The Basic Principles of (Prose) Literature & How to Analyse Them | Nina Modak | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

The Basic Principles of (Prose) Literature & How to Analyse Them

teacher avatar Nina Modak

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      0 Introduction


    • 2.

      1 What are the Basic Principles of Literature and why are we looking at them?


    • 3.

      2 Principle 1: Theme


    • 4.

      3 Principle 2: Plot


    • 5.

      4 What About Setting?!


    • 6.

      5 Principle 3: Characterisation


    • 7.

      6 Principle 4: Style (Genre, Form & Structure)


    • 8.

      7 Principle 4: Style (Language, Narrative Voice & Tone)


    • 9.

      8 Conclusion


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Prose literature is made up of a number of elements. To begin to unravel how an author writes, why it creates meaning and how this affects a reader we must begin to understand ‘what are the principles that underly prose literature?’

— Course Content —

In this course we will go through the 4 Basic Principles of Literature. This course is an information packed course with questions to help you analyse prose (novels and stories). 

  • What is literature? What are the different types of literature?
  • What are the basic principles of literature and why study them?
  • The Basic Principles: Theme, Plot, Characterisation, Style
  • Definitions
  • How you can identify characteristics of these principles in literature
  • Revision tips

— Who is this course for? —

  • GCSE English Literature students
  • AS/A Level English Literature students
  • IB Literature students
  • Anyone who would like to gain a deeper understanding of prose literature

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Nina Modak


Hello, I'm Nina.

 I have been a private tutor since graduating from university in 2014. My academic career began at an international secondary school, I took the International Baccalaureate with Higher Level English, History and Visual Arts and my extended essay discussed whether the church is a building or it’s people.

After a gap year, during which I worked for a charity and travelled in India and Europe, I attended the University of Manchester. Upon completion I was awarded a 2:1 in the Study of Religions & Theology.

Tutoring is a personal passion. I enjoy teaching; diving into academic study and showing students how rich it can be. We tackle challenging material unravelling its intricacies then analysing its ideas. The techniques I teach my students... See full profile

