What are the elements of fiction?

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linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

The elements of fiction include the following:

  • Setting--when and where the story takes place.
  • Characters--the people, animals, or whatever that tell the story or of whom the story is about.
  • Plot--the story itself.
  • Point of view--who is telling the story.
  • Theme--what the story means.
  • Symbol--something that stands for something else or has a higher meaning.
  • Conflict--the action, either internal or external, that drives the story.

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In general, the elements of fiction are

  • point of view - the vantage point from which the story is told (i.e. 1st person narrator, 3rd person/ objective narrator, or omniscient narrator
  • plot - the sequence of events in the exposition (beginning), rising conflicts, climax, falling action, and denouement (resolution of conflicts)
  • character - the personages (these can be static/flat characters who do not change or dynamic/round characters who change in some way
  • theme - the moral or lesson which the author wishes to give the reader
  • setting - the time and place of the narrative

Now, concerning "A Rose for Emily," you can apply these elements to this story:  the setting is important because Emily is an anachronism, out of time and place with the modern world as she clings to the mores of the Antebellum (before) Civil War.  Raised by a plantation owner of wealth and prestige, she has enjoyed the favors of the public officials and has not paid taxes for years; however, in the modern setting of this story, she is confronted by the aldermen.  And, she is confronted with the "invasion" of loud, boisterous Northerners such as Homer Barron, a changing neighborhood, etc.  The story derives much of its Gothic quality as Emily adamantly clings to the ways of the Old South against this personal invasion. (the conflict)

A native of Oxford, Mississippi, William Faulkner once said that he both hated and loved the South.  One can understand some of what he meant by the statement after reading "A Rose for Emily." 





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