The Elements of Literature

By Matt Baker email   Updated 24 Apr 2012

All stories, whether they are short stories, novels, plays, or films, contain the same five elements of literature:

Element

Explanation

1. Narrator

The person telling the story (not always the same person as the author or writer)

2. Setting

The place and time period in which the story takes place

3. Characters

Protagonist - the main character; the "good guy"

Antagonist - the one opposing the main character; the "bad guy"

4. Plot

Plot Development: Plot diagram

Exposition - The situation at the beginning of the story

Rising Action - Complications that occur after some sort of conflict is introduced

Climax - The turning point in the story

Resolution - The situation after the conflict is resolved

Types of Conflict: Character vs Self (internal dilemmas, psychological issues, etc.)

Character vs Character (personal enemies, villains, criminals, etc.)

Character vs Society (governments, cultural traditions, etc.)

Character vs Nature (weather, natural disasters, animals, etc.)

Character vs Supernature (gods, ghosts, zombies, etc.)

Character vs Machine (technology, artificial intelligence, etc.)

Character vs Destiny (one's fate, whether real or imagined)

5. Theme

The main idea or lesson in the story

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