What Are the Four Elements Included in a Narrative?

A narrative includes four elements necessary to drive a story along. Without plot, character, point of view and theme, readers would not empathize with the story or continue reading it. Readers need characters they care about and a plot to drive them forward. When a theme and a point of view create the perfect balance with character and plot, a good story worth reading is at hand.


The author arranges events in a specific order to progress the story along. The sequence of events is called the plot -- one of the basic elements of a narrative. The plot either makes or breaks a good story. The plot includes five essential parts: the introduction; the rising action; the climax; the falling action and the denouement. A short story usually has only one plot, allowing it to be read in only one setting. However, novels can have more than one plot. The plot or the basic conflict is usually man versus man, man versus nature, man versus self or man versus man's work, with man being a generic term meaning men and women alike.


The theme of a story brings all the elements of the story together. The theme is the central idea, the controlling insight or the central focal point. This is the author's underlying message guiding the story. Themes are often alluded to in titles, similes, metaphors and irony within a story. The theme of the story must feel true to the reader.


Characters must change and overcome obstacles or faults within a story. Characters shouldn't be generic or cardboard cutouts, but well-rounded people that the reader can relate to. Readers should have a clear picture in their mind of what a character looks like, dreams of, walks like, talks like and enjoys eating, to name a few examples. Basically, characters must seem real.

Point of View

Point of view is the angle or viewpoint from which a story is told. An omniscient point of view is the viewpoint from which everything is known. The author has free access to the motivations and thoughts of all characters and can tell the story in third person omniscient limited (using pronouns he, she, it, they, etc.) or the author can tell the story in third person omniscient objective, with the reader interpreting all events. First person point of view offers a story told by the protagonist or main character. Innocent eye is a story told through the eyes of a child within a story. Stream of consciousness is point of view within a story told placing the reader inside of the head of one of the characters, knowing their thoughts and motivations.

Cite this Article