Level: All Levels

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. 0 Introduction: Welcome to the basic principles of literature course. In this course we are going to be looking at the four main principles of literature. Now. Literature, what is it? Well, a covers prose, so novels and stories, it covers poetry and drama. Now the four principles we're going to be looking at are going to be primarily in terms of prose literature. So this is whenever you are studying stories, novels, anything like that. Now the principles we learned in this video can be used with poetry and also drama. If you'd like to learn more about how to analyze poetry, I have another course specifically on that. And there'll be more on drama and poetry. Just look at my profile. So to introduce myself before we begin, my name is Nina and I am the founder of Murdoch tutoring and had been tutoring English history and religious studies since 2014. And now I'm doing online courses so that you can get education on-demand and then all the things you want to know at a time and in a place that suits you. So onto this course, in this course, we will be looking at how to analyze literature. By the end of this course, you will have a thorough understanding of these four basic principles that you can use in your exams. So if you are studying GCIC English literature, if you are studying a level English literature first or second year, or if you're doing the International Baccalaureate, this course is for you. But also if you'd like to just deepen your understanding of literature when you're reading a novel and just want to know about more. This course is also something for you. Now. This course is not going to be with all the examples. It is a really quick and thorugh course. And how can it be quick and thorugh? Well, it is going to be quick and thorough. We're gonna go through all the questions you can ask your self, things to look out for in the text. And also, what are these basic principles and how can you recognize them in a text? This is not meant to be a 567 hour course. That's not the point. If you're studying for exams, you need quick and easy to digest so that you can get straight to your unseen prose, to analyzing your novels you've got to study and write essays on. So this is going to help you identify those principles you need to know about that you can get straight to doing the work on it. So without further ado, let's get straight on with the course. 2. 1 What are the Basic Principles of Literature and why are we looking at them?: Okay, so before we start with the four basic principles, we're gonna do a quick overview of what is literature. What makes prose literature prose so that we can get, make sure we're all on the same basis. So when we're looking at prose, prose is novels, stories. If you are thinking about pros, the word is used to describe when we write in full sentences. So prose is used in nonfiction as well. So if you're thinking about newspaper articles that's written in prose, if you are looking at an interview transcripts that's written in prose, we speak in prose. And if we were speaking in a rhyme and rhythm and being really poetic, we'd speak in much more flowery language. We wouldn't get straight to the point in direct, direct language perhaps would use rhyme. So we'd make things sound much more lyrical. Pros. This is not the case. We are looking at, as I've said, novels and stories, but not plays, now plays a different because they are written with a series of dialogue with different characters. Because let's think about the function of these different types of literature. A play is meant to be performed to the way it's written, is to support that. It is dialogue because we know we're going to have a set of actors to perform on a stage, to an audience. And we've got stage directions so that the director, the costume designers, Those putting on the play, Know how to perform it, what it should look like in the end result. Now, poetry is a spoken art form. It is, it can be long, short, but the characteristics are that it usually has a verse structure. So it has stanzas, smaller, not paragraphs, but sets of lines. There's often a rhythm to it, a rhyme to it sometimes. Now, this is not what we're looking at. We are looking at prose literature, which means novels, sentences. And we're going to be looking at things. You will have all read the book. We have to read them in school when we're studying literature. You will have read it mainly for pleasure. If you like studying in neutral, you like reading, you'll have probably read a book. Harry Potter is written in prose. Children's storybooks, the wind and the willows, Peter Pan. If you're thinking about what else have we got? What have we got on my shelf? I've got the giver by Louis Lowry that's written in prose. I've got Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I've got, I've got plays. Their textbooks are written in prose. These are what we are looking at. And now we are looking at fiction as well. So nonfiction and fiction, we can use some of the elements we're going to look at to study nonfiction, but that's not the point of this course. We're looking at story, something that's made up, it's not real, it's fantasy. Almost. Now. Reading who is the audience of a book? It's you, it's a personal thing. It's not like poetry, it's not like drama, plays, they're not meant to be performed. It is a very personal and individual journey. So when we're looking at prose, what are the basic elements that we should be analyzing? Well, in school? You may have your teacher talk about five or six basic elements. Well, actually, I'm going to talk about four basic elements. And now my analysis and my decision to do four basic elements rather than five or six is actually due to some research I did. And I would influence by Iran's SA, who she is a writer. She wrote a number of very popular and famous books. She's dead now. And she did a lecture. She was talking to writers and what they need to be aware of. So she actually had four basic principles of literature at which I have decided, I agree with. And these are plot, characters and characterization and style. Now, some of the things that you will have come across in school, you like war. What about setting? What about point of view? What about dialogue and tone and form and genre? Where do those fit in? Well, I have found that a lot of these things, things like point of view, like tone, form, a lot of these extra things come under style because that is how the writer put the text together, how they characterize it. Now, we're going to be getting much more in depth into seem, plot, characterization and style throughout this course and this neat a video for each of them. But just so you are aware, those are the main four principles on a lot of things come under style will be looking at those individually as well. Now, if you are studying for an exam, maybe you're doing you GCSE and maybe you're doing you're a level your IB. And this course is aimed at those students who want to take their writing to a much deeper depth. You're going to be analyzing. You're going to be critiquing your own work. You're gonna be thinking, what am I actually answering the question and looking at these different parts. But the one thing I really want you to keep in mind is writers write to create meaning, to create an effect. And the process of doing that, our job as a scholar of English is to deconstruct that and find out, well how did they do it? So by analyzing these four different principles, this is what we're looking at. We're saying, well, what did they do and how, most importantly, how did they do it to create meaning? You can also think about, well, the aim is to create meaning. How would it change if an author did it differently? So this is where the style element comes in. If the theme was the same, if the plot was the same. But they changed the style. Maybe the point of view, the narrative voice from which the narrator is speaking, maybe they're speaking in third person rather than first-person or vice versa. If they change the type of language, if they changed the weigh the tone of voice in which the narrator or the characters are speaking. How would that change the way the reader responds to the story? Would the meaning change for that reason, even if the plot was the same, the theme was the same. And this is what we've got to look at. This is what I want you to do when you are taking the novel, you're studying at school, or maybe you've got an unseen prose and your exam. Think about, well, what's the alternative to this changed? Would it be the same or would it be different? How? And actually thinking about it in terms of opposites will help you think more broadly about it and be really able to analyze what has your sedan and how have they done it? Is it clever? Is it not clever? Is intriguing or boring? Why? And how? How does it make you want to read on why and how, especially the house. Okay, so now what we're gonna do is we're gonna go on to looking at seem, plot, characters and characterization, and then style. So those are our four basic principles and those are going to be our next videos. Ok, let's jump over to them and we're gonna get right into the work. 3. 