The Words Literary Elements

The Words Literary Elements


A novel

Setting and Context

The actions take place in France, mostly in Paris where the protagonist lived when was a child. It is the beginning of the 20th century.

Narrator and Point of View

It is first-person narration, and the narrator is the author himself – Jean-Paul Sartre

Tone and Mood

The tone and mood of the account are sarcastic and even with notes of anger and hatred. But even these instances help the narrator to show his childhood from the perspective of objectivity.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist is Sartre himself, while the antagonist might be considered his inner selfishness.

Major Conflict

The main conflict stands in the narrator’s attempts to find himself, to find his inner calling.


The climax comes when Sartre started writing himself.


From the very first lines, it is obvious that the entire narration is going to be judgmental.


The importance of love from the side of his mother is understated by Sartre.


The novel is overfilled with allusions. Among these are mentions of writers: Horace, Jules Verne, Gustave Flaubert; musicians: Chopin, Schumann, Franck


The narrator provides many images from his childhood – how he started reading and imagined himself a character from books, and later how he started writing and as well put through himself the emotions and feelings of the characters created by him.





Metonymy and Synecdoche

“In the middle of the meal the head of the house would get up from the table to drive her home” (head of the house is a metonymy for the father of the family, or any other person who is the decision maker of the house)


“literature does not fill one’s belly”

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