Text of Narrative Narrative, Narrative Analysis, and Narrative Writing
Narrative, Narrative Analysis, and Narrative Writing
• Narrative: a collection of events that tells a story, which may be true or not, placed in a particular order and recounted through either telling or writing.
Plot and Subplot
• Plot: A plot in a story is quite simply the things that happen in it. The plot is the main story line: the sequence of events of which the story is composed. The plot is the main storyline, what happens to your characters.
• Subplot: Sub-plots are secondary storylines that are separate from the main plot but happen within the same story. They often interact with the main plot and can support the main story.
Basic Plot Diagram
Exposition• The beginning of any narrative story is called the Exposition. You
will usually learn three things in the exposition: 1. Characters (esp. main)2. Setting3. The conflict. – Information is often conveyed about events that have occurred prior to the
beginning of a novel. Etc.
• After the relative calm of the exposition, there is a gradual raising of the tension in the story using danger, hazard, conflict and other devices. The protagonist is usually deeply involved in this, struggling with other people and their own ability to handle the tension.
• Conflict is a clash of actions, ideas, desires or wills.– A. Human against human (wo/man vs. wo/man):
External Struggle– B. Human against environment (wo/man vs.
society or wo/man vs. nature): Moral Struggle or Struggle against Fate: External force, physical nature, society, or fate.
– C. Human against Herself/Himself (wo/man vs. self): Internal Struggle: Conflict with some element in her/his own nature; maybe physical, mental, emotional, or moral.
• There are two main kinds of conflict in stories: external and internal.– External Conflict: A struggle between a character and
an outside force is an external conflict. The outside force may be another character. It may be the character and the community. The outside force may also be forces of nature.
• Human against Human (Human against Society), etc.• Human against Nature
• Internal Conflict: A conflict that takes place in a character’s mind is called internal conflict. For example, a character may have to decide between right and wrong or between two solutions to a problem. Sometimes, a character must deal with his or her own mixed feelings or emotions.– Human against Self
• The Climax, also called turning point in short stories, is the most suspenseful part of the story where the main character (s) solves the problem or makes some major life changing decision or discovery. The actions of the main character or events that happen at the climax affect the resolution.
• Things that happen after the climax but before the real ending/resolution of the story are called falling action.
• Resolution is how the story finally ends as a result of what the character (s) did or discovered during the climax.
• Resolution or denouement - the outcome of the story--the information that ties up all (or many) of the story's loose ends.
• Analepsis: – ana: A Greek prefix meaning, “back.”– Analepsis: is commonly referred to in film as
“flashback.” Analepsis flashes back to an earlier point of the chronological sequence in a narrative/story.
• Prolepsis:– pro: a Greek prefix meaning advancing or
projecting forward.– Prolepsis: is commonly referred to in film as
a “flashforward.” Prolepsis flashes forward to a later point in the chronological sequence of events.
• FORESHADOWING:• An author’s use of hints or clues to suggest events
that will occur later in the story. Not all foreshadowing is obvious. Frequently, future events are merely hinted at through dialogue, description, or the attitudes and reactions of the characters.
Point of ViewPoint of View
• The narrator is the character or voice that tells a story.
• Point of view refers to the perspective from which a story is told, or the voice in which a story is told.
• Point of view also helps determine:– • a story’s tone– • how much a reader learns about characters– • a reader’s opinion of characters– • a reader’s involvement in the story
Point of ViewPoint of View
First Person Narrative Limitations (pros and cons)-
• A first person narrative can only tell the reader what the narrator knows. It limits the amount and type of information the writer can deliver.
• In first person we can only control what the narrator sees, hears, and smells.
• First person is all about character: not only does the reader know (intellectually) what the narrator knows, he or she also feels (emotionally) and senses all that the narrator experiences, thus making the first person narration more personal and intimate.
• First person point of view also forces the writer to make a choice between whose story they want to tell: major or minor, Frankenstein or the monster? The Boy or the Tree?
Third Person Point of View (Intro.)-
• Third Person Point of View (especially omniscient) gives the writer a lot more insight into: characters, thoughts, feelings, setting, motivations, backgrounds, etc. and etc.
• Third Person Point of View (especially omniscient) does not confine the writer to a single character and their experiences, feelings, sights, smells, sounds, thoughts, actions, motivations, etc. and etc.
• Third person allows the writer to distance themselves from their actual personal experience and the plot of the story, thus acting as a median point between actual experience and narration (think of this as taking a personal feeling or experience and writing it as an extended metaphor poem, rather than a literal poem or narrative).