2 Principle 1: Theme: So now we're going to look at C. So theme is our first basic principle of literature. Why is theme important? And firstly, what is a, what is the, why did authors use it? So CME is the point of the story. It's the central idea that runs through the entire narrative and brings everything together. If there wasn't a theme, it would be a story with NO point. You would think, well, what, why am I reading this? I don't understand why it's relevant to me or interesting. Often, as well as being a central idea that runs through narrative. It could also be a universal truth or problem that an author is trying to investigate. Authors go through and decide on these different themes for different reasons. Because, I mean, if we're thinking about their, although we're studying literature as an academic subject, ET is actually a creative subject. It is something that someone has gone. Okay, here is nothing and I'm going to make a story. I am going to create a set of characters who follow a series of events that are going to work on a theme. They're going to investigate a theme in some way. Now. Different themes that often come into play are things like bravery, love, friendship. Maybe we're looking at how good triumphs over evil. Maybe we're looking at how effort and persistence can win the day. Or maybe humans conflict with technology. Maybe it's about a coming of age story about how the characters are developing and becoming mature adults or learning to overcome a problem. So those are some of the common themes that can run through stories because let's face it, we are human. After all, stories are about us. Whether they are stories about animals, but they have human characteristics and they're solving human problems. I mean, if we think about a story and why it can connect with us on March. And actually, if you go on to something in the future, maybe a work-related, you've gotta do presentations or new, or you've got to do some sort of advertising or marketing. I mean, if you look at adverts just evenly, like the 3020 32nd clips on YouTube and even 10-second clips. A lot of advertising now is incredibly clever because they're working along a storyline, they're working on a seam because they want to sell a product. We're actually studying literature is quite useful for you in the future. Now, we could have major and minor themes in a story. Now major theme is the main theme of the work, but threw out a story. Sometimes there are other things that come up that an author is commenting on. Now we're going to look at that and with a couple of examples in a minute. But how do we discover theme? Now theme is discovered through characters, words, actions, thoughts. It's about how they interact with each other. Now, if you find it difficult to figure out, don't worry. If for example, if you're doing an unseen prose exam and you're looking at only a page, maybe you only got about that much worth writing. You probably, unless the exam board has told you what the theme is of the work in the little introduction. Or if you've read the book already, you probably won't be focusing on theme, but that's just for the unseen prose part of an exam. If you're looking at that, then you also might discover theme. It really depends on what type of extract, but I wouldn't worry about it too much because an unseen prose part of the exam is a little bit different to when you're writing an essay in your other paper about the novels that you've read and then analyzing it that you will need to comment on theme. Because as I mentioned, you identify theme through the words, actions, and thoughts of the characters. What do they do? How does that, what do they question? What are they learning? And through those, because an author does investigate a problem or a theme or aspects of human nature or universal truth through the actions of characters. It's, and it's something that we can say, well, do I identify with a character? How would I feel in this position? So let's look at a couple examples. So just got example of a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Now this is a pretty famous work. I mean, we watch it every Christmas. They were allowed to movies of it. And one of the major themes, the central theme in this book is about the idea of redemption. That someone who is really greedy, Ebenezer Scrooge, I mean, we've got the phrase, well, don't be a Scrooge is basically saying, well don't be, don't be mean, Don't be greedy. Dolby miserly, and not want to share just because you want to keep it to yourself. And What's shown through this idea, through the central theme of redemption is that even the most, the mean is the most wisely the greediness. All people can be redeemed at Christmas. They can change their life around and become a good person. And they can look after their fellow man. And this is shown through the experience of Ebenezer Scrooge. As we know, he meets the Ghost of Christmas Past, Christmas presents, and Christmas Future. And he has shown himself the past, the present, and future versions of himself. And he starts to re-evaluate his life. He starts to really evaluate how he does things. And I mean, this takes place over Christmas Eve night, only a few hours. And it happens. Another example, So Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, I highly recommend this book. Book. I loved it, reading it. And I think it's one of the really interesting things that she explored is about, this is a major theme about unchecked ambition. So Frankenstein, by the way, is not actually the name of the monster, eats the name of the creator of the monster. He has the scientist and he gets obsessed with discovering how to create life. And there are lots of things in the style that show us this idea of how he kind of acts like God. And He seeks to almost take the place of God. But then this unchecked ambition, this disregard for consequences of his actions, has dire consequences of his friends and family. And the idea of discovering dangerous knowledge as well. So he eventually destroys his life and becomes pursued by this monster who he has created. And interestingly, one of the minor themes of Frankenstein in this idea of nature, because with this almost grotesque investigation into science, and now we are thinking when I'm analyzing, I'm thinking in terms of the, the historicism, The context in which it was written. Because Mary Shelley wrote this, I believe it was 18 hundreds around the time. Same time, Charles Dickens, a Christmas Carol, that was a huge amount of scientific discovery. People were really pushing the boundaries of science to go, we'll walk, can we discover about our world? And I think she's really rooted this. And there was also this idea of nature and the natural world and its importance in their place. Verse, spiritual rejuvenation and truly includes as in her novel. And it contrasts really nicely with the kinda darkness. And I'm gonna go into this more in style, the darkness of this science. This making a human out of different parts out of the dead, bringing the dead back to life. So those are just two examples, and actually I didn't mention, but a minor theme of the Christmas, of Christmas Carol is a critique of Victorian society because at the time, and that was, that was the poor laws which was enacted in 1843, if I remember correctly. And Dickins wanted to reach a large audience. He wanted to show people, and he decided to do this through a story. How he deliberately decided to do it through a story because he knew that it would connect with more people. And if you think about the time, you know, this was published in almost the mid 18 hundreds, hundreds of art. I think it's 1846843 roughly. And the poor laws have been enacted just before. This was all to do with how we're Victorian sighted dealing with the poor people. How could they put people in the work houses? But there was a lot of poverty. There were a lot of children that were not being looked after. It was a time when being a good Christian was not always being done. I'm Charles Dickins wanted to make people aware about that. They didn't want them to forget. And there wasn't radio, that wasn't TV. So this was a way that he could really connect with people and investigate this theme. And people could put themselves into the story because it's not, they're not being critiqued directly. It's the character within the store, anything. Oh, ooh, maybe I've got some of those characteristics. Maybe I should be aware of that. And it connects with some deep psychological part of our brain because we as humans love stories. So that is theme just to recap. So a theme is the central idea of the story. It runs through the entire narrative, links it together. It is the point of the story. And we can have major and minor themes. Right? In the next video, we are going to be looking at plot. 4. 