Elements of a Story

Elements of a Story
There are two types of stories:
fiction: describes imaginary people and
nonfiction: factual writing based on true
Separate each into two categories, either
fiction or nonfiction.
short story
class notes
lab report
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autobiography atlas
The time and location in which a story takes place
place: geographical location
time: historical period, time of day, year
weather conditions: rainy, sunny, stormy
social conditions: the daily life of the characters
mood or atmosphere: feeling created, bright and
cheerful, dark and frightening, casual and comical
Let’s go to
to practice plot.
Conflict is essential to plot. Without conflict
there is no plot.
external: a struggle with a force outside
one's self.
internal: a struggle within one's self
Types of Conflict
Man vs. Man (physical) - against other men,
forces of nature, or animals.
Man vs. Circumstances (classical) - against
fate, or the circumstances of life facing him/her.
Man vs. Society (social) - against ideas,
practices, or customs of other people.
Man vs. Himself/Herself (psychological) - with
Which type of conflict is described below?
A woman argues with her boss.
A man is angry with himself for never attending college.
A teenager is too embarrassed to go to school.
A man is sick in bed.
A terrorist is angry with America for our arrogance, prosperity, and lack
of morals.
A child is bitten by a snake.
A woman never owns a home because of her poverty caused by racism
and lack of resources.
Fate forced a man to lose his card game in Las Vegas.
A man visits a foreign country and doesn’t know how to use the
Because the woman never took her car to a mechanic, her breaks fail
her while driving down a hill.
There are two meanings for the word
1) The person in a work of fiction.
2) The characteristics of a person.
There are two types of characters.
protagonist: most important or main
antagonist: character opposing the main
The Characteristics of a Person
Characterization is the information the author gives
the reader about the characters themselves.
1. physical appearance
2. what he/she says, thinks, feels and dreams
3. what he/she does or does not do
4. what others say about and react to him/her
Types of Characters
individual: round and complex personalities.
developing: dynamic, many sided personalities
that change by the end of the story.
static: Stereotype, have one or two characteristics
that never change (brilliant detective, drunk,
scrooge, cruel stepmother)
Which type of characters are the following people
from the short stories we read?
The Necklace: Me. Loisel, M. Loisel, Me. Forestier
The Most Dangerous Game: Whitney, Rainsford, Ivan,
General Zaroff
Marigolds: Lizabeth, Miss Lottie, Joey, John Burke, mother,
The Gift of the Magi: Della, James
The Possibility of Evil: Miss Strangeworth, Mrs. Crane, the
Harris boy
You are to give this man
life. Looking very
carefully at the picture,
describe this man’s
external characteristics
and then determine what
makes him “tick” by
describing his internal
External Characteristics
1. What is the age of this man?
2. What is his build and height?
3. What is his hair and eye color?
4. What clothing does he wear?
1. What is his name?
2. What kind of job does he hold?
3. What does his clothing suggest about him?
4. What is his education?
5. Is he married or single?
6. Does he have a family?
7. What does he do for entertainment?
8. Does he live in a house or an apartment?
Internal Characteristics
1. What does this man value above all else?
2. How would he react in a crisis?
3. What kind of mood is he in most of the time?
4. What is the one major personality flaw this man
5. What are this man’s personality strengths?
6. What will make this man really angry, and how
is he most likely to react?
7. What kinds of situations does this man find
himself in most often?
8. What are the basic beliefs of this man?
9. What inspires this man?
Point of View
Point of view, or p.o.v., is defined as the
angle from which the story is told.
It is told in either first person (using I, me,
my) or third person (he, she, it, they).
Types of First Person
innocent eye: through the eyes of a child
stream of consciousness: the reader feels
they are inside the head of one character
first person: told by the protagonist and
sees the story through this person's eyes
as he/she experiences it and only knows
what he/she knows or feels.
Types of Third Person
Omniscient: moves from character to character
with free access to the thoughts, feelings and
a) Omniscient Limited - We can see the
thoughts and feelings of characters if the author
chooses to reveal them to us.
b) Omniscient Objective –It appears as
though a camera is following the characters,
going anywhere, and recording only what is
seen and heard, but there is no comment on the
characters or their thoughts.
Examples of P.O.V.
1. I was minding my own business when Mom burst in.
“What’s with you?” I grumbled.
2. He gripped the dollar bill tightly. “You can’t have it,” he
told her.
3. She ordered her favorite soup, remembering that
weekend John had convinced her to try it.
4. She ordered asparagus soup. John smiled. “Do you
remember?” he asked.
5. She thought to herself, “Why didn’t John tell me about
this soup earlier! It is so tasty!”
John sat across from her deep in his own thoughts. “I
can’t believe she’s finally trying my favorite soup!
You’d think after all these years she would have tried it
at least once.”
The theme is the author's underlying
meaning or main idea that he/she is trying to
Some common themes are:
- Things are not always as they appear to be
- Love is blind
- Believe in yourself
- People are afraid of change
- Don't judge a book by its cover
What are the themes to the following
short stories?
The Necklace
The Most Dangerous Game
The Gift of the Magi
The Possibility of Evil
Common Literary Devices
For each of these devices, think of an example
from one of the stories we read in class.
foreshadowing: the use of hints or clues to
suggest what will happen later in the story.
flashback: when a writer presents past events
during current events, in order to provide
background for the current narration.
imagery: descriptive language that appeals
to the senses.
foil: A character who provides a contrast to
the protagonist.
irony: the opposite of what you expect
verbal irony: the contrast between what is said
and what is actually meant, like sarcasm.
situational irony: an event that happens that is
the opposite of what is expected
dramatic irony: this occurs when the audience or
reader knows more than the characters know.
symbolism: A person, place, color or
object in a story which suggests other
meanings. It is repeated throughout the
For example, bright sunshine symbolizes
goodness and water is a symbolic