealthy, contented middle-class citizen who leaves his past behind him, never looking back at that awful human cesspool from which he rose.

Author #2 creates a tale in which a dirty street-rat skulks his way out of the slums by abandoning his family and going off to college, and he greedily hoards his money in a gated community and ignores the suffering of his former "equals," whom he leaves behind in his selfish desire to get ahead.

Author #1

Author #2


Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

Tone

Author #1 and author #2 basically present the same plotline. While the first author's writing creates a tale of optimism and hope, the second author shapes the same tale into a story of bitterness and cynicism.

  • To illustrate the difference, two different novelists might write stories about capitalism.

Author #1

Author #2


Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

Tone

Author #1

Author #2

  • To illustrate the difference, two different novelists might write stories about capitalism.

  • The difference is in their respective tones--the way they convey their attitudes about particular characters and subject-matter.

  • Note that in poetry, tone is often called voice.


Conflict

Conflict

  • Interplay of opposing forces

  • The opposition between:

    • two characters (such as a protagonist and an antagonist),

    • between two large groups of people,

    • between the protagonist and a larger problem such as forces of nature, ideas, public mores, and so on.

  • Conflict is the engine

    that drives a plot.


  • Internal conflict

    Internal Conflict

    • Conflict may also be completely internal, such as the protagonist struggling with his psychological tendencies (drug addiction, self-destructive behavior, and so on).

    William Faulkner famously claimed that the most important literature deals with the subject of "the human heart in conflict with itself."


    Internal conflict1

    Internal Conflict

    • Narratives driven by internal struggles include:

    Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," in which the protagonist ends up struggling with his own guilt after committing a murder.

    and…


    Internal conflict2

    Internal Conflict

    Daniel Scott Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon," in which the hero struggles with the loss of his own intelligence to congenital mental retardation.


    External conflict

    External Conflict

    • Examples of narratives driven mainly by conflicts between the protagonist and nature include:

    Jack London's "To Build a Fire“

    (in which the Californian struggles to save himself from freezing to death in Alaska)

    Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat" (in which shipwrecked men in a lifeboat struggle to stay alive and get to shore).


    External conflict1

    External Conflict

    • Examples of narratives driven by conflicts between a protagonist and an antagonist include Mallory's Le MorteD'arthur, in which King Arthur faces off against his evil son Mordred, each representing civilization and barbarism respectively.


    Conflict1

    Conflict

    • In complex works of literature, multiple conflicts may occur at once. For instance, in Shakespeare's Othello, one level of conflict is the unseen struggle between Othello and the machinations of Iago, who seeks to destroy him. Another level of conflict is Othello's struggle with his own jealous insecurities and his suspicions that Desdemona is cheating on him.


    Comic relief

    Comic Relief

    • Lightens narrative

    • A humorous scene or incident that alleviates tension in an otherwise serious work.

    • In many instances these moments enhance the thematic significance of the story in addition to providing laughter.


    Comic relief1

    Comic Relief

    • When Hamlet jokes with the gravediggers we laugh, but something hauntingly serious about the humor also intensifies our more serious emotions.


    Complication

    Complication

    • Plot reversals

    • An intensification of the conflict in a story or play. Complication builds up, accumulates, and develops the primary or central conflict in a literary work.


    Deus ex machina

    Deus Ex Machina

    • Contrived ending

    • from Greek theosapomechanes: An unrealistic or unexpected intervention to rescue the protagonists or resolve the story's conflict. The term means "The god out of the machine," and it refers to stage machinery.

    • A classical Greek actor, portraying one of the Greek gods in a play, might be lowered out of the sky onto the stage and then use his divine powers to solve all the mortals' problems. The term is a negative one, and it often implies a lack of skill on the part of the writer.


    Deus ex machina1

    Deus Ex Machina

    • In a modern example of deus ex machina, a writer might reach a climactic moment in which a band of pioneers were attacked by bandits. A cavalry brigade's unexpected arrival to drive away the marauding bandits at the conclusion, with no previous hint of the cavalry's existence, would be adeus ex machina conclusion.

