General Elements of Literature

General Elements of Literature are listed and explained in this article. We hope you find the article educative and helpful for your research.

General Elements of Literature

Elements of Literature
Elements of Literature – Photo Source:

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For a text or script to be tagged as a literature piece, there are quite a number of features that make up the elements and these features include; language, plot, setting, characterization, and theme.

Elements of Literature 

Here are the Elements of Literature:


Language is the means through which literature is employed. It gives literary work the form of artwork. A lot of literary works and texts all over the world are written in the English language.

The language through which communication is established is the material of literature just as Stone is the material of any sculpture, a book of a library, or sounds of music.

The language of literature or better put, a literary language is quite different from the normal or regular use of the language.

The language of literature is often constituted by figures of speech as well as intentional violations of rules of grammar.

Those who write poems or any other work of literature are often given the liberty to use the language unorthodoxly to violate the rules of grammar.

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This is often the storyline or order of events in a literary work when it has to do with literature. Some works of prose are often written in the form of a simple narrative in which the events are often largely told in chronological order.

In a work of literature that is lengthy, there sometimes exists two plots which are; the main plot and the subplot as in some of Shakespeare’s works.

In such lengthy works, the main plot often involves the major while the subplot usually focuses on the minor characters.

In plots that are well constructed or planned, things do not just happen randomly, they are well planned out and are often interrelated.


The setting of every literature work is the background in space and time in which events in the literature happen. Sometimes, the settings could be realistic or merely fiction.

In the case of short stories, there is usually one general setting with the story unveiled over a period of many years and from various parts of the world.

The literature of social criticism mostly uses settings to further emphasize and add reality to the ideas of the author.

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This has to do with how an author makes the character have a semblance of a person in reality. It is also a way in which a real person is described as though it was fiction.

Characters in literature maybe humans, superhumans, supernatural beings, or even animals depending on what the author is writing about.

Sometimes, objects that have no life are often given the attributes of humanity based upon how the author deems them fit and this happens mostly in children’s fiction.

In the work of literature, the main character is often called the protagonist, while other major characters are called rounded characters, and minor characters are called flat characters.


The theme is often the overall message that the author passes in his work. Depending upon the author’s state of mind, some works of literature often have the theme of conflict while others vary accordingly.

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All of these features make a literary work exciting and enticing. Putting up all of these is sometimes work on its own as an author needs to sit and critically put himself into several conditions before coming out with a perfect work of literature.

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