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BASIC ELEMENTS OF FICTION

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SETTING: Where the story is set. The elements that together portray a setting are:

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‣ Place names.
‣ Where is the story set? Is it in movement?
‣ General / specific details.
‣ Realistic setting (existing places).
‣ Allusions to the passing of time.
‣ Historical details.
‣ Dates?
‣ Words, objects that indicate time period.
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PLOT: How a story is organized. DO NOT confuse plot with story (full course of events) and
narrative (the account of a succession of events). When we analyze the plot, we have to bear in
mind:
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‣ How are the events related and structured? And how do they affect the characters caught up in
the conflict?
‣ Are they chronological? Are there any plot twists, turning points, flash forwards, or
backwards?

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CHARACTER: When analyzing a character, we have to distinguish three aspects of it:

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‣ Physical appearance.
‣ Psychological description.
‣ Behavior.
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STRUCTURE: In the structure, we distinguish different phases:
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‣ Exposition.
‣ Complication.
‣ Climax.
‣ Resolution.
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STYLE: We have to pay attention to:
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‣ Vocabulary.
‣ Dialogues.
‣ Author’s exposition of a character (dialect).
‣ Descriptive passages.
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ATMOSPHERE: It is the mood or feeling that permeates the enviroment and the portruding
elements in it (wastelands, fog, wind…).
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THEME: The theme is the underlying idea of the action.
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CLOSE READING: Here, the students are expected to appreciate and respond pre-critically to
these elements. They have to use the technical knowledge they have in order to make a literary
and critical analysis.