    …to the rescue!


    Deus ex machina2

    Deus Ex Machina

    • Such endings mean that heroes are unable to solve their own problems in a pleasing manner, and they must be "rescued" by the writer himself through improbable means.

    • In some genres, the deus ex machina ending is actually a positive and expected trait. In various vitae, or Saint's Lives, divine intervention is one of the normal climactic moments of the narrative to bring about the rescue of a saint or to cause a mass conversion among conventional pagan characters. See vita.


    Epiphany

    Epiphany

    • Sudden awareness

    • Christian thinkers used this term to signify a manifestation of God's presence in the world. It has since become in modern fiction and poetry the standard term for the sudden flare into revelation of an ordinary object or scene.

    • In particular, the epiphany is a revelation of such power and insight that it alters the entire world-view of the thinker who experiences it.

    Ah ha!


    Epiphany1

    Epiphany

    • (In this sense, it is similar to what a scientist might call a "paradigm shift.")

    • Shakespeare's Twelfth Night takes place on the Feast of the Epiphany, and the theme of revelation is prevalent in the work.

    Paradigm shift…


    Flashback

    Flashback

    • Device to supply background

    • A method of narration in which present action is temporarily interrupted so that the reader can witness past events--usually in the form of a character's memories, dreams, narration, or even authorial commentary (such as saying, "But back when King Arthur had been a child. . . ."). Flashback allows an author to fill in the reader about a place or a character, or it can be used to delay important details until just before a dramatic moment.


    Foreshadowing

    Foreshadowing

    • Hints at coming events

    • Suggesting, hinting, indicating, or showing what will occur later in a narrative.

    • Foreshadowing often provides hints about what will happen next.

    What do you think is going to happen next?


    Foreshadowing1

    Foreshadowing

    • For instance, a movie director might show a clip in which two parents discuss their son's leukemia. The camera briefly changes shots to do an extended close-up of a dying plant in the garden outside, or one of the parents might mention that another relative died on the same date. The perceptive audience sees the dying plant, or hears the reference to the date of death, and realizes this detail foreshadows the child's death later in the movie.


    Foreshadowing2

    Foreshadowing

    • Often this foreshadowing takes the form of a noteworthy coincidence or appears in a verbal echo of dialogue.

    • Other examples of foreshadowing include the conversation and action of the three witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth.


    Stream of consciousness

    Stream of Consciousness

    • Thoughts and feelings recorded as they occur

    • Writing in which a character's perceptions, thoughts, and memories are presented in an apparently random form, without regard for logical sequence, chronology, or syntax.

    • Often such writing makes no distinction between various levels of reality--such as dreams, memories, imaginative thoughts or real sensory perception.


    Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

    William James coined the phrase "stream of consciousness" in his Principles of Psychology (1890). The technique has been used by several authors and poets: Katherine Anne Porter, Dorothy Richardson, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, and William Faulkner.


    Theme

    Theme

    • Central idea

    • The central meaning or dominant idea in a literary work. A theme provides a unifying point around which the plot, characters, setting, point of view, symbols, and other elements of a work are organized.

    Central Idea


    Theme1

    Theme

    • It is important not to mistake the theme for the actual subject of the work; the theme refers to the abstract concept that is made concrete through the images, characterization, and action of the text.

    • A theme is the author's way of communicating and sharing ideas, perceptions, and feelings with readers, and it may be directly stated in the book, or it may only be implied.


    Motif

    Motif

    • Often-repeated idea or theme

    • A conspicuous recurring element, such as a type of incident, a device, a reference, or verbal formula, which appears frequently in works of literature.


    Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

    Plot

    • Exposition, rising action, climax, falling action

    • The structure and relationship of actions and events in a work of fiction. In order for a plot to begin, some sort of catalyst is necessary. While the temporal order of events in the work constitutes the "story," we are speaking of plot rather than story as soon as we look at how these events relate to one another and how they are rendered and organized so as to achieve their particular effects.


    Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

    Plot diagram

    Climax

    Ask:

    What information does the writer give the reader at the beginning of the story?

    Introduction of characters, setting, background information; opening scene

    Rising Action

    Falling Action

    Cinderella lives with her evil stepmother and stepsisters and is treated poorly.

    Resolution

    Exposition

    Narrative Hook


    Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

    Plot diagram

    Ask:

    What event drew you most as a reader?

    Climax

    The Narrative Hook is the point of conflict. It is the struggle between opposing forces that drives the story.

    Rising Action

    The prince will be choosing a bride at the upcoming ball. However, Cinderella has nothing to wear to the ball and she is not allowed to attend the ball.

    Falling Action

    Resolution

    Exposition

    Narrative Hook


    Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

    Plot diagram

    Ask:

    What types of conflict are present in the story? External? Internal?

    Climax

    The main character faces a series of conflicts. Characters are developed and complications increase.

    Rising Action

    Falling Action

    As the step-family prepares for the ball, Cinderella wishes she could go. Her fairy godmother comes to her aid and makes it possible for her to attend, but she must leave at midnight. She dances with the prince and it’s a magic moment.

    Resolution

    Exposition

    Narrative Hook


    Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

    Plot diagram

    Climax

    The conflict or problem is at its worst and the characters begin to solve the problem

    The climax is most often considered the most exciting or suspenseful part of the story.

    Rising Action

    Falling Action

    At midnight Cinderella must leave the ball so she flees from the palace and loses her glass slipper on the steps. The prince is distraught at losing his love and is determined to find her.

    Resolution

    Exposition

    Narrative Hook


    Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

    Plot diagram

    Climax

    The falling action deals with events which occur right after the climax when the character begins to solve the problem. These events are usually the after-effects of the climax.

    Falling Action

    Rising Action

    The prince uses the slipper to find Cinderella. He goes from house to house trying the slipper on every female in the land, searching for the slipper’s perfect fit. The slipper does not fit the stepmother or the stepsisters.

    The conflict decreases.

    Often the time of greatest overall tension.

    Exposition

    Resolution

    Narrative Hook


    Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

    Plot diagram

    The conflict comes to an end, or the problem and/or mystery is solved.

    In this stage all patterns of events accomplish artistic or emotional effect.

    Climax

    There is usually a release of dramatic tension and anxiety (also known as catharsis).

    Falling Action

    Rising Action

    Cinderella tries the slipper and it fits. Cinderella and the Prince are reunited, marry, and live happily ever after.

    Exposition

    Resolution

    Narrative Hook


    Literary terms 6 plot terms narrative terms

    Note that, while it is most common for events to unfold chronologically or abovo (in which the first event happens first, the second event happens second, and so on), many stories structure the plot in such a way that the reader encounters happenings out of order.

    A common technique along this line is to "begin" the story in the middle of the action, a technique called beginning in medias res (Latin for "in the middle[s] of things").

    Some narratives involve several short episodic plots occurring one after the other (like chivalric romances), or they may involve multiple subplots taking place simultaneously with the main plot (as in many of Shakespeare's plays).


    Denouement

    Denouement

    • Resolution, outcome replicating thought

    • A French word meaning "unknotting" or "unwinding," denouement refers to the outcome or result of a complex situation or sequence of events, an aftermath or resolution that usually occurs near the final stages of the plot. It is the unraveling of the main dramatic complications in a play, novel or other work of literature.


    Denouement1

    Denouement

    • This resolution usually takes place in the final chapter or scene, after the climax is over. Usually the denouement ends as quickly as the writer can arrange it--for it occurs only after all the conflicts have been resolved.


    Sources

    Sources

    • http://www.ohio.edu/people/hartleyg/ref/fiction/fiction_terms.html

      George Hartley’s Glossary of Fiction Terms

    • http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_A.html

      Literary Terms and Definitions, Dr. L. Kip Wheeler


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