Englsh 102 Elements of Fiction Notes

Topics: Fiction, Character, Narrative Pages: 4 (571 words) Published: August 2, 2012
The Elements of Fiction
A.Revelation of character


a)When the traits are mentioned by the author

b)When the traits are mentioned by another character

2.Indirect—when only the behavior, such as speech or actions, from which we infer traits is given

B.Understanding character

1.Understanding the function he performs in the story

2.Function of major characters is usually plain; the following apply more to minor characters:

a)Does he help or hinder the central character in his pursuits?

b)Does he serve as a confidant, i.e., is he sympathetic with a main character, thus helping to reveal his thoughts?

c)Does he serve as a foil, i.e., one whose character contrasts that of the main character, thus emphasizing those of the main character?

II.Plot – a pattern of action involving conflict
A.Kinds of conflict

1.Physical (external) conflict: man against nature or the world (his own social and economic environment)

2.Psychological (internal) conflict: man against himself

3.Social conflict: man against another man, or against a group (e.g., his family or town)

4.Spiritual conflict: man against God

B.The course of the conflict

1.The exposition: the opening of a story which acquaints us with characters and shows developing conditions in certain settings

2.Complication: develops the conflict (this is the longest portion of a short story)

3.Climax: the point at which the way the conflict will be resolved becomes clear

4.Denouement (resolution): shows how the conflict is settled

C.Probability of action is that which makes the narrative convincing, believable, credible, likely, plausible, or probable

1.Handling of time

a)By shift in point of view

b)By inserting episodes involving characters other than the central ones

c)By method of telling a story, i.e., straight narrative, scene, analysis, and prescription

2.Motivation: the reasons a...
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