KOLEC Lesson 29: Title, Setting, Plot, and Style

KOLEC Lesson 29: Title, Setting, Plot, and Style



Title, Setting, Plot, and Style are the elements of form. Title introduces the readers to the heading or topic of the literary work. Setting help the readers to understand where the literary work is set. Plot includes the events of the literary work that are from the set environments. Style is the author's uniqueness which makes his/her work stand out among many works. 



Explanation of these elements of form:

(1) TITLE 

Title refers to the heading of the literary work. The title provides the whole picture of what is conveyed in a particular literary work. 


This is the time and place in which the events of a literary work occur. Apart from physical surroundings or environments, the setting also includes the ideas, customs, values, and beliefs of the people who live there in a particular society. It is any place in which the story of a character takes place. Therefore, the setting of a story includes time (historical period like after or before independence) and place (the area where events take place like Kenya, Tanzania, Manzese, forests and any other larger or minor places. 

(3) PLOT 

This refers to an arrangement or organization of events in a literary work. It is the series of related events that together make up a story. Thus, a story is what happens, and a plot is an action in the story. 

A plot also includes the division of a literary work into sections, parts, chapters, acts, scenes and the events in every division and subdivision. 

A plot helps the readers to reflect and understand the structure and events of the literary work. 

The Plot Structure

According to Freytag, the plot structure has the following stages: 

(1) Exposition. This is the part of the plot that tells how the story begins. 

(2) Rising action. This is the action in the story that leads up to the climax. 

(3) Conflict. This refers to struggles or problems between opposing forces. 

(4) Climax. This is the point of crisis in the plot. It is the reader's point of highest interest. 

(5) Falling action. This is the action in the story after the climax is revealed. 

(6) Resolution. This is the part of the plot that reveals the final outcome. 

(4) STYLE 

This is the way a writer uses words to create literature. It includes choice of words, how these words are structured or arranged, and writers point of view to the application of figurative language.

It is an expressive quality that distinguishes an author's work from the work of another author. It includes the special qualities or styles that distinguish one writer from the others.

Some aspects of style:

Broadly, when we talk of style, we mostly deal with the three aspects: 

(i) Diction. This refers to the choice and arrangement (syntax) of words in a literary work. Diction is especially the use of appropriate words to convey a particular meaning. Good writers choose their words carefully to express their intended meaning precisely. 

(ii) Simplicity or complexity of language. By determining the language used in the literary work, we can determine whether the language used is simple or complex to the readers, appropriate or inappropriate to the intended audience, understandable or not understandable to the audience.

(iii) Other stylistic features like use of jargons, vernaculars, code switching, code mixing, cultures, and others. 


A point of view is a position from which the story's events and details are observed, perceived, and related. It is the speaker, voice, narrator, or persona of a work of art from where we get the story. 

Types of points of view:

There are four (4) points of view in the literature. They are: 

(1) First-person point of view. It is when the story is told by using the pronoun I as if the narrator is a major or minor character in a work of art. Therefore, the reader sees everything from the eyes and experiences of that character. 

(2) Third-person point of view. It is when the narrator stands away from the characters and describes characters and characters' actions by using third personal pronouns such as he, she, it, and they. Thus, the narrator is not a character in the story, but an outside observer. 

(3) Third-person limited point of view. It is when the narrator tells a story by using only one character in the whole work of art. As usual, the narrator is not a character in the book, but he/she tells the story to us (the readers) by relying on the thoughts and views of that single character on the actions of other characters. The whole story is according to how that single character perceives them. 

(4) Third-person omniscient point of view. It is also called the All-knowing point of view. It is when the narrator is not a character, but he/she reports on what several characters are thinking, feeling, and doing. The narrator seems to know everything about the characters of the story that is why; he/she knows even what they think and what they feel even if the narrator is not with them. Thus, the narrator becomes an all-knowing being. 


Narrative technique refers to any narrative method or a storytelling style in which an author's story is told. One narrative technique can cover the whole book or a part of it. 

Types of narrative techniques:

There are almost four (4) known narrative techniques used in literary works. They are: 

(1) Oral traditional narrative style. This refers to the retelling of a story that resembles the traditional way of telling that have beginning styles like: Once upon a time, a long time ago, many years ago, and so on. 

(2) Straight forward narrative technique. It is a narration of a story that relates to what is taking place in the story from the beginning to the end of the story. This method is common in many novels. 

(3) Flashback. It is a narrative technique in which the end or middle of the story is found at the beginning and vice versa. Also, it occurs when a character remembers or describes the things that should have happened at the beginning of a book while he/she is at the middle or end of a story. 

(4) Foreshadowing. It is another narrative technique in which a certain character or characters make predictions of the things that happen later in the events of the book. These characters then are said to have foreshadowed or foretold the things that come to be true at the middle or end of a literary work. 

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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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