Intro lit

Topics: Fiction, Literature, Literary technique Pages: 6 (970 words) Published: September 27, 2013

An Introduction

What Is Literature and Why Do We Study It?

• Literature [Roberts and Jacobs]

– a composition that tells a story, dramatizes a situation, expresses emotions, analyzes and advocates ideas

– helps us grow personally and intellectually

– language in use; hence inseparable from it

– product of a particular culture; even more culture-bound than language

– makes us human

Literary Genres
Four genres of literature:

Prose fiction
• Epic myths, legends, fables, novels, short stories

• Open form and closed form
• Relies on imagery, figurative language, sound

• Made up of dialogue and set direction
• Designed to be performed

Nonfiction prose
• News reports, feature articles, essays, editorials, textbooks, historical and biographical works


-any imaginative recreation and reconstruction of life which includes short stories and novels

-myth and legend -- origins and extraordinary events like wars, conquests, births, death, as well as the phenomena of nature

Elements of Fiction

1. Setting
• a work’s natural, manufactured, political, cultural and temporal environment, including everything that characters know and own (place, time, objects) • Its purpose is to establish realism or verisimilitude, to organize a story, and to create atmosphere or mood. • It may reinforce development of characters and theme.

2. Characters
the representations of a human being

Classification of fictional characters:
– Round (dynamic) = lifelike, fully-developed and recognizes changes in and adjusts to the circumstances – Flat = no growth, static
– Stock = representative of a group or class (stereotypical) – Protagonist = the hero or heroine, main person in the story, person on the quest, etc. – Antagonist = the person causing the conflict, in opposition to the protagonist, the obstacle, etc.

Five ways of revealing literary characters:

1. Actions
2. Descriptions
3. Dramatic statements and thoughts
4. Statements by other characters
5. Statements by the author speaking as storyteller, or observer

3. Plot and Structure
the way the actions are arranged in the story
reflection of motivation and causation
*In the story, the queen died and then the king died shortly after. Conflict - controlling impulse in a connected pattern of causes and effects – Opposition of two or more forces (e.g., hatred, envy, anger, argument, avoidance, gossip, lies, fighting, etc.) -can be internal (man vs. himself) or external (man vs. fate/condition/other characters) Dilemma - conflict within or for one person

– Conflict is a major element of plot because it arouses curiosity, causes doubt, and creates tension therefore producing interest among readers/audience.


local color – the superficial elements of setting, dialect, and customs

Closed Plots
1) Linear – arranged chronologically
2) Circular – combination of linear and flashback
3) In Medias Res – begins in the middle part of the action

Structure of Closed Plots


Resolution (Denouement)

4. Point of View
• Refers to speaker, narrator, persona or voice created by the author to tell the story • Point of view depends on two factors:
– Physical situation of the narrator as an observer
– Speaker’s intellectual and emotional position
• First person - I, we
• Third person - He, she, they (most common)
Omniscient – all-knowing; delves into the minds of the characters at any point in the story Limited omniscient – some insight

5. Theme (Donnée)
Theme embodies meaning, interpretation, explanation and significance of every detail in a literary piece along with values in order to appreciate it. It is not as obvious as character or setting. It is important to consider the meaning of what has been read and then develop an...
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