3 Principle 2: Plot: Right, so plot, our second basic principle of literature. Now, the plot is the chain of events that happens. That is the narrative. It is story structure is what makes up the story. It is a chain of events or actions. Now, it is usually set around a conflict or a problem. We need something interesting, we like drama, we like something to happen. Otherwise, the story is not very interesting. And it's usually set between characters to different characters, three different characters, different families. It set between maybe characters and a natural disaster. It can be really action-packed or it could be a bit more emotional. So we have very different stories. If you're thinking about like Jack Reacher books, they're not really my cup of tea, but my other half loves him. So they are really action-packed. They're someone who's going out and trying to solve a problem. And then you've got maybe some more classic literature of Pride and Prejudice that's much more emotional. It is much more about how characters interact with each other and finding love. So when we're looking at plot, what should you look out for when you are analyzing plot? Well, you should be looking at rising action, the climax conflicts. Falling action, also known as denial, which is I believe is a French word. Think about, Well, do you change in time? Do you move about from different places? Is going forward in history, backward in history. So what is happening and what is the conflict? How do we reach the conflict? And here the style comes in on how the author writes the story so that we can feel the tension. How did they build tension to create? But the plot itself is literally just the chain of events. So when you're revising actually, one of the really useful things to do is actually do a timeline of events of the story so you can map what happens. And now so there's beta story arc you may have come across in GCSE or when you're younger teachers helping you write your own creative stories. But we can also look at it in terms of, well, does the story follow the normal story started structure? Or does the author maybe go up, down, up, down and then have a climax much later. So we can look at the length of the story. Because sometimes books and maybe 700 pages, if you're thinking of Tolstoy, Leo Tolstoy, he wrote incredible sagas. Then if you were thinking about, well, a Christmas Carol, it's very short, very, very small. I think it's well, pluses and novella. So it's about, well, very, very small. I'm gonna go over to talking about the basic story, OK? In the video, I'm gonna put it in right here so that you can see what are the different points, where do they fit? So now we're going to look at our story arc, which is also can be known as a narrative arc or just an ah. So what is a story arc? And you may have come across in your GCSEs are when you're younger in school and your teacher showing you how to planets story. So that's exactly what it is. A story arc shows the path or sequence of a plot, and it's used to plan the flow progression of a story. And it's, this is what will help keep a reader interested. You can see what I'm drawing on the board here is, an AUC may look kind of like a wonky pyramid is not quite a pyramid. Sometimes you might see the story out drawn exactly like pyramid. And a story arc has five main parts, so we have an exposition. There was also an inciting incident. We're gonna talk about that specifically as we go along. Then there's the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the denouement or resolution. So before we begin looking at those different aspects and what we're gonna do a little bit of history because this story pyramid is also, was developed as a pyramid, also known as Freytag's Pyramid. And Freytag, also known as gustav Freytag, was a 19th century novelist who studied common patents in story plots. And he came up with an idea. And his idea was that every story goes through five stages. And these are the exposition, the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the resolution. So let's look at what are these five aspects. So first of all, we have the exposition. So the exposition is the introduction to the story. In this first part of the novel. And the author will give us some background information. They'll tell us about the characters they'll introduce who are the characters will be introduced to. A protagonist, will be introduced perhaps to our antagonist, will be given information about the setting. And it's also where the author will set the mood and tone for the story. Now this is important and when we studying literature, this is worth noting because it's, this is what's grabbing the reader's attention in the very beginning. And you might look at the structure of the beginning and go, or why did an author perhaps introduce me to feelings or emotions straight away? Maybe we're given almost like a close up view of a character rather than an overall view of the setting or a scene or the opposite might be true that the author has given us information about the setting or a scene in general, rather than a close up view. The expedition goes along, then we have something called the inciting incident. And this happens in the beginning of the story. And it's the event that starts the action. It's also what we can say is the here we go moment. And if we think about an example from a really well-known piece of literature, I know we're talking about pro, specifically in this course. But because everybody knows the story of Romeo and Juliet, we're going to have a quick look at this and as an example. So the inciting incident in this play is when Romeo sees Juliet. If Romeo hadn't seen Julia, he would have continued to be a teenager. And we probably wouldn't have this story that Shakespeare has written. So once the inciting incident has happened, and as you notice, this isn't one of the main part is just the start. We have the rising action. So the rising action is when the author develops the characters, their relationships and the actions. And the whole purpose of this is to build tension by escalating the conflict. So we're looking at, well, how does the right to do that? I'm, does it give us perhaps a series of events that the characters get into? A series of conflicts. Maybe it's conflict after conflict, after conflict. And this is what leads us to the climax. Perhaps the rising actions a bit slower. Maybe we have disagreements between characters. Maybe there's the threat of a natural disaster. So this, if we're thinking about a threat of a natural disaster, the warnings from the Weather Company, from the government preparing for this, maybe hurricane or tsunami or something like that. This would be considered rising action, building the tension until we get to the climax. So the climax is the peak, is the point that all the attention has been building towards. It is the, what could be a moment of truth or clarity for our protagonist. It's almost like it's the part of the story where you're like clenching your teeth and you're like, oh my goodness, I can't believe this has happened. But it's also the point that the inner and outer journeys of our characters also start to come together. We start to go, Oh, this is so interesting. I have to keep reading and see what happens next. And once we reach this point, our story doesn't just end there. We need, it keeps going. Characters don't stop moving because the climax that happened, and this is what leads us to our falling action. So are falling action is the author tying up these loose ends up subplot of the mini conflicts that are going on. So obviously we have our main plot structure, which is the main problem that all the characters dealing with, as we know as humans, although we have our main things in life, maybe you're going to school to work. Maybe you're planning a party or something, that's the main event of your life at that time. But there are all these other things to do in life that