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PM Class Notes (AM Notes)
Characterization is one of the story elements.
|In the story, we have a 4-year-old boy named “Johnny”,
a mother, a 2 and a half-year-old baby girl, and an elderly man. These
are the characters.|
Characters are made by writers. How?
|Sometimes, the writer tells you directly by saying,
for example, Jackson tells us he was an “elderly man, with a
pleasant face under white hair”. (direct characterization)|
|Writers also use indirect ways to make characters.
The baby is crying, so we can know she’s unhappy, or needs
|The boy sees a witch outside the window, so we
can guess he has a good imagination. He talks a lot, so he’s
clearly a talkative boy.|
Ways to make character: through dialogue; through
|The boy goes over “to pet his sister's feet and beg
her not to cry”. We can see he is a kind and considerate brother,
but you could argue that he only wants her to be quiet and so might be
called selfish or egotistical/egocentric or self-centred.|
Shirley Jackson wrote a book about children called Life
among the Savages. A savage (-) is a person who is not civilized, not
able to live in a community. She calls children (jokingly)
When you write about a story, use the present tense. The
boy tries to help his sister. The man comes into the train coach.
Stories have a title. This is one element of a story.
What is the function of a title?
|It may indicate the content. It may indicate purpose.
It usually tries to make the reader curious about what follows.
Remember that a story is published first in a magazine or journal, so
reading it is optional.|
|For yourselves, remember that a title may make the
difference between someone reading your work or not.|
What is the form of a title?
|The form is as a word or a phrase, and not (generally
speaking) a sentence.|
Setting is an “element” of a story (a short story).
Some also call them literary elements. There are several others.
What is setting?
|Setting is the place, the time (time of day;
historical time; time duration), the general characteristics of the
people (their dress, their manners, the social rules of the place).|
|In The Witch, the time duration is 30 minutes (but
perhaps the train ride is a long one), the historical time is unknown,
and the time of day is the daytime. There is enough time for the
incident to take place|
|The place in The Witch is a train because, for one
reason, strangers talk more often on trains than other places. Often
this is because it is boring on a train, particularly for children. It
is also a confined space; in other words, you can’t easily escape
someone who is bothering you.|
|There is a physical need for the mother to sit
separately from her son, so the old man is able to easily speak to
|In all cases, a small detail, or better yet, a short
quotation will give you the evidence you need.|
The plot is what happens.
|As in life, events happen in a sequence. One, two,
three, and so on. This sequence (plot) usually gets more interesting
as you go. Inside the sequence are events between characters, between
a character and him or herself, or between a character and the
environment. These are called conflicts.|
|The first clear conflict is between the mother and
the son where he wants to talk and tell her things, and she finds this
boring to hear again and again.|
|The important conflict in this story, however, is
between the man and the mother about what kind of story he is telling