Using Examples from Cinderella
Select a children's story such as Cinderella to provide students with examples of literary elements. Almost every student has heard this story, and can identify the literary elements as we discuss them.
Setting: The time and place of the story.
Example: long ago, the palace, the ball, a far away kingdom, the home of Cinderella's step-mother.
Characterization: A person or an animal in a story, a play or other literary work.
Example: Cinderella: loving, kind, works hard, pretty, innocent, hero, cheerful, smart, happy.
Step-mother & step-sisters: jealous, mean, ugly, self-absorbed, villain, lazy, nasty.
Theme: Message about life or human nature communicated by the author through a literary work. Life lesson!
Example: Work hard and good things come. What goes around comes around.
Conflict: A struggle between opposing characters or forces.
Example: Man vs. Man (Cinderella vs. step-mother and step-sisters).
Man vs. Supernatural (Cinderella vs. the stroke of midnight).
Plot: The sequence of events, making up a story.
Exposition: The beginning of the story, introducing characters, setting and main conflict.
Rising Action: The conflict develops and suspense builds.
Climax: The most exciting point in the story.
Resolution: The story concludes and loose ends are tied up.
Example: Exposition: As a child, Cinderella was happy. After her mother died, her father re-married a mean woman with two daughters. The step-mother gave her daughters everything and Cinderella nothing.
Rising Action: A messenger delivers an invitation to the ball. The step-mother tells Cinderella she can go if she finishes her chores. The Fairy Godmother gives Cinderella a dress and coach. Cinderella arrives at the ball and dances with the Prince. On the way out she drops her shoe.
Climax: The Prince finds Cinderella and puts the glass slipper on her foot. It fits!
Resolution: Cinderella and the Prince get married.