happened. Relationships. Maybe you've got to do your homework if you're at school. Maybe you've got a project at work, they need to do. So all these things in, within a story, within the plot phase start to get worked out as the falling action happened in it's the author starting to draw the story to a close. Then after are falling action, we have our fancy word, new mom, which is also just a fancy name for resolution. So it's basically the author saying the story is drawing to a close. We're ending now. And now. Authors would choose to end their stories in a variety of ways, depending on what they're choosing to write about. It might be a happily ever after. It might be a cliffhanger because maybe they've got a second book coming, or it might not be. So the author will choose a way to end the story according to the plot structure they've got up according to the narrative art. And it may be very emotional. It may not be, it may make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Depends on what the author wants to achieve. Now, one thing to note is that although Freytag created this pyramid and it works quite a lot, there are times that it doesn't work because some authors choose to follow a three-act structure and thoughts. Okay, so your job when you're studying is to look at, well, how does the author structure their narrative? What is the overarching archiving? How do they lead characters through these different situations? And you're going to analyze how so look up, well, why have they put certain events in a certain order? What effect does it have on the reader? Does their build tension? Does, and how does it build tension? It may not just be the word, it may literally be the order in which it happens. Could these events happened in any other order? How YoY naught, if it were put in a different order, would it have the same effect? Would it lead our characters to this pinnacle moment, to this climax in quite the same way. And then think, oh, what about these resolutions? Is, is that good enough for you? Does the climax meet your expectations from the building of tension in the rising action? Does the Author layout the introduction to the characters in an interesting way in the expedition exposition in the beginning of the novel. And does it reach a reasonable and satisfying conclusion in the end? Are you satisfied with the novel in the way that it has developed? Yes, no, why or why not? So that is our basic story arc. And the story arc is like a top-down bird's eye view of plots of the plot. We will develop it a bit more because the plot is the individual actions that happen within the structure, or maybe a three-act structure depending on what the author has chosen. So you will do a much more detailed analysis of plot. Perhaps you can work out honest stories, OK. And put those individual actions. What was the exposition? Who did the author introduced in the very beginning? What type of setting your mood or tone do they create in the exposition and how does that develop in the rising action? And you can, you know, mock out those different events on a story arc structure. So that when you're revising, when you're looking at the structure, when you're analyzing and saying, well, what significance does this hub to the theme? What significance does this have to the development of the characters and the actions that are happening? You can map out and then think, well, what about the falling action and how the author resolves all these different problems and these events and situations that have happened in the novel. 5. 4 What About Setting?!: Now, one thing I do want to mention, and you will probably notice, as I mentioned in the first video, the overview video was that I haven't actually include setting as its own basic principle. Now, the reason I have not done this is because throughout a story, setting usually changes at some point. Unless, yeah, a setting changes, characters move about from place to pace. You might have a general region or area in which they stay, but those can change. So maybe you've got the characters home, maybe you've got their school, maybe they're traveling around the whole world. Different settings change and they change with plot. They change with the chain of events as the story goes on. Which is why I haven't put it as its own category because I believe, and I argue that it is integral to the plot structure. So when you're in class and the say, When's the story set? H will usually refer to the time period in which it's set. So for example, I'm studying the routers club with one on my students. So it's set usually in Birmingham in the 19 seventies. However, the setting, as in the place in which the story takes place changes throughout the story depending on which characters were talking to. Because if we're talking to the teenagers, we see them in school or maybe they're at home, or maybe they are a cafe or out for a walk or doing something else. If were looking when introduced to the adults, we often see the adults at work or doing extra curricular activities. Now, when it comes to writing about an extract and unseen extract, for example, maybe you weren't have many settings. You will just have one place because you are given one scene. That's ok. So in that case, you can talk about setting specifically. Because the plot structure of the extract is going to be much smaller. Because again, you've only got a scene to look at. They're not going to ask you to analyze the whole book because they haven't asked you to read it. You don't know what you're getting until you step into the exam. That's okay. Now, if you are then working on another part of your exam or you're looking at the book as a whole, then you are going to be tracking, well, where is the setting in relation to the plot? How do the characters move through him? What does this do to the setting? Because if you think about if the character stayed in one place, if they did not move, would the story be as interesting? Would the plot b is interesting? And now we're not even talking about the style side, the language, the dialogue, the characterization or anything like that. With its leaders talking about if this carriage stay in the same place throughout the whole story. Would that be as interesting? If you're writing an essay and you want to specifically look at setting throughout a novel that's also a cane. Now it will depend on the question that you are given. So for example, if I'm investigating the theme in Frankenstein and I am looking at this idea of dangerous knowledge, unchecked ambitions and its contrast with how the setting and the Hans is this idea. Then maybe I would use a specific paragraph for different parts of the setting. But then I would discuss it with integration with the theme, with the plot because I wanted to show how the use of setting has informed and enhanced meaning. Now, as I mentioned in the very beginning, this is something to be aware of. How does what the author has done, how they, what they have written, how is that? Does that enhance meaning? And in this case, if I wanted to talk about the analysis of the theme and its relation to the setting and how it enhances that, then I'm probably would dedicate at least one paragraph maybe to looking at different types of setting. Because as we know from the story structure, Frankenstein moves across different countries depending on, he needs to be depending on his academic career or just getting away from the Monster. And one of the interesting things I mentioned before was that we have a contrast between light and dark. And this is shown through setting because where he's creating the monster is dark, it's grotesque, it's not very nice. And that kinda reflects this whole idea of unchecked ambition, of going against nature. And then for spiritual rejuvenation, Franken cosign goes out to the forest to walk around and be in wonder of nature, of beauty, of light. And it kind of, and it gives them a boost again. So here I would emphasize that shelly does you setting and that actually because the character goes to these different places, each for different purposes, it enhances and it also reflects the internal struggle of the protagonist, the main character in our story. So here I'm talking about it is enhancing meaning and perhaps setting and when setting takes place enhances the tension to the climatic and enhances the effect in the reader. So again, the author is creating meaning through its influence on the reader. You. 6. 