Points of View-
• Limited third-person narration usually focuses on the thoughts of a single character in the story. Omniscient third-person narrative, on the other hand, has total access to the thoughts of all characters in the story.
Character/Characterization=Character/Characterization=• There are major characters and minor characters in most literary There are major characters and minor characters in most literary
worksworks– Major: figure prominently in the story, criticalMajor: figure prominently in the story, critical– Minor: not critical to the movement of the plot, not central to the storyMinor: not critical to the movement of the plot, not central to the story
• Protagonist:Protagonist:– A protagonist is considered to be the main character or lead figure in a A protagonist is considered to be the main character or lead figure in a
novel, play, story, or poem. novel, play, story, or poem. – The protagonist may also be referred to as the hero of a work. The protagonist may also be referred to as the hero of a work.
• Antagonist:Antagonist:– Character in a story or poem who deceives, frustrates, or works against the Character in a story or poem who deceives, frustrates, or works against the
main character, or protagonist in some way. main character, or protagonist in some way. – The antagonist doesn’t necessarily have to be a person. It could be death, The antagonist doesn’t necessarily have to be a person. It could be death,
the devil, an illness, or any challenge that prevents the main character from the devil, an illness, or any challenge that prevents the main character from living “happily ever after.”living “happily ever after.”
– In fact, the antagonist could be a character of virtue in a literary work In fact, the antagonist could be a character of virtue in a literary work where the protagonist represents evil.where the protagonist represents evil.
• Round Character: A round character is depicted with such psychological depth and detail that he or she seems like a "real" person. Dynamic Character: If the round character changes or evolves over the course of a narrative or appears to have the capacity for such change, the character is also dynamic. The round character contrasts with the flat character.
• Flat Character: A character who serves a specific or minor literary function in a text, and who may be a stock character or simplified stereotype. – Typically, a short story has one round character and several flat
ones. However, in longer novels and plays, there may be many round characters.
• Characters: Literary characters are those creations that permit the writer to populate a fictional universe with people and creatures of his or her own making. The imaginative power of the writer is measured by his or her ability to shape with words an artistic world that the readers will view with credibility.– If the world of a story is pure fantasy, the author must
describe it so that readers believe imaginatively what they have not seen.
– Unless characters say something, do something, interact, or have something happen to them, they are no more than mannequins on display.
• Literary characters must be considered in their own literary environments, and the reader must consider the nature of the story before he or she dismisses any character as “unreal,” “unbelievable,” or “unlikely.”
• (In almost any literary work, several characters receive the main focus. Accordingly, they are considered the leading characters or protagonists. But given a protagonist, the conflict of a story may depend upon the existence of an antagonist).
• A Narrator is a special kind of character because, in fiction, he or she shapes the entire story by his or her point of view.– The narrator may play a double role; that is,
he or she may actually be a character in a particular set of circumstances, and he or she may also be the one who at some future time chooses to tell the story in which he or she was involved.
Narrator vs. Author
• The narrator of a work of fiction or the speaker of a poem is a creation of the author, just as the characters in the work are. It is easy to confuse the author and the narrator because, in fact, some narrators do speak in a voice that may closely echo that of the writer. The narrator is a construction---not the same person as the author.
– Remember: The author is outside of the work; the narrator is part of it.
To Whom do I Refer?
• To decide whether you should refer to the author or to the narrator, ask yourself the following question.
• Are you quoting the words of the narrator (or the speaker, in the case of a poem)? If so, you need to attribute those words, and the feelings or ideas directly expressed in them, to the narrator. If you are discussing the artistic effect achieved by those words, or speculating on a meaning suggested by the word, then it is appropriate to refer to the author.
• Characterization: Characterization is the way in which authors convey information about their characters. – Characterization can be direct, as when an author tells readers
what a character is like (e.g. "George was cunning and greedy.")– Or indirect, as when an author shows what a character is like
by portraying his or her actions, speech, or thoughts (eg. "On the crowded subway, George slipped his hand into the man's coat pocket and withdrew the wallet, undetected.").
– Descriptions of a character's appearance, behavior, interests, way of speaking, and other mannerisms are all part of characterization. For stories written in the first-person point of view, the narrator's voice, or way of telling the story, is essential to his or her characterization.
• Create characterization by choosing details that make real or fictional characters seem life-like and individual. – To create characterization in fiction or non-fiction:
• 1. Tell the reader directly what a character's personality is like (Direct).
