23 terms

Short Story Literary Elements

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indirect characterization (example)
Cathy was chewing a piece of meat, chewing with her front teeth. Samuel had never seen anyone chew that way before. And when she had swallowed, her little tongue flicked around her lips. Samuel's mind repeated, "Something—something—can't find what it is. Something wrong," and the silence hung on the table.
(East of Eden by John Steinbeck)
direct characterization
explicit characterization, consists of the author telling the audience what a character is like. A narrator may give this information, or a character in the story may do it.
indirect characterization
consists of the author showing the audience what kind of person a character is through the character's thoughts, words, and deeds. This requires the audience to make inferences about why a character would say or do those things.
direct characterization (example)
Perhaps it had something to do with living in a dark cupboard, but Harry had always been small and skinny for his age. He looked even smaller and skinnier than he really was because all he had to wear were old clothes of Dudley's, and Dudley was about four times bigger than he was. Harry had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair, and bright green eyes. He wore round glasses held together with a lot of Scotch tape because of all the times Dudley had punched him on the nose. The only thing Harry liked about his own appearance was a very thin scar on his forehead that was shaped like a bolt of lightning.
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling)
plot
consists of the events that occur during the course of that story and the way in which they are presented to the reader; the storyline
situational irony
occurs when something happens that is very different than what was expected. Every type of irony involves some contrast between what seems to be the case on a surface level and what is really happening
situational irony (example)
Banning a book about banned books (this happened with Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451)
tone
an author's word choice and sentence structure that expresses the author's attitude toward the work's main subject (characters, events, topic). This attitude influences how readers see and understand the work.
setting
the time and place in which the story takes place
informal tone
the use of slang, idioms, and sentence fragments would create this
formal tone
the strict adherence to grammatical rules, an elevated vocabulary, and avoidance of colloquial terms would create this
foreshadowing
a literary device in which the author gives clues about events that will happen later in the story. Often these clues are fairly subtle so that they can only be noticed or fully understood upon a second reading
pacing
the way in which the writer moves the action along in a story; authors use this can help create mood by slowing down or speeding up action
flashback
an occurrence in which a character remembers an earlier event that happened before the current point of the story that can help the reader understand characterization, fill in plot holes, create suspense, or add structure to a story.
conflict
competing desires or the presence of obstacles that need to be overcome; this is necessary to propel a narrative forward - without it there is no story
colloquialism
words or expressions used in everyday speech in a particular region
theme
the central topic or idea explored in a text
first-person narrative
a story whose narrator is a character in the events of the story
third-person narrative
a story whose narrator is not a character in the story
third-person objective narrator
This type of narrator gives an unbiased point of view in order to achieve neutrality. It's typical of journalistic texts.
third-person subjective narrator
This type of narrator may be confused with the omniscient narrator, but the difference between them is the third-person subjective narrator adopts the point of view of one of the characters of the story
third-person omniscient narrator
This is the all-knowing, all-seeing narrator type
plot twist
any unexpected turn of the story that gives a new view on its entire topic