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How Plot, Setting And Characters Influence Readers Response Essay, Research Paper
The writer of a fiction text uses plot, setting and characters to create imagery and influence the reader’s response to how the author wishes the reader to perceive a situation. This can be done through many methods, which include detailed descriptions of any settings, detail of weather, characters stereotypical of society and colour association.
In the novel “Lord of the Flies” careful attention is payed to the way the in depth descriptions of the island was used to create imagery and pursuade the readers response. For example on page 14/15, there is much emphasis on the brightness and colour of the island. This influences the reader to think that the island is like a tropical paradise full of joy and happiness.
Characters in fiction texts have characteristics that are described by the author and have certain features that all contribute to the ‘characters profile’. Their profile can be built up using many methods as was done in “Lord of the Flies”. Each of the main characters had a meaning to their name; for example Ralph’s name was derived from the Anglo-Saxan language, meaning ‘counsel’. Jack’s name, Hebrew in origin means ‘one who supplants’, reflecting his use of force. Piggy’s name parallels the wild pigs that are hunted on the island and also reflects his superior intellect. Simon’s name comes from the Hebrew word, which means ‘listener’. Roger’s name, Germanic in origin means ’spear’.
Characters can also represent stereotypes of society from their attitudes and behaviour. In the short story “Weekend” the author presented the characters as stereotypical of society with the female role of doing all the cooking and cleaning and the male role of relaxing and having a good time while telling his wife what and not to do.
Character descriptions are used to give a first and usually last impression of a character. The novel “Lord of the Flies” is a typical example. When Ralph is first mentioned he is described as a big solid boy who is confident when he talks, which indicates the qualities of a leader. As soon as Piggy is introduced he starts suggesting witty ideas that are thrown back in his face, which parallel throughout the novel. Piggy is also described as a fat little boy with asthma and glasses, which indicates straight away that he will be stereotypical of society and be cast away as a nobody. There is significant conflict between Jack and Ralph in the first chapter which also continues to grow throughout the novel. A character profile is used to involve the reader and give a character more depth into their personality thus creating a more intense storyline.
The plot in a fiction text is important in keeping the reader’s attention. The majority of the story builds towards a climax. This climax is where the peak of action, suspense or thrill takes place, which then leads to the resolution of the story. As in “Lord of the Flies” the author continued to increase conflict between the boys until a full-scale war takes place, which is the climax. The building up of conflict keeps the reader interested and draws curiosity and suspense throughout the novel.
Many themes are portrayed in “Lord of the Flies”. These themes are given through thematic devices. An example of a thematic device would be setting and characters, representing aspects of society. The boys represent society from the way they treat Piggy. The upperclass of early England would typically cast a chubby boy with asthma as ‘not stylish’, ‘inappropriate’ and ‘useless’. Themes also play a role in providing the novel with more ‘depth’ and keeping the reader interested.
The most obvious themes is “man’s necessity for civilisation”. Contrary to the belief that man is innocent and society evil, the novel shows that laws and rules, policemen and schools, are necessary to keep the darker side of human nature in line. When these institutions and concepts slip away or are ignored, human beings revert to a more primitive part of their nature. The thematic devices used to portray this theme are the ’shell’ and the ‘laws and rules’ set by Ralph. Once these things were lost, so was the boy’s civilisation.
The weather in “Lord of the Flies” plays a major role in representing the attitudes, behaviour and mood of the boys throughout the novel. The beach during the day is always described as bright and there is little or no conflict and the ocean is always calm. In the more dense parts of the jungle on the island, it is always described as dark and scary. On the night of Simon’s killing, the author describes the night as pitch black and there is great detail of a violent storm raging on the island and the ocean is extremely rough. The weather and ocean symbolise the boy’s anger and hatred.
It is evident that plot, setting and characterisation in fiction texts all have a significant effect on the reader’s response. The reader is made to feel sympathetic towards the characters that are alienated from society, and angry towards those who are mean and violent. The plot has an extremely important role on the reader because it has to maintain their attention and interest. Essentially, plot, setting and characters provide the reader with an image, and their response will be affected depending on how effectively the image is presented.
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