5 Principle 3: Characterisation: All right, so now we've looked at theme and plot. We're gonna be looking at characters and characterization now. So we know that characters are the actors, the people within the story. Now characterization is how the author describes. It tells the reader about the character itself. So this could be through descriptions of their appearance. It's also through dialogue. It's through how the writer writes the actions of the characters. What do the characters do? We can see characterization through how characters interact with each other within the plot, within the narrative story. Their speech. By themselves, maybe they have streams of consciousness within the story that maybe the narrator tells us about the character. So all of this makes up characterization is what makes the character who they are, and how do we learn that? So here what to look out for when you are investigating characterization. Now, first we can look at, well, how does the writer described the characters? You may have descriptions of clothing. You may have descriptions of posture, physical features, facial expressions, maybe hair color. And you think about, well, is this consistent with who they are as a character, their personality, what I understand, do I like them? Do I dislike them? And why? You can look at the different types of dialogue they have. So dialogue is really important. I mean, even between you and I right now, I know we're on a video, but you are interacting with me in that you're listening to me and maybe you're even making notes. Maybe you're thinking up questions as I'm going through this. You are learning about me and who I am through this conversation. And actually this is why I try and make my tutorial videos really conversational because it's engaging. We as humans like to converse with each other and potentially now with all the lockdown and the pandemic and everyone's at home and having to basically live through video. That's even more important now because we don't have that physical interaction with each other. So we can also see this in prose, literature, in stories we look at, well, how do the characters talk with other characters? How do they think to themselves? Is it the same? Is it different? And what does that show us about a character? So we can get a sense of duty like this character. Do it dislike this character? Are they trustworthy through dialogue and through the actions? We can? The same goes for tone. Now we're gonna look at tone as well in style. But I want to talk about it in terms of characterization because I mean, very much in English as well, not sometimes in other languages by through my discussions with my friends who are from different countries and when they're learning English. Tone in English is so important because it can often convey meaning far more strongly than the words that are actually used. So it's very interesting that now we're studying a written form of language. Does that tone come across? And how? So we look at, well, what are the words that the author is used in the dialogue, too? Convey tone. Is it effective? Is it not effective? How, why? We also think about well, with the different characters we'll have our protagonist will have our antagonists sometime it is very clear is like a good your Abadi. So for example, if we think of a movie Star Wars, I know we're looking at prose, but I think most people have seen Star Wars. They know about Yoda, they know about Darth Vader. So we're going to look at a really simple example. Because also for those of you who are not really sure how to look at this in literature. Well, let's think about how we look at it from a movie and then transpose it to pose. So Yoda, we know is one of the good guys. He's one of the good jet eyes and he speaks backwards. Basically. It's everybody makes strokes talking like Yoda. And also, you can think, well, because of that dialogue structure of Yoda, how did that make him sound smart? How does make Kim or us as the viewer or the reader feel like he's trustworthy. Then in contrast, if you think about Darth Vader, he has a very ominous, breathy kind of way of talking. Obviously, if we we can see is all wearing black as well. So that really does distinguish him as one of the evil ones. But we think, well, how does that voice, we just took away the image. How does that voice tell us? We don't really trust him. I don't really know. And then we think, well, if this were in down, how would the author write it? So with Yoda, obviously, the word would be back to front a bit, but it's still make sense. The reaction to the speech from the other characters will show us how they feel, which will influence our point of view. Now with Darth Vader, perhaps, rather than the speaking first, the author will describe that low rumbling, the ominous rumbling of the breath going through the mask, and that will make us go, well, why is he wearing a mask? Why why is he covering his face? I mean, he wasn't around during the whole time. And when you can't hear some more when they're breathing is labored. It makes us go, well, what are these other things that come to my mind? Maybe they're ill, maybe they're trying to sound scary in some way. And these associations that we have outside in our world are important because they influence how we react to characters within a novel. And we look at those words that the writer has used in the order they have used them in to analyze that. To understand the characterization of the counter, we can also look at, well, what about the rhythm of their speech? Melissa is very clear with Yoder, he has a specific rhythm in how he speaks. It. Well, it's not lyrical, but it is specifically Yoda, maybe the level of formality. So are they speaking really conversationally? Are they speaking very formally? Because how you speak to your friend and how you speak to a teacher is usually quite different. The same goes between characters. So what does that tell us about the character, about how they feel about themselves? Because if someone speaks very formally to everyone, even their friend, you might think, oh, why being weird? Why are you being so formal? Do you think you're better than somebody else? What about repeated expressions and phrases? Maybe that tells you something about the character. Perhaps if they're young, young children as the characters in the novel, they are will say repeated phrases or expressions. What does that tell you? Maybe you didn't know they're young, but through the repeated expressions and phrases, you know that maybe they're mentally unstable for some reason. That's why. What about the length of the speech? Maybe some characters only speak in very short sentences, maybe earlier a word or two. How is, how, what does that tell us about the character compared to someone who has pages and pages of dialog with just normal dialog. Those contrasts tell us about characters, whether they are likely to engage with people, whether they don't like to engage your people. Because usually people who speak a lot, like to talk to people, people who don't speak a lot fast. What about colloquial accents? Dialects? Because if we're thinking about a story that's set in different countries, maybe you've got someone trying to speak English, but it's not standard English because they're still learning, but that's the whole point of the character. What does that tell us about the character? Maybe the English is different because of the time period in which the English is set. So for example, the language in novels from the 18 hundreds are very different to the novels we have now. I mean, not even markedly different from the novels a 100 to 200 years before. We've also got some of the stylistic elements, which is Questions, commands, punctuation, such as like exclamation marks that an author can use to indicate tone, as well as reporting clauses. So for example, he whispered, or he shouted, or he screamed, or he said happily. Those all give us ideas about how a character says something so that we can draw conclusions as to, well, what's the character like at this point, and how does that fit in with our understanding of the character? So let's now look at actions and behavior are a bit more so we've talked about dialogue quite a lot. Well, what about that behavior? Because you can tell a lot about a person, about character through how they act. Now, as we know, a plot is a chain of events and actions. And usually the theme is centered around things that characters are doing to explore a problem. So the things that the characters do in relation to this theme, you can think, well, what does that tell me? Or even more simply, do your impressions of the character change throughout the novel? And why, what actions did they do that made you change your mind for good or for worse? Maybe your impression didn't change. Why, why not think about that as well? It can also, is the