Scenic Technique. Resembles a movie or play in its manner of presentation. We are close to the actions in both a spatial and temporal sense. The author presents actions that take a few seconds to perform in a passage that takes few seconds to read. Scenic techniques used at the beginning of a novel are more likely to capture a reader’s attention at once because they are concrete and vivid.
Monthly Archives: April 2012
Point of View means that the story is told through the eyes and mouth of a certain person; the story can change considerably, depending on who is telling it.
First person narrator. Story is told from the inside; narrator is a participant in the action. Narrator is often the protagonist or minor character; we see only what he/she sees, in the way that he/she sees it.Advantage: first person narrator has immediacy and a sense of life. Disadvantage: the author may be frustrated in that he/she can only include things that the narrator would be expected to know; also, we are locked within the mind of the narrator.
Third person narrator. Usually a nameless narrator who can be identified with the author. Omniscient narrator: godlike narrator; he/she can enter character’s minds and know everything that is going on, past, present, and future. Advantage: very natural technique; author is, after all, omniscient regarding his work. Disadvantage: unlifelike; narrator knows and tells all; is truly a convention of literature.
Viewpoint character: third person narration that is limited to the point of view of one character in the novel; may be a protagonist or a minor character.
Objective viewpoint: limited narrative, like a drama; narrator can only describe words and actions that can be seen objectively and cannot get into character’s thoughts.
Combination of narrative techniques is possible in a novel.
Tense of narration is important; action narrated in the present can be more dramatic than past tense narration.
Style and literary standards. All writers have a style, but not all styles are good. Whether a style is good or bad largely depends on whether it is appropriate to the work. What does the style lend to the work as a whole? Style should work with other elements to produce a final unity. Style is the author’s personal expression. It reveals his/her way of perceiving experience and organizing perceptions. Style includes the author’s choice of words as well as arrangement of words into phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. Elements of style: diction, imagery, and syntax.
Diction: the author’s choice of words and their effect on the total work. Denotative meaning: the literal meaning of a word. Connotative meaning: suggestions and associations resulting from a word or group of words. Several words may have the same denotation, while differing significantly in their connotation. Is a writer’s style basically denotative or connotative?
Imagery: the evocation of a sensory experience through words.
- Literal images: Suggest no change or extension in the meaning of a word; supply specific, concrete details.
- Figurative images, or figures of speech; similes and metaphors
- Recurrent images: Repetitions of the same or similar images throughout a work can reinforce an effect that the author is trying to create.
- Symbols: The author’s attempts to represent areas of human experience that ordinary language cannot express; the symbol evokes a concrete, objective reality while suggesting a level of meaning beyond that reality.
- Archetypal image: concept of Carl Jung. There are images and symbols that are universal, existing from one culture to another, that always have the same meaning.
Types of Setting:
Neutral setting: the setting is not important, just a place where the action takes place.
Spiritual setting: the values embodied in the physical setting; there is no easy relationship between physical setting and moral values.
Dynamic setting: the setting may take on the role of a character.
Elements of a setting:
Geography (topography, scenery, interiors, etc.)
Occupation and lifestyle of characters
Religious, intellectual, and moral environment
Functions of a setting:
Setting as a methaphor: the setting projects the internal state of the characters or a pervasive spiritual atmosphere.
Atmosphere: a mood or emotional aura suggested by the setting and helping to establish the reader’s expectations.
Setting as the dominant element:
Time, especially in historical novels
Place, regionalist or local color novels (spiritual as well as geographical)
Setting should lend unity to the novel: What does it contribute?