Re: The elements of fiction

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johannah rodgers


These are fascinating and really important questions that you pose. Just to clarify, could you let us know more about the Charter’s quote you are referring to, i.e., page number, complete quote, essay title (is it from the introduction or the Elements of Fiction essay?). To respond briefly to some of your other questions: “Can the theme of a story gives you insight to a character’s style or personality?” I’d say absolutely, though the way in which the “dialogue” between character and theme can be complex. Regarding the question of whether there are “endless (possible) themes” to a story, the simple answer is, “yes,” but in practice, which means putting together a close reading of a story and understanding how the elements of fiction relate to one another, I’d say that you will find a select number of dominant and most relevant themes. This is an issue that also comes up at times in relation to character analysis. For example, given that an author can only tell us so much about a character, does this then mean that a reader can make assumptions about the character based on what is not said about him/her. If you’re interested in reading more about these issues, I’d recommend taking a look at specific chapters in Robert Scholes’ book _The Nature of Narrative_, which you can access via the City Tech Library here: