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The importance of literary elements

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Have we ever thought why most of us are interested in the story we read? I can surely say that writing a story is a complicated process. The writer has to think of how the story must be told, what effect must it have on a reader, and what is the best way to present his ideas. To bring the reader’s attention, literary elements, the techniques or kinds of writing, are used by authors. The proper use of those elements enables the author to keep us interested while reading a story. Literary elements, such as setting, point of view, and the included dialogue, are all relevant to short stories, establishing their plot, mood, and theme.

Point of view has a major impact on the story’s comprehension and is one of the things the narrator has to consider. As we probably notice, story “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Ellan Poe is told from a first point of view by Monstresor. He is not a fully reliable narrator, we assume, although from his revealed thoughts, feelings, and intentions (his plans to kill his avenger Fortunato), we better understand his “nature” (of how crazy he was). Thus, we suppose that we should not take his words for “thousand injuries” as a justice for his revenge. Just as many other major and minor things, author intends us to see such by using first person narrative. Likewise, horror that the author creates partially contributes to choice of the narrator. Similarly, the vivid pictures of the catacombs add even more terror to the story. And being so closely related, there’s another relevant element in literature.

In some narratives, setting may be a key element to creating the plot, its complications, and reasons. We can also envision story’s progress through setting. For example, that’s how “The Scarlet Ibis” story reflects its resolution. Doodle who applies incredible effort to start walking and dies in the end after making so much progress is symbolic of a scarlet ibis that flies miles and miles finding its end on Doodle’s family’s backyard. The time and place of the story also have impact on its plot. For instance, Doodle may have been treated properly or in other cases would be more taken care of if the events occurred in other city or in another decade, as in our present world. The rural conditions caused some of the factors by which the story’s affected. Similarly, if Jack London in the story “War” wrote his narrative at other time or place, the meaning would change as well. The characters’ actions would not appear appropriate. Since setting associated with many different elements of the story, it affected the cause of the narrative. It created a place where the image becomes real through narrator’s words; it set the mood and, therefore, the evolving of the plot. Accordingly, misuse of such an element in literature would bring down all our expectations and built excitement for the story’s conclusion.

But setting isn’t the only important element in the story; as much essential, dialogue might contribute to the story through indirect characterization of the protagonist or other characters. In “Rules of the Game” by Amy Tan, for instance, through dialogue we find about Waverly’s mother, a little about her family, and their culture. It revealed their unique personalities and also their values in life. Hence, dialogue made a story more readable and enjoyable for us. Instead of just listing characters’ actions and descriptions in it, it might prevent the story from being too plain and typical. Purely descriptive stories couldn’t make the story moving, whereas dialogue added interest, serving as a variation of techniques being used. It made a story more realistic, as well. The narrator might use slang or a well-educated use of language to demonstrate the way people spoke at the time when the story’s events occurred.

By painting a mental picture with words, author enables us to see his images clearly. By choosing point of view, narrator makes us understand character’s feeling and actions, as well as the dialogue, which serves for similar purpose. And so the importance of those literary elements lies within the interest of a reader. In fact, narrators who use literary elements effectively write stories we value most.

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