Home Random Page



Historical, social, cultural context.

Unit 1 Plot

Plot is a sequence of fictional events arranged in a meaningful pattern.


The general structure of plot is as follows:

Exposition: gives information about settings and characters;

Conflict: struggle between characters or forces (ideas, actions, desires, wills, goals, etc.) that brings about action.

  • Internal conflict: occurs within an individual.
  • External conflict: when an individual struggles against an outside force (an animal, a force of nature, another character, etc.).

Complications(development): new conflicts or setbacks for the main character;

Climax: decisive turning point in a narrative; the “high point,” or moment of greatest intensity.

  • Rising action leads up to the climax.
  • Falling action occurs after the climax (between the climax and resolution).

Denouement (conclusion): the resolution; the aftermath or outcome of the plot; how things are settled in the end.


Plot may be simple (when the story is narrated in a linear, chronological fashion) or complex.

Authors complicate the structure of their plots with:

· the use of flashbacks(scenes that interrupt the action to show events that happened earlier);

· a frame that encloses the story (a story within the story);

· foreshadowing(technique in which an author plants clues about what will happen next);

· gaps(missing parts);

· digressions(passages in which an author turns or wanders from the main topic).


In a story the ending may take the form of:

· resolution;

· revelation;

· decision;

· explanation.



In the stories included in this unit,

  1. notice the structuring of plot:

· the handling of beginning, middle, and ending;

· its use of action, development, climax, and conclusion;

· its use of gaps, flashbacks, foreshadowing.

  1. Look for conflicts – physical, social, internal – and use them as a way to get into the story and explore its complexity.

Unit 2 Setting

Setting is the location (where) and time (when) of a story. It serves different functions and can be a significant element of the story because it can prompt characters to interact and allow plots to develop.


Setting includes:

Location: a house, a street, a city, a landscape, a region, etc.

Time: hour, year, century, etc.

Ex: The setting of Macbeth is medieval Scotland.

Historical, social, cultural context.

Primary functions of the setting:

  • establish time and place;
  • make certain events seem probable;
  • reveal character;
  • serve as a symbol;
  • create atmosphere;
  • reinforce meaning.


Note: Many works have multiple settings. These different settings may have different functions within a single work.


How to identify setting:

When reading a work, you must determine if the setting is significant. To do so, take notice when:

  1. A “minor” or “insignificantaspect of setting is given undue attention by the author.
  2. Certain settings are emphasized repeatedly by the author.
  3. An author has described the setting with exquisite detail or metaphorical connotations:

· Exquisite detailindicates that setting is more than a mere “backdrop” for action.

· Metaphorical connotationsoften create analogies (comparisons) between qualities in the setting and qualities found in the characters.




  1. Be attentive to the setting in the literary works you are going to read:
    • setting in terms of place, in its broad sense and in its sense of narrower, individual places;
    • setting in time;
    • setting as historical, social, and cultural context.
  2. Be aware of different effects setting can have in a work – revealing character, conveying atmosphere, reinforcing meaning, serving as a symbol or occasionally almost as a character.

Date: 2015-12-18; view: 1107

<== previous page | next page ==>
Complex tones in English | Unit 3 Suspense, surprise, climax
doclecture.net - lectures - 2014-2024 year. Copyright infringement or personal data (0.013 sec.)