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Elements of Prose

a.k.a.- The parts of a story

There are 2 types of writing:
prose- anything that is NOT poetry or plays

Prose is divided into 2 categories:
short story
Short Story
Definition: Fictional story that can be read in
one sitting.
Example: A Rose for Emily, The Cask
of Amontillado, or The Most Dangerous
Definition: A long prose narrative that must
be read in many sittings.
Example: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Scarlet
Letter, or The Great Gatsby
Elements of Prose
Point of View
The framework or skeleton of the story;
A series of related events that are linked
What Makes Up Plot?
1. Basic Situation
- Tells the audience
who the characters
are and introduces
the conflict

- Example: Every
Down in Who-ville
Liked Christmas
a lot...

What Makes Up Plot?
2. Rising Action
- Complications
that arise when
the characters
take steps to
resolve their

But the Grinch,
Who lived just North of
Did NOT!
The Grinch hated
Christmas! The whole
Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask
why. No one quite knows
the reason.

What Makes Up Plot?
3. Climax: Most
exciting or
suspenseful moment
when something
happens to determine
the outcome of the

Example: And the Grinch, with his
grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How
could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came
without tags!
"It came without packages, boxes or
And he puzzled three hours, `till his
puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something
he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought,
"doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a
little bit more!"
What Makes Up Plot?
4. Falling Action:
The conflict is in
the process of
being resolved or

And what happened then...? Who-ville they say
That the Grinch's small heart
Grew three sizes that day!

What Makes Up Plot?
Resolution: (Denouement) or Untying the
When the storys problem/conflict is resolved and
the story ends
Endings may be happy or tragic
Example: He whizzed with his load through the
bright morning light
And he brought back the toys! And the food for the
And he......HE HIMSELF...!
The Grinch carved the roast beast!

Freytags Pyramid
Gustav Freytag was a Nineteenth Century German novelist
who saw common patterns in the plots of stories and novels
and developed a diagram to analyze them. He diagrammed a
story's plot using a pyramid like the one shown here:

Character: Revealing Human
Character- A person or
being in a story that
performs the action of
the plot.

Characterization: The
process of revealing the
personality of a
character in a story.
Steps to the Characterization
A writer can reveal a character in the following ways:
1. Letting up hear the character speak
2. Describing how the character looks & dresses
3. Letting us listen to the characters inner thoughts and
4. Revealing what other characters in the story think or
say about the character
5. Showing us what the character does how he or she

*These call on the reader to take the information he or she is
given to interpret for himself/herself the kind of
character he or she is reading about. This is called
Steps to the Characterization
6. Telling us directly what the characters
personality is like: cruel, sneaky, brace, etc.
Ex. Youre a mean one, Mr. Grinch

This is called DIRECT
Types of Characters
Dynamic Character: The character changes
as a result of the action of the story.
Example- Ebenezer Scrooge, the Grinch

Static Character: The character does not
change much in the course of the story.
Example- Brutus (Julius Caesar);
Mama Younger (A Raisin in the Sun)

Types of Characters
Protagonist: The main character of the story.
Can be good or evil

Antagonist: The character or force that comes
into conflict with the protagonist
Can be another person, an animal, a force of
nature, society, the characters own conscience,

Defintion: The time and location in which
the story takes place
Purpose of Setting
1. Gives background information
2. Provides conflict
- Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Society
3. Can reveal a lot about someones character
4. Provides mood or atmosphere
- Mood- the feeling WE get when we read a
5. Can paint images for the reader
- Images words that call forth the 5 senses

Definition: The insight about human life that
is revealed in a literary work. The golden
thread woven throughout the story.

-The theme is what the author is saying through the
story (its a deeper truth about reality)
- The plot how he says it : it is the story he uses to
get this point across
Point of View
Definition: The direction from which the
writer has chosen to tell the story
There are 3 Points of View
1. First Person: One of the characters tells the
story; talks directly to the reader
- Uses the pronoun I, me, we, or us

2. Third Person Limited: The narrator will
focus on the thoughts & feelings of just one
- Reader experiences the events of the story through
the memory and senses of only one character
There are 3 Points of View
3. Third-Person Omniscient- All-knowing
- An all-knowing narrator who refers to all
the characters as he and she. Knows the
thoughts and feelings of ALL of the

*The narrator is not necessarily the storys
Definition- It exists when a character is struggling
with something or someone
- Could be a number of things:
- Another person, an animal,
- an inanimate object- a rock, the weather
- The characters own personality
External Conflict
External Conflict- Caused by something OUTSIDE
the character
- Example: an another character, a river,
weather, society
- Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, Man vs.

Internal Conflict
Internal Conflict- Character struggles with some
personal quality that is causing trouble
- Example: vanity, pride, selfishness, grief
- Man vs. Self

Definition: Clues about what is going to
happen as the story unfolds
Definition: Anxiety WE feel about what
is going to happen next in the story
Definition: The imitation of a work of
literature, art, or music for amusement or
Definition: A kind of writing that ridicules
human weakness, vice, or folly in order to
bring about social reform.
Example: Political cartoons, A Modest Proposal
Definition: An unexpected twist in a story
- 3 Types of Irony:
1. Verbal: Someone says one thing but
means another
- also known as sarcasm
-Example: If a woman walks into a job
interview and she is sloppily dressed
with only two teeth in her head and the
interview says, You have a beautiful
2. Situational: When a reader expects one
thing to happen and the opposite occurs

- Example- Everyone knows the sad irony in Richard
Cory. Why would someone so successful and rich
be so unhappy as to kill himself? In a wonderfully
ironic letter, George Bernard Shaw celebrates his
mothers death and cremation. Charles Dickens
character Mr. McChoakumchild is
anything but a teacher.
3. Dramatic: When the character in a
play thinks one thing is true, but the
audience knows better. The audience
has inside information that a character
does not.
- This information usually comes in the
form of an aside or a soliloquy.

- Example: In Romeo and Juliet,
Romeo says that his grave is like to be
his wedding bed. Little does he know
that his marriage will be the cause of
his untimely death. We as an audience
knows because we heard the prologue
at the beginning of the play.
More Elements of Prose
Tone: The attitude the writer takes toward the
subject of a work, the characters in it, or the

I am getting married
Tone Example
The Author To Her Book
Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble
Who after birth did'st by my side remain,
Till snatcht from thence by friends, less
wise than true,
Who thee abroad exposed to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th' press to
Where errors were not lessened (all may
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should
mother call.
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
The visage was so irksome in my sight,
Yet being mine own, at length affection
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could.

I washed thy face, but more defects I
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretcht thy joints to make thee even
Yet still thou run'st more hobbling than is
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i' th'
house I find.
In this array, 'mongst vulgars may'st thou
In critic's hands, beware thou dost not
And take thy way where yet thou art not
If for thy father askt, say, thou hadst
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caused her thus to send thee out
of door.

-Anne Bradstreet

Denotation: Dictionary
definition of a word

- Example: Mom-Female
individual who gives
birth and physical care to
her offspring.

Connotation: Feelings
people get from hearing or
reading a particular word

- Example: Mom-Hug,
loving, caring, dries tears,
role model
Denotation: Domesticated, 4-legged canine
Connotation: Smelly, fluffy, mans best friend
playful, loyal, protective
Denotation: Amusement park
which travels; also includes
agricultural exhibits
Connotation: fun, food,
crowded, smelly, carnies