Elements of a Story

A character is a person, an animal, or an imaginary creature that takes part in the action of a story.  An author can develop a character by showing you the character's appearance and personality, speech and behavior, thoughts and feelings, and interactions with other characters.  (393)

The vantage point from which a story is told.  In the first-person point of view, the story is told by one of the characters.  In the third-person point of view, the story is told by a narrator who stands outside the story and observes the events as they unfold.  (401)

Setting is the time and place in which the action of a literary work occurs.  Look for clues about setting in the opening paragraphs of the story or novel.  (402)

Plot is the action or sequence of events in a story.  It is based on a key conflict.  There are five basic parts of a plot:  exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.  (399)

Conflict is the struggle between opposing forces.  There are five main types of conflict:  (508)
  1. Person vs. Person-problem with another character.
  2. Person vs. Society-problem with the laws or beliefs of a group.
  3. Person vs. Nature-problem with force of nature, such as a blizzard or high winds.
  4. Person vs. Self-problem with deciding what to do or think
  5. Person vs. Fate-problem that seems to be uncontrollable.

Theme is the statement about life that the author wants to convey to the reader.  Sometimes the writer will make a clear statement about themes. Other times, readers will have to make inferences or reasonable guesses about it.  (405)

Robb, Laura, Ron Klemp, and Wendell Schwartz.  Reader's Handbook:  A Student Guide for Reading and Learning.  Wilmington: Great Source Education Group, Inc., 2002.  Print.