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The absolute phrase is a sentence modifier, adding particular description.

Its like a close-up shot in a movie that follows an establishing shot. Its also one of my favorite sentence constructions, especially for narrative writing.

Examples: 1. Nervous and buzzing on caffeine, Jane stood by the window, her eyes darting around the room. 2. The darling! thought Newland Archer, his glance flitting back to the young girl with the liliesof-the-valley. (from The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton) 3. She walked indolently along, with a mind at rest, its peace reflected in her innocent face. (from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court by Mark Twain)

SETTING -- The time and location in which a story takes place is called the setting. For some stories the setting is very important, while for others it is not. There are several aspects of a story's setting to consider when examining how setting contributes to a story (some, or all, may be present in a story): a) place - geographical location. Where is the action of the story taking place? b) time - When is the story taking place? (historical period, time of day, year, etc) c) weather conditions - Is it rainy, sunny, stormy, etc? d) social conditions - What is the daily life of the characters like? Does the story contain local colour (writing that focuses on the speech, dress, mannerisms, customs, etc. of a particular place)? e) mood or atmosphere - What feeling is created at the beginning of the story? Is it bright and cheerful or dark and frightening?

PLOT -- The plot is how the author arranges events to develop his basic idea; It is the sequence of events in a story or play. The plot is a planned, logical series of events having a beginning, middle, and end. The short story usually has one plot so it can be read in one sitting. There are five essential parts of plot: a) Introduction - The beginning of the story where the characters and the setting is revealed. b) Rising Action - This is where the events in the story become complicated and the conflict in the story is revealed (events between the introduction and climax). c) Climax - This is the highest point of interest and the turning point of the story. The reader wonders what will happen next; will the conflict be resolved or not? d) Falling action - The events and complications begin to resolve themselves. The reader knows what has happened next and if the conflict was resolved or not (events between climax and denouement). e) Denouement - This is the final outcome or untangling of events in the story. It is helpful to consider climax as a three-fold phenomenon: 1) the main character receives new information 2) accepts this information (realizes it but does not necessarily agree with it) 3) acts on this information (makes a choice that will determine whether or

not he/she gains his objective).


CONFLICT-- Conflict is essential to plot. Without conflict there is no plot. It is the opposition of forces which ties one incident to another and makes the plot move. Conflict is not merely limited to open arguments, rather it is any form of opposition that faces the main character. Within a short story there may be only one central struggle, or there may be one dominant struggle with many minor ones. There are two types of conflict: 1) External - A struggle with a force outside one's self. 2) Internal - A struggle within one's self; a person must make some decision, overcome pain, quiet their temper, resist an urge, etc. There are four kinds of conflict: 1) Man vs. Man (physical) - The leading character struggles with his physical strength against other men, forces of nature, or animals. 2) Man vs. Circumstances (classical) - The leading character struggles against fate, or the circumstances of life facing him/her. 3) Man vs. Society (social) - The leading character struggles against ideas, practices, or customs of other people. 4) Man vs. Himself/Herself (psychological) - The leading character struggles with himself/herself; with his/her own soul, ideas of right or wrong, physical limitations, choices, etc.

CHARACTER -- There are two meanings for the word character: 1) The person in a work of fiction. 2) The characteristics of a person. Persons in a work of fiction - Antagonist and Protagonist Short stories use few characters. One character is clearly central to the story with all major events having some importance to this character - he/she is the PROTAGONIST. The opposer of the main character is called the ANTAGONIST. The Characteristics of a Person In order for a story to seem real to the reader its characters must seem real. Characterization is the information the author gives the reader about the characters themselves. The author may reveal a character in several ways: a) his/her physical appearance b) what he/she says, thinks, feels and dreams c) what he/she does or does not do d) what others say about him/her and how others react to him/her Characters are convincing if they are: consistent, motivated, and life-like (resemble real people) Characters are... 1. Individual - round, many sided and complex personalities. 2. Developing - dynamic, many sided personalities that change, for better or worse, by the end of the story. 3. Static - Stereotype, have one or two characteristics that never change and are

emphasized e.g. brilliant detective, drunk, scrooge, cruel stepmother, etc.


