Literary Analysis

(Character, Setting, Plot, Conflict)

What is it?

Literary Analysis is understanding the techniques like character, setting, plot and conflict that make a literary works effective.


Character- representation of a person, place, or thing performing traditionally human activities or functions. This is like the antagonist or protagonist.


Setting- Where and when the story takes place, there are 3 different types of setting. These include the following:

Neutral setting-the setting is not important, just a place where the action takes place.

Spiritual setting-the values embodied in the physical setting; there is no easy relationship between physical setting and moral values.

Dynamic setting-the setting may take on the role of a character.


Plot-Is a pattern of cause-effect relationships may be created to get a certain effect. Plot imposes form on experience, which is formless. It is also important in expressing the meaning of a work.


Conflict- a struggle between two opposing forces. The conflict may be between two people or it may be between a person and some other force. Every story revolves around conflict. The following are the two different types:

Internal Conflict is a struggle that occurs within the main character. This struggle happens within the character's own mind.

External Conflict is a struggle that the main character has with another character, with society, or with a natural force.

Why do you use/do it?

Character, setting, Conflict and plot are all very different, but in a sense used all for the same reason. The author of the writing uses all of the following to build the story, make it more realistic, descriptive and to help paint a picture in the head of the reader. For example you use character to describe the protagonist or antagonist to make it clear to the reader who they are reading about. We use descriptive things about the place of the story like where and when it help have a good setting as to where the story is taking place. The writer also uses plot to explain to the reader what is going on, to prevent their writing from being unorganized. And like all the other reasons conflict is also used to achieve a greater more interesting story for their reader, the conflict keeps the reader on their toes and wanting to keep reading their writing.

When/how do you use/do it?

Character- Is used when the author is talking/describing about any character in the writing, big or small. This includes when talking about the antagonist or the protagonist. You use it by placing descriptive adjectives in from of the person/thing you are talking about.


Plot- Plot is used pretty much anytime you write something, without plot there is no form or outline to the writing. You create plot by carefully choosing the word you use when you include things, making sure it follows the following rules

Plausibility: the story should be convincing on its own terms, but not necessarily realistic.

Element of surprise should be present.

Logical: events should be believable in their relationships to one another.


Setting- Is used anytime you write something because along with plot, without it your story will not hook the reader or make sense. You create setting by adding descriptive words about the place or time that your story is taking place at.


Conflict- Conflict is used to help create a climax in the plot of the story and to keep the reader hooked. Creating conflict is easy when you have a protagonist because any antagonist that dislikes the main character can easily be set up to get in some sort of argument, battle or disagreement.