• 2. Describe a character's appearance and manner • 3. Portray a character's thoughts and motivations • 4. Use dialogue to allow a character's words to reveal
something important about his or her nature (This is the next section)
• 5. Use a character's actions to reveal his or her personality (Indirect).
Characterization (Cont.)-• 6. Show others' reactions to the character or person you are
portraying (Example: "No respect at all was shown him in the department. The porters, far from getting up from their seats when he came in, took no more notice of him than if a simple fly had flown across the reception room." --Nikolai Gogol, "The Overcoat“)
• 7. Give fictional characters meaningful names or use real people's nicknames that relate to their personalities: (Examples: Severus Snape—"Severus" means "strict" or "severe" in Latin. Severus Snape is a strict professor who treats Harry harshly.Sirius Black—"Sirius" is the brightest star in the Canis Major or "Great Dog" constellation. Sirius Black is a wizard who transforms into a black dog.Peeves—"To peeve" means "to annoy." Peeves is a ghost who pesters people at Hogwart's School.—J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter series)
Characterization (Continued Again)-
• Characterization Self Check:• Ask yourself these questions when trying to
• What does the character look like? • How does the character behave towards others?
How do others behave toward the character? • What does the character seem to care about? • What adjectives does the author use to describe
the character's personality? • What does the character think or say?
Move Narrative Voice Slides
• Add Narrative Voice Slides
Mood and Tone (Introduction)
• Mood: is the feeling a text arouses in the reader: happiness, peacefulness, sadness, and so on.
• Tone: is the overall feeling, or effect, created by a writer’s use of words. This feeling may be serious, humorous, or sarcastic.
• How to create and recognize narrative voice.– By using different forms of narrative voice,
you will be able to give your characters specific personalities and recognitions based on their speech, tone, mood, diction, dialect, gender, attitude, etc. and etc. (in other words, the possibilities for narrative voice are endless).
Narrative Voice• Dialogue The verbal exchanges between characters. Dialogue
makes the characters seem real to the reader or audience by revealing firsthand their thoughts, responses, and emotional states.
• Diction A writer’s choice of words, phrases, sentence structures, and figurative language, which combine to help create meaning (5 basic types). – Formal diction (High Diction) consists of a dignified,
impersonal, and elevated use of language; it follows the rules of syntax exactly and is often characterized by complex words and lofty tone.
– Informal diction (Colloquial Diction) represents the plain language of everyday use, and often includes idiomatic expressions, slang, contractions, and many simple, common words (See Dialect).
– Poetic diction refers to the way poets sometimes employ an elevated diction that deviates significantly from the common speech and writing of their time, choosing words for their supposedly inherent poetic qualities.
– Archaic diction: Words that are old-fashioned and no longer sound natural when used, (Exp. “I believe thee not” for “I don’t believe you.”)
Narrative Voice (Continued)=
• Dialect A type of informational diction. Dialects are spoken by definable groups of people from a particular geographic region, economic group, or social class. Writers use dialect to contrast and express differences in educational, class, social, and regional backgrounds of their characters (socioeconomics). – “Well, I be durn if I like to see my work washed
outen the ground.” William Faulkner.
Narrative Voice (Continued II)-
• Some ways to create narrative voice: You can make different characters recognizable by creating differences in:– 1. Diction (Dialect, vocabulary, etc.)– 2. Gender specific voice– 3. Attitude (sarcastic, moody, angry, happy,
etc)– 4. Sentence length and type– 5. Tone
SettingSetting• Setting: the time, place, physical details, and circumstances in Setting: the time, place, physical details, and circumstances in
which a situation occurs. which a situation occurs.
• Settings include the background, atmosphere or environment Settings include the background, atmosphere or environment in which characters live and move, and usually include in which characters live and move, and usually include physical characteristics of the surroundings. physical characteristics of the surroundings.
• A setting may be simple or elaborate, used to create A setting may be simple or elaborate, used to create atmosphere, lend credibility or realism, emphasize or atmosphere, lend credibility or realism, emphasize or accentuate, organize, or even distract the readeraccentuate, organize, or even distract the reader
Setting (for both narrative stories, and poetry)-
• Setting: is both the spatial (place/space), and the temporal (time). But, the physical properties creating a setting are not as important as the function of the scene in the mind of the writer and reader.– A setting can be scenery against which the characters
exist and move, or it can represent a symbolic force, acting upon the characters and reinforcing elements of the narrative. Think of this setting in “The Necklace:” “She suffered from the poorness of her house, from its mean walls, worn chairs, and ugly curtains” (De Maupassant 1).