character aware of their own characteristics? Because if you've got a character that's quite self-aware, maybe you're gonna feel more trust towards that character. And you could think about, well, how did you do that? You can also think about what do their actions tell you about the characters psychology. So if you're looking at, for example, maybe a coming of age novel. So in the narrative voice course, that's, I have, we looked at the giver. And this is about a boy who is coming of age. He's learning his place in society and then he rebelled against it. What does that, what to his actions tell us about his psychology and how it changes. So he goes from being quite young and immature to them making very big decisions all on his own. And we see how he grows. So everything we're looking at, when we're looking at characterization is about identifying what can the speech, the behavior, the description, like the physical look of the character, tell us about their psychology. How does the writer used that to create meaning, to exemplify the theme or, or investigate the theme. How do they interact with the plot? How do they create the plot and are they integral to the story? Your job as a scholar is to identify these and investigate them and think about what, why, why did the author do it this way? And why is that important to the story as a whole? How is it important to the creation of effect? How does it affect you as a reader, but also how does it develop the theme is effective or not, and you're gonna need to draw your own conclusions by looking at how they do it. And this is how we were gonna go on to style now, because we're gonna be looking at, well, what about language choices, word choices, and what about the way the narrator describes a story? It, it first-person, third-person. What about the, even the genre of form that a writer chooses to use? Because within those, there are certain rules that you follow. Why does the author do it? How does it do it? How does it create meaning? 7. 6 Principle 4: Style (Genre, Form & Structure): So now we are gonna go on to style, and this is how the author writes. I mean, we're gonna be looking at how the choice of words, why do they use air? Are there specific ways they change it? We are going to be looking at the form and structure of the piece of writing itself. These are all stylistic elements we're going to investigate because it changes and perhaps the author uses these specific stylistic elements to create meaning, to create an effect. And we need to, as scholars of English, to analyze this. First, identify and analyze, well, what effect does it has, have? Is it good? Is it bad? Is it boring? Is nothing? Why? How? So? First of all, we are actually going to look at genre. I think. Yes, we're going to look at genre to start with because it's one of the broad things that we look out. So genre is the classification of a type of literary work. And it's got characteristics of structured technique and organizing principles and also sometimes subject matter. So genres in fiction, some of them, you'll know science fiction, you'll have Gothic novels. Maybe you'll have a utopian or dystopian novel. Maybe you've got a social novel. Stream of consciousness evolves. So got something that you may never have heard of, which is a bildungsroman type of work, which is a coming of age novel. If he didn't know. You've got maybe a regional genre. Something is set in a specific place. And these different genres are, are, have different characteristics. And y notice genre. Well, we noticed anya because of those specific structural, technical and organizing principles and subject matter. Because we think, well, did a writer deliberately choose the genre because it would help them investigate the theme that they wanted. Did they think that through doing it? For example, if you're thinking of a utopia or a dystopian novel. So thinking of George Orwell's 1984, to deliberately choose that type of genre because of his subject matter? Or did the genre come about because of the subject matter he wanted to investigate? What about a social novel of mice and men by John Steinbeck is a social novel. Did He create the story? And then there's genre come. Next. It just, that's the story he created. It happened to fall into that genre. What did you decide? I want to write about this and perhaps you want to do. I'd also argue that maybe Christmas Carol is a social novel because it's in its critiquing Victorian society. And I think he deliberately chose. This type of genre, because he wanted to talk about the problems in society and how people can rectify that in themselves. So when you're looking at the genre and it won't be a huge amount of investigation. And it's quite easy to find out what type of genre a book is. And if you're unsure, go do some googling. Ask your teacher, ask a friend, discussed it with a friend and see we can come up with, look at the different structural, technical, and organizing principles that make up that runner and see, well, does the book fit in? Yes, no. How much? Because maybe you've got a story that fits in a little bit but not quite. And think about why does it fit in? Why or why not? Next, structure and form. So actually we'll look at form first. So form is the organization of the work. So indifferent novels, it will be different. Some novel just right in chapters, paragraphs, it's very simple organization. I'm gonna go back to Christmas Carol again. He calls his chapters staves. Stave is a musical term, and because it's a Christmas Carol, has a song and make sense, but they're still just chapters. Other novels. So Frankenstein we mentioned earlier, is written in letters. So there are chapters, Bart, each chapter is part of letter. So the form is different because if you're writing a letter compared to just writing a chapter, that style uses different. The narrator is different. If we're thinking about a novel. So I mentioned the routers KAB, from studying with one of my students. That is actually a collection of different forms because it has a story within a story it sandwiched on either side by the narrator telling us about these two characters who meet by chance. And then within that they are telling a story to each other using memories but also finding their characters. They're speaking about their family members as it happens to be there, all the family members. They're also using the older writings, unedited version to speeches, newspaper articles written by them as teenagers. They're also using interviews, transcripts. So it almost like a collection, it's a scrapbook and they're using different forms of prose within the novel too. And it makes it interesting. It's going well, okay, we're building a picture of this story from the inside out or from the outside in actually trying to piece it together. And you can really see that through the different aspects of the novel because of the different forms used. We can also think, well, how does this create meaning? Does it in an informal mean, our understanding of the story and the theme? Does it give us insight into certain characters, how y a y naught? Then when we're looking at structure to structure sometimes synonymous with form. But actually structure is the framework of the writing. So we're going to think more specifically about paragraphs and sentences here. So are we looking at long and short or short sentences, long monologues, internal thoughts, descriptions of places and people. What is distinctive about the sentences in the passage of writing? Is there something that you find, particularly that grabs your attention? How it was they, who is the writer done that? Is that through short sentences. Is that through some of the language they used, what about other any digressions or interruptions within a paragraph? Maybe you've even within the page or the chapter, maybe you've got a load of descriptions from the narrator and then suddenly he or brought to the character. And they're telling you their point of view. And you think, well, why has the writer done that? To what extent is this important? Or does that give me an insight into their psychology or what's going on with them right now? Does it make me connect with them more? You could also think about the sentence structure. Much technical aspect here for of subordinate clauses, or are they, or fragments of sentences as it stop and star, is it choppy? How do we know? Is, what about short and punchy or long and flowery? Again, maybe the context of the writing will change that. Who knows? You can look at that because often older writings or 18 hundreds, especially it was very flowery long sentences. And they like to use colon and semi-colons a lot joining these entities together. Whereas nowadays much more modern literature, we using shorter, more punchy sentences in comparison. So you can ask yourself, how does the author construct the work? Ada differences? Is the work chronological? Is the book laid out in a pleasing or a jarring way? Does that make you want to read or not y, y naught. 