In this class, our focus will be on reading literature because written literary texts are one place where stories are toldâ€”but there are others, too. To get started, we will open up our â€œliteraryâ€ category to include films and podcasts–two very popular storytelling media.
Our question has a few parts, all aimed at getting us aware of what we think about in terms of some important “literary devices”–plot, character, and setting–when we watch or read or hear a story.
Thinking about how stories work…
When you’re watching a film or reading a novel or listening to a podcast, which of these literary devices usually grabs your attention and holds it?:
Plot – “What’s going to happen next”;
Character – “Who are these people? Why do they behave and believe the way they do?”
Setting – “What is this place? Why is it important?”
Thinking about the way a story’s parts work together…
How do you join up your observations on plot, character, and setting? In other words, when do you ask questions like these:
“What’s going to happen next? How will the characters react, given what they want to do?”
“Who are these people? What impact are they having on the setting and what impact does the setting have on them?”
“What is this place? How is it significant to these characters?”
Thinking about your recommendation…
What title can you recommend to the rest of the class in terms of a film, novel, story, or podcast that made you think along the lines listed above–where you were in suspense about a great plot or felt a strong tie to a character or thought about the world in which the characters lived?
Thinking about why your recommendation is good…
Last, what is it about your recommended title that got your interest and held it? What would you tell someone else to watch out for?