KOLEC Lesson 26: Basic Elements of any Literary Work

KOLEC Lesson 26: Basic Elements of any Literary Work




In literature, there are main important elements or features of literary works. These features are important features because they are almost applied by any literary writer in creating literary works.



The following are the important elements/features of any literary work:

(1) Plot

This refers to the series of events which form a story. To identify the plot, find the main events in the story, arrange them in chronological order, and then write them out as a brief paragraph.

(2) Conflict

This is a situation in the story where thoughts, ideas, actions, events, decisions, or characters disagree or cause misunderstanding or disagreement.

(3) Characterization

This is the writers process of creating characters in the story. This also involves identifying the characters in a story and analysing their physical, emotional, and psychological traits.

(4) Setting

This is the time, place and social conditions in which a story takes place.

(5) Theme

This is the main idea or ideas in a story. This is also a statement or the basic idea expressed by a work of literature. The theme develops from interplay of characters and plots. A theme may be broken up into several themes of ideas.

(6) Style

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


Almost every literary work includes these six elements of a literary work. There are other elements of literary works, but these are the most essential and they are found in every work of art. 

As you read a story you need to remember these features to be able to analyze the story. Pay attention to the events as they are developing within the story. At the end of your reading, write brief notes on each of the features outlined above.

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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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