8. 7 Principle 4: Style (Language, Narrative Voice & Tone): So now we are going to look at the language. So language is the choice of words used. You may find that the writer uses a specific selection of words because this is their style. For example, some writers have, most writers have a style that they like to adhere to. Or it might be to do with the character there describing, what about the use of figures, of speech? Similes, metaphors? What about imagery? How do the authors use those? Do they use them a lot? Do they not use them at all? What function do they have and how do they help the author create meaning as in investigating the theme or looking at the different, the different aspects of the story, does their way. They use language change depending on the character change, depending on the part of the story. Have we got a slower start with much longer sentences and much more flowery, pretty language in the beginning to ease us in to the story. And then as it gets to the climax, maybe they change. They use the sentences, it gets shorter. Punchier may be the language gets most tense. It gets maybe we've got short, Yeah, I've mentioned shorter sentences. Maybe a simpler words rather than fancy words. Maybe the author. Make use of tracking or Taboo Language in the beginning to shock you into wanting to read and go. Okay, this is unexpected. Maybe that's deliberate, but why did they do that? Maybe they want to shock you, want to create that reaction in you, because then it will open you up to looking at the theme and really taking stock of that. What about the use of sound devices? So sound devices are alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhythm, rhyme, repetition. So sometimes actually impose, they'll use these aspects which are often found in poetry, actually, alliteration. So you've got the slow slugs slouched along the sandy Shaw, that alliteration, the use of sss, sss, onomatopoeia. So Bang, crash, wall up there. Sounds that sound like what they are. Rhythm and rhymes. You'll be familiar with this with poetry. So maybe he wanted the characters likes to have Ryan in their, in their speech. May be they changed the rhythm of a character speech show what type of character they are. Maybe repetition, as we've mentioned, dialogue. But maybe they also do this. When the narrator speaking, we're gonna talk about in a minute. Think about it in terms of authors choose word for effect. We think about what they wanted to create. Something that means something, I mean, something that is read by people and they think about, because what's the point in writing a book otherwise? And they need to do that by choosing words that denote and connote things. So when you're doing your analysis, think about. What does the word say? So that's denotation. And then what do they suggest that's connotation because for those of you who might have heard all signs, signified and signifier. One of my other videos will have how can we analyze literature? And I'll show you my pyramid of analysis, but it basically is at the top. It's like what do you see? What do the words actually say? Then we look at the different layers of meaning that come underneath fat because we want to get to what are the suggestions? How can we read between the lines of what I do this, what these words selections connote, what do they show us? What do they make us think about? Because then we can think about the broader implications of the words and how that relates to theme, to plot, to the characters themselves. And we've also got to think, well, is it stylistically or sub, for the subject? Is it relevant? Is it consistent? Is it effective? Because if it's relevant, inconsistent, perhaps the effect is greater. And this leads me on to talk about narrative perspective, also known as point-of-view or narrative voice. So we have, what is narrative voice? What is narrative respectable point-of-view? Well, it's who's telling the story is, maybe it's a first-person, maybe it's third person. So first-person is a character inside the torque storytelling us. Third person is usually an array to outside the story. And we could have a third person limited as in, they're just going to tell us what is happening in the story. Usually they're much more objective. Or we could have a third person omniscient who knows everything about everyone and everything in the story and can tell us at-will. I'm perhaps sometimes they have more of a point of view and they'll give us that point of view. And we sought to build a relationship with the narrator. Now because it deals with who is telling the story, we want to think about what's the relationship between the narrator and the reader? Does that help us build a trust with the characters? Do we feel more suspicious of the characters because of this narrator? Why or why not? How does that influence how we interact with the story? And what is this doing to meaning within the story? Is it helping us understand the theme and really investigate it through these characters? How, why, why not? What's the tone of the narrator? Because in a can have a sarcastic tone or happy tone and objective, rational, not really any tone. And we get a, have a narrator who is very self-aware, whether that be first person or third person. What does that do? How does that make us interact with the story? Does it make us want to read on or not? So if we go on to talk a bit more about tone, it's the attitude of the speaker to the audience, how they sound. And we need to think what would just the narrator come from a certain socioeconomic, cultural background? And how do we know this? Is it consistent throughout the novel? Is, does or does it shift y, y naught? What about the syntax or the arrangement of words? What about addiction, choice of words? Think about how it changes our view of the theme of the characters. And also some thing to leave you to ponder. As this is our last point in style, is how do you know your view of the novel, the conclusion? Do you draw on our your conclusions and not the conclusions of the writer? Maybe the writer has led you to these conclusions. To what extent did pay. 9. 8 Conclusion: Okay, so that sums up our very quick thorugh understanding of the basic principles of literature. These are all the questions that you need to be thinking about when you are analyzing literature. These are the four basic principles. And yes, it might be a little bit different to the way you're taught in school, but I find this is a much easier, much, much easier way to think about literature because we have four aspects. We have theme, we have plot, we have characterisation, and then we have style. The how. So when you're looking at literature, whether that be an extract and your unseen extract exam, whether that is just a book you're reading for pleasure or maybe you're doing comparative literature. Think about these four aspects now ask yourself, how does the author use these aspects to create meaning, to create an effect in the reader. So use a stylistic elements and play them off each other. Think about, well, what if it were different with that? Change the way that I interact with the characters or the characters interact with the plot or the theme, with the theme change or the plot change? If the words changed or would I, would I understand or think that the theme was though important if the dialogue or the language and style of language changed or if the narrator, the narrative perspective changed. Ask yourself questions. Ask questions of the text because these are what are going to let you open up the text to more and more analysis. Ok, that is it for today's course. And thank you for joining me. I hope this has been helpful. If it has, please feel free to drop me an email via my website, which is Murdock tutoring dot co dot UK. I also have a number of articles on there all about essay writing. So for feeling a bit stock would just want to learn more about how you, your comparative essays. Go check out the blog post series on olga essay writing like it's quite detailed. And I also have some other courses about how to analyze literature, narrative perspective, and more communist way. If you have any requests, do feel free to email me or check out our YouTube channel and leave a comment. Okay, that's it for today. Thanks for joining me and I will see you in the next one.