• Questions to Consider:– 1. In a narrative, to what extent is the setting literally realistic or
symbolical? If symbolical, in what way does the setting function?– 2. In a narrative, in what way does the setting relate significantly
to the action or conflict?– 3. In what way does a character’s response to setting reveal
things about him or her?– 4. In what way is the setting a reinforcement of the theme of the
narrative?– 5. How is the description narrated? Who is telling what he or she
sees and what is happening? What difference does the point of view make in the nature of the description? Does the writer use comparisons? Allusions?
– 6. To what extent do elements of nature or the environment become active forces in the literary work, changing the action and determining the fate of characters?
• The setting is the environment in which a story or event takes place. Setting can include specific information about time and place (e.g. Boston, Massachusetts, in 1809) or can simply be descriptive (eg. a lonely farmhouse on a dark night). Often a novel or other long work has an overall setting (e.g. Tucson, at BASIS), within which episodes or scenes occur in different specific settings (eg. Mr. Jeffy’s Classroom). Geographical location, historical era, social conditions, weather, immediate surroundings, and time of day can all be aspects of setting.
• Setting provides a backdrop for the action. Think about setting not just as factual information but as an essential part of a story's mood and emotional impact. Careful portrayal of setting can convey meaning through interaction with characters and plot.
• Changes in setting can be symbolic and crucial to the narrative development, characters, and to the events in the tale.
Setting (Continued Again)-
• To create setting, provide information about time and place and use descriptive language to evoke vivid sights, sounds, smells, and other sensations. Pay close attention to the mood a setting conveys.– 1. Refer specifically to place and time: (BASIS 2010)– 2. Provide clues about the place and time by using details that
correspond to certain historical eras or events: (Use devices such as Allusion)
– 3. Describe the inside of a room where a scene takes place4.– 4. Describe the weather and the natural surroundings– 5. Weave details about setting into the descriptions of action
• Self Check: Ask yourself these questions to help you recognize and understand setting:
• Where is it? • When is it? • What is the weather like? • What are the social conditions? • What is the landscape or environment like? • What special details make the setting vivid?
• Theme is a story’s central idea.
• Theme differs from the subject of a story in that the theme is a message about life or human nature that a writer wants to convey.
Cause and Effect RelationshipCause and Effect Relationship
• In a cause-and-effect relationship, one event or action—the cause—makes something else happen.
• The event that happens is the effect. In some cases a number of causes contribute to a single effect, and in other cases a single cause has several effects.
Cause and Effect RelationshipCause and Effect Relationship
Imagery: Three (main) Types
• Imagery: The elements in a literary work used to evoke mental images, not only of the visual sense, but of sensation and emotion as well. – Visual Imagery: Language used to evoke visual
images.• Example: The hot July sun beat relentlessly down,
casting an orange glare over the farm buildings, the fields, the pond. Even the usually cool green willows bordering the pond hung wilted and dry. Our sun-baked backs ached for relief.
• Auditory (sound) Imagery: Language used to evoke and represent sound.– Onomatopoeia is a type of auditory imagery.
Onomatopoeia is a word that uses the imitation of a sound, thus hinting at its origin. Examples – meow (cat), beep (alarm), slam (door), croak (frog), etc.
“What a tale their terror tells
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour” (Poe, “The Bells”)
• Tactile (touch) Imagery: Language used to evoke or appeal to a sense of touch.– Example: The scratch of the sofa on the
backs of her legs reminded Netty of the synthetic scrub of that shag carpet all those many years ago.
• An unreliable narrator is a narrator that for some reason has a compromised point-of-view. In all stories, the narrator serves as a filter for the events. What the narrator does not know or observe cannot be explained to the reader (this is particularly so for first-person narrators). Usually, however, the reader trusts that the narrator is knowledgeable and truthful enough to give them an accurate representation of the story. In the case of an unreliable narrator, the reader has reason not to trust what the narrator is saying.
• An unreliable narrator typically displays characteristics or tendencies that indicate a lack of credibility or understanding of the story. Whether due to age, mental disability, personal involvement, etc. an unreliable narrator provides the reader with either incomplete or inaccurate information as a result of these conditions.
• With "authorial intrusion," however, the author is very cognizant of the reader sitting there with book in hand, and the author breaks into (and away from) the text to address this reader directly. – Exp. The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a
former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.