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Elements of Literature

Setting

Setting is an Element of Literature. The setting of a story is its Time and Place -- the When and Where.

  • Think of ten different stories you know. They can be stories from movies, books or video games. List the Time and the Place for each of these stories.

EXAMPLE

1) Star Wars
Time: A long time ago
Place: In a galaxy far far away

2) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Time: Modern times
Place: England / Hogwarts

It is very important for stories to let their readers know where and when the story is taking place. But not all writers do this with the same level of skill.

Poor writers will simply tell the reader what is going on. This method is like beating someone over the head with the information

EXAMPLE

It was Sunday morning at 10:00 in the morning. Jenny was at home in her bed. She wanted to go to the park.

Ouch. The author beats our head with the information. What day is it? SMACK SUNDAY!
Here is a more sublet way of writing in the time and place.

EXAMPLE

Jenny stretched. The sun was just starting to poke itself through her window to touch her bed. She was still sleepy, but could hear the church bells off in the distance. Today was a big day for her. She wanted to go to the park.

Did you catch all of the clues? What day of the week is it? What time was it? Now you try

  • Type the beginning of a story about a man in a ice-cream shop. It is late and the store is about to close, but the man cannot make up his mind about what flavor to get. Give the reader clues as to the Time and the Place but be very sneaky about it! Print out your paper when finished.

Character

Character -- Imaginary people created by the writer. Perhaps the most important element of literature.

Protagonist--Major character at the center of the story.
Antagonist--A character or force that opposes the protagonist.
Foil--A character that is the opposite of the protagonist to create contrast
  • Think of five different stories you know. They can be stories from movies, books or video games. List the Protagonists, Antagonist and Foils for each of these stories.

EXAMPLE

1) Star Wars
Protagonist: Luke Skywalker
Antagonist: Darth Vader
Foil: Han Solo

2) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Protagonist: Harry Potter
Antagonist: He-who-shall-not-be-named
Foil: Ron Weasley

  • Interview a fictional, non-human character. First start by establishing the Setting of the interview, then begin the interview like you'd see in a magazine. Have your character answer twenty-questions. Each questions should show us a little more about what your character is like.
EXAMPLE

Good evening everyone. I am here in the underground lair of Slur, the giant slug beast.

Me: How are you doing Slur?

Slur: I am terrible! Since this new highway went in over my home the noise has been giving me a head-ache

Me: Is this why you are plotting the destruction of the whole city?

Slur: Yes. And I am hungry