POINT OF VIEW Point of view, or p.o.v., is defined as the angle from which the story is told. 1. Innocent Eye - The story is told through the eyes of a child (his/her judgment being different from that of an adult) . 2. Stream of Consciousness - The story is told so that the reader feels as if they are inside the head of one character and knows all their thoughts and reactions. 3. First Person - The story is told by the protagonist or one of the characters who interacts closely with the protagonist or other characters (using pronouns I, me, we, etc). The reader sees the story through this person's eyes as he/she experiences it and only knows what he/she knows or feels. 4. Omniscient- The author can narrate the story using the omniscient point of view. He can move from character to character, event to event, having free access to the thoughts, feelings and motivations of his characters and he introduces information where and when he chooses. There are two main types of omniscient point of view: a) Omniscient Limited - The author tells the story in third person (using pronouns they, she, he, it, etc). We know only what the character knows and what the author allows him/her to tell us. We can see the thoughts and feelings of characters if the author chooses to reveal them to us. b) Omniscient Objective The author tells the story in the third person. It appears as though a camera is following the characters, going anywhere, and recording only what is seen and heard. There is no comment on the characters or their thoughts. No interpretations are offered. The reader is placed in the position of spectator without the author there to explain. The reader has to interpret events on his own.

THEME -- The theme in a piece of fiction is its controlling idea or its central insight. It is the author's underlying meaning or main idea that he is trying to convey. The theme may be the author's thoughts about a topic or view of human nature. The title of the short story usually points to what the writer is saying and he may use various figures of speech to emphasize his theme, such as: symbol, allusion, simile, metaphor, hyperbole, or irony. Some simple examples of common themes from literature, TV, and film are: - things are not always as they appear to be - Love is blind - Believe in yourself - People are afraid of change - Don't judge a book by its cover

Tropes metaphor

the substitution of a word for a word whose meaning is close to the original word

Poor broken glass, I often did behold/ In thy sweet semblance my old age new born...---The Rape of Lucrece,1758-59


a noun is substituted for a noun in such a way that we substitute the cause of the thing of which we are speaking for the thing itself; this might be done in several ways: substituting the inventor for his invention, the container for the thing contained or vice versa, an author for his work, the sign for the thing signified, the cause for the effect or vice versa

I must comfort the weaker vessel, as doublet and hoseought to show itself courageous to petticoat.---As You Like It, 2.4.6 Was this the face that launched a thousand ships,/ And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?---Dr. Faustus, 12.8081 He was no notorious malefactor, but he had been twice on the pillory, and once burnt in the hand for trifling oversights.---Direccions for Speech and Style Woe worth the mountain that the mast bear/ Which was the first causer of all my care (Medea cursing Jason).--The Arte of English Poesie, 183 For what the waves could never wash away/ This proper youth has wasted in a day.---The Arte of English Poesie, 226 O modest wantons! wanton modesty!--The Rape of Lucrece, 401 Lord Angelo dukes it well.---Measure for Measure, 3.2.100 He is no fool.---The Arte of English Poesie, 184 His legs bestrid the ocean, his rear'd arm/ Crested the world, his voice was propertied/ As all the tuned spheres...--Antony and Cleopatra, 5.2.82

synecdoche substitution of part for whole, genus for species, or vice versa


expressing a meaning directly contrary to that suggested by the words


a double metonymy in which an effect is represented by a remote cause


a seemingly self contradictory statement, which yet is shown to be true

oxymoron anthimeria litotes

a condensed paradox at the level of a phrase the substitution of one part of speech for another; for instance, an adverb for a noun or a noun for an adverb deliberate understatement or denial of the contrary


exaggerated or extravagant statement used to make a strong impression, but not intended to be taken literally

Metaplasmic Figures prosthesis aphaersis epenthesis syncope paragoge apocope antisthecon

addition of letters to the beginning of a word omission of letters from the beginning of a word addition of letters to the middle of a word omission of letters from the middle of a word addition of letters to the end of a word omission of letters from the end of a word substitution of a letter or sound for another within a word

I all alone beweep my outcast state.---Shakespeare Sonnets, 29 Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scapewhipping?---Hamlet, 2.2.561 Lie blist'ring fore the visitating sun.---Two Noble Kinsmen, 1.1.146 Thou thy worldly task hast done,/ Home art gone, and ta'enthy wages. Cymberline, 4.2.258 I can call spirits from the vasty deep.---Henry IV, Part I, 3.1.52 I am Sir Oracle,/ And when I ope my lips let no dog bark!--The Merchant of Venice, 1.1.93 Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cesse!---All's Well That Ends Well, 5.3.75


