Planning your essay explaining purpose using the five generic elements of a novel

Topic: In writing an historical fiction, an author's purpose can shape his or her treatment of plot, character, theme, setting and style of writing. In your reading of Cue for Treason have you found this occurs? How?


State my thesis: Cue for Treason is more than an entertainment. Written in pre-World War II England, it builds up morale, features a patriotic hero and celebrates the language and culture of the greatest age of England's history.

Plot Purpose shapes the storyline (from farmhouse to throneroom)

  • picaresque journey across many levels of society, a holistic view of the times,
  • an easy read story, a gripping tale, history as theatre of heroism (England needs patriotic heroes to overcome forces of intrigue, corruption and darknesss
  • happy ending, high morale, a relief - England can be saved (optimism, and hope)

Character: Purpose shapes selection and presentation of characters

  • chief character choice: teenagers (target audience), naive, fearless, resourceful, reckless, adventurous, patriotic
  • character development: twists and turns, blood history, intrigue, Kit and Peter's secret fears, double act, double identity
  • character treatment: point of view, some authorial overwriting, remarkable coincidences, escapades, luck, simple one dimensional

Setting Purpose shapes presentation and selection of settings

  • exact locations in OUR beautiful countryside
  • many and various settings - a whole nation, Lonsdale, Desmonds, Wales, Globe, Greenwich, London.
  • snapshot of Elizabethan England: life, fun, sorrows, economy, weather, culture, Renaissance optimism

Style: Purpose shapes style of writing:

  • prose language, abundant cultural and geographical references, use of dialogue
  • easier language, strong imagery, tension, suspense, coincidence, surprises, realism

Theme reveals his purpose

  • ultimate act of loyalty and patriotism of even ordinary people (Blitz, Hitler invasion by sea, David and Goliath dimensions
  • our language, history, cultural inheritance, traditions, democracy, religion come from the brave acts of forefathers and will be saved by us today if we also act like Peter did
  • evil comes in many forms: greed of Philip Morton, corrupt Magistrate Armitage, assassination conspirators, theft of the script, good people are often tricked, evil forces lurk everywhere.

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Page designed and maintained by the author G. Smith in Brisbane Australia 9 April 2002, to www again 18/12/2007.