transposition of a letter out of its normal order in a word

With liver burning hot. Frevent.---The Merry Wives of Windsor, 2.1.122

Figures of Omission ellipsis zeugma scesis onamaton anapodoton

omission of a word


And he to England shall along with you.--Hamlet, 3.3.1 How Tarquin wronged me, I Collatine.---The Rape of Lucrece, 819 A maid in conversation chaste, in speech mild, in countenance cheerful, in behavior modest ...[etc.]--The Garden of Eloquence Haply you shall not see me more; or if,/ A mangled Shadow.---Antony and Cleopatra, 4.2.26. He said you were, I dare not tell you plaine:/ For words once out, never returne againe.---The Arte of English Poesie, 139 I will make no mention of his drunken banquets nightly, and his watching with bawds, dicers, whore masters. I will not name his losses, his luxurity, and staining of his honesty.---The Garden of Eloquence, 131

an ellipsis of a verb, in which one verb is used to govern several clauses omission of the verb of a sentence

omission of a clause


stopping a sentence in midcourse so that the statement is unfinished When the orator feigneth and maketh as though he would say nothing in some matter, when, notwithstanding he speaketh most of all, or when he saith something: in saying he will not say it.---The Garden of Eloquence, 130


Figures of Repetition (words) epizeuxis

emphatic repetition of a word with no other words between repetition of the same word or root in different grammatical functions or forms repetition of a word, but in two different meanings repetition of a word at the beginning of a clause, line, or sentence repetition of a word at the end of a clause, line, or sentence repetition of both beginnings and endings

Reputation, reputation, reputation! O! I have lost my reputation.--Othello, 2.3.264 Disturb his hours of rest with restless trances,/ Afflict him in his bedwith bedrid groans;/ Let there bechance him pitiful mischances,/ To make him moan but pity not his moans.---The Rape of Lucrece, 974-977 Whoever hath her wish, thou has thy Will,/ And Will to boot, andWill in overplus---Shakespeare Sonnets, 135 Mad world! Mad kings! Mad composition!---King John, 2.1.561


antanaclasis anaphora


I'll have my bond!/ Speak not against my bond!/ I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond.---The Merchant of Venice, 3.3.4 Most true that I must fair Fidessa love,/ Most true that fair Fidessa cannot love./ Most true that I do feel the pains of love,/ Most true that I am captive unto love.---Fidessa, 62



repetition of the beginning at the end repetition of the end of a line or clause at the next beginning repeating anadiplosis a heaping together and piling up of many words that have a similar meaning repetition of words, in successive clauses, in reverse grammatical order; a chiasmus on the level of words (AB; BA) the needless repetition of words; a tautology on the level of a phrase

Blood hath bought blood, and blows have answer'd blows:/ Strengthmatch'd with strength, and power confronted power.---King John, 2.1.329-30 For I have loved long, I crave reward/ Reward me not unkindly: think on kindness,/ Kindness becommeth those of high regard/ Regardwith clemency a poor man's blindness---Fidessa, 16 My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,/ And every tonguebrings in a several tale,/ And every talecondemns me for a villain.---Richard III, 5.3.194 But now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confin'd, bound in/ To saucy doubts and fears.---Macbeth, 3.4.24





Thy sea within a puddle's womb is hearsed,/ and not the puddle in thy sea dispersed.---The Rape of Lucrece, 657-658


Sober he seemde, and very sagely sad,/ And to the ground his eyes were lowly bent,/ Simple in shew, and voyde of malice bad...---The Faerie Queene, Book 1, 1.29

Figures of Repetition (clauses and ideas) auxesis isocolon



arrangement of clauses or sentences in ascending order of importance repetition of phrases or clauses of equal length and corresponding grammatical structure needless repetition of the same idea in different words; pleonasm on the level of a sentence or sentences reversal of grammatical structures or ideas in sucessive phrases or clauses, which do not necessarily involve a repetition of words repetition of clauses or idea by negation the replacement of a single word by several which together have the same meaning; a substitution of more words for less

I may, I must, I can, I will, I do/ Leave following that which it is gain to miss.---Astrophil and Stella, 47 I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.---Charles V If you have a friend, keep your friend, for an old friend is to be preferred before a new friend, this I say to you as your friend.---The Garden of Eloquence, 49 But O, what damned minutes tells he o'er/ Who dotes, yet doubts; suspects, yet strongly loves.---Othello, 3.3.169 A bliss in proof; and prov'd, a very woe;/ Before, a joy propos'd; behind a dream.---Shakespeare Sonnets, 129 While memory holds a seat/ In this distracted globe...--Hamlet, 1.4.96



antithesis periphrasis