The Short Story

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The Short Story

  1. 1. THE SHORT STORY ENGLISH ADVANCED LEVEL SEMINAR
  2. 2. WHAT IS A SHORT STORY? <ul><li>a brief fictional prose narrative </li></ul><ul><li>usually presents a single significant episode </li></ul><ul><li>creates a single, dynamic effect </li></ul><ul><li>involves a limited number of characters and situations </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>characters disclosed in action and dramatic encounter but seldom fully developed. </li></ul><ul><li>may concentrate on the creation of mood rather than the telling of a story. </li></ul><ul><li>encourages economy of setting and concise narration. </li></ul><ul><li>usually has between 2,000 and 10,000 words. </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Elements of the Story <ul><li>Setting and atmosphere </li></ul><ul><li>Plot </li></ul><ul><li>Characterization* </li></ul><ul><li>Point of view* </li></ul><ul><li>Stylistic devices* </li></ul><ul><li>Diction and tone* </li></ul><ul><li>Theme </li></ul>
  5. 5. SETTING AND ATMOSPHERE <ul><li>Setting- time and location in which the story takes place  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weather conditions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social conditions </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Questions to ask about setting <ul><li>What is the historic time, place, social background of the story? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the setting influence the plot or characters? </li></ul><ul><li>Would it make any difference if the story or certain scenes were set elsewhere? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there any use of symbolism in the setting? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the most striking scenes? </li></ul><ul><li>How is the setting presented ? </li></ul><ul><li>How much time does the action cover? How does the author treat gaps in time? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Atmosphere <ul><li>Atmosphere is the feeling or mood created by a writer; for example, fear in a ghost story, tension in a mystery story. </li></ul><ul><li>pervading tone of a place or situation </li></ul><ul><li>Question to ask: what kind of atmosphere does the writer create and how does he do it? </li></ul><ul><li>http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/fiction/elements.asp?e=3_ex </li></ul>
  8. 8. PLOT <ul><li>Plot- a series of connected happenings and their result </li></ul><ul><li>Dramatic conflict- the source of the problems which may or may not be overcome </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>External </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Internal </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Man vs. Man </li></ul><ul><li>Man vs. Nature </li></ul><ul><li>Man vs. Society </li></ul><ul><li>Man vs. Himself/Herself </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.dowlingcentral.com/MrsD/quizzes/literature/conflict.htm </li></ul>
  9. 9. Stages of a Plot <ul><li>Introduction of characters (exposition) </li></ul><ul><li>The situation: Initial conflict (complication), </li></ul><ul><li>Rising action – heightened anticipation for the reader </li></ul><ul><li>Climax </li></ul><ul><li>Falling action and Conclusion (resolution/denouement). </li></ul>
  10. 10. Questions to ask about plot <ul><li>Give a brief synopsis of the story. </li></ul><ul><li>Is the plot logical and believable? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a well-defined beginning, middle, and end? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there one central episode, or is the plot more episodic with no one outstanding event? If there is more than one action, is there a main plot with sub-plots? </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Is there a climax or turning point? </li></ul><ul><li>Is curiosity aroused? Does the author make use of dilemmas, irony, foreshadowing, flashbacks? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the conclusion satisfactory? Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the title a good one? Does it help to define the plot? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Questions to ask about conflict <ul><li>What is the conflict the main character faces? </li></ul><ul><li>What steps does he/she/they take to settle that conflict? </li></ul><ul><li>Do the steps cause other conflicts? </li></ul><ul><li>Would you have solved the conflict in the same way? </li></ul>
  13. 13. POINT OF VIEW <ul><li>Who tells the story and how s/he tells it are critical issues that determine the interpretation of the story. </li></ul><ul><li>The teller of a story is the narrator (not to be confused with the author). </li></ul><ul><li>The narrator could be either objective (detached) or subjective (biased). </li></ul>
  14. 14. POINT OF VIEW <ul><li>Omniscient Point of View </li></ul><ul><ul><li>third person, assumes complete knowledge of the characters’ actions and thoughts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>moves at will from one place to another, one time to another, one character to another </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>speaks his or her own views directly to the reader </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Third Person Limited Omniscient Point of View </li></ul><ul><ul><li>third person, reveals thoughts of a few or only one character. It may be a main or secondary character. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>First Person Point of View : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>author disappears into one of the characters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>character may be either a main or minor/peripheral character </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“central consciousness” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>narration is restricted to what one character says he or she observes. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Objective Point of View : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>author disappears into a kind of roving sound camera </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>cannot comment, interpret, or enter a character's mind. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>dramatic point of view </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><ul><li>Does the point of view affect your response to the story, to the characters and the theme? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the narrator reliable? Why or why not? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Would the story change if it were told from a different point of view? How? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.suite101.com/lesson.cfm/17744/1091/2 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>http ://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/fiction/elements.asp?e=4_ex </li></ul>Questions to ask about point of view
  17. 17. DICTION AND TONE <ul><li>Diction-word choice and order </li></ul><ul><li>Types of diction </li></ul><ul><li>-low or informal (slang, dialect, jargon) </li></ul><ul><li>example: threads </li></ul><ul><li>-middle (common, familiar, colloquial) </li></ul><ul><li>example: clothes </li></ul><ul><li>-elevated or formal (sophisticated, pretentious) </li></ul><ul><li>example: apparel </li></ul><ul><li>-denotation/connotation </li></ul><ul><li>-concrete/abstract </li></ul><ul><li>-complicated/simple </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Tone- the attitude a writer takes towards a subject, character or event or character, the emotional aspect of the story. </li></ul><ul><li>List of words to describe tone: </li></ul><ul><li>http://home.earthlink.net/~too.teacher/id56.html </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Questions to ask about diction: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What highly connotative words does the writer choose? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the essay's diction elevated, vulgar, simple, obscure? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does the writer's diction contribute to the theme and tone of the essay? </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Questions to ask about tone: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How does the author’s use of words, imagery, or details such as gestures or allusions reveal the author’s attitude toward a character or event in the story? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What words best describe the author’s attitude toward this subject, character, or event? </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. OTHER STYLISTIC DEVICES <ul><li>Stream of consciousness </li></ul><ul><li>Figurative language </li></ul><ul><li>Symbolism and allegory </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue/narration/description </li></ul><ul><li>Length and structure of sentences </li></ul>
  22. 22. Other questions to ask <ul><li>Is symbolism important? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there any flash backs, or is the story's time element chronological? </li></ul><ul><li>Was exaggeration used in the story and why? </li></ul><ul><li>Was the ending foreshadowed and consistent? </li></ul><ul><li>How does the author use dialogue? </li></ul><ul><li>Is humor used? How is it used? </li></ul>
  23. 23. CHARACTERIZATION <ul><li>Characterization -method used by a writer to develop a character. The method includes: </li></ul><ul><li>showing the character's appearance. </li></ul><ul><li>displaying the character's actions. </li></ul><ul><li>revealing the character's thoughts. </li></ul><ul><li>letting the character speak. </li></ul><ul><li>getting the reactions of others. </li></ul><ul><li>giving the narrator’s own opinion (overt or implied). </li></ul>
  24. 24. Getting to know the characters <ul><li>Be alert to characters in the same way you are when you meet someone. </li></ul><ul><li>Observe their actions. </li></ul><ul><li>Listen closely to what they say and how they say it. </li></ul><ul><li>Notice how they relate to other characters and how other characters respond to them. </li></ul><ul><li>Look for clues as to their purpose and significance in the story. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Analyzing characters <ul><li>Characters -major or minor, and static (unchanging) or dynamic (changing). </li></ul><ul><li>Protagonist—the leading character </li></ul><ul><li>Antagonist—the force acting against the main character </li></ul><ul><li>Flat character—a one-dimensional representation, a stereotype </li></ul><ul><li>Round character—a multi-dimensional representation </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamic character—one that changes or grows from beginning to end </li></ul><ul><li>Static character—one that never changes or grows from beginning to end </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>The characters can also be: </li></ul><ul><li>symbolic </li></ul><ul><li>satirical </li></ul><ul><li>stock </li></ul><ul><li>realistic </li></ul><ul><li>exaggerated </li></ul>
  27. 27. List of Character Traits <ul><li>http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/schools/beverlyfarmses/tools/character_traits.htm </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.teachervision.fen.com/writing/literary-techniques/2669.html </li></ul>
  28. 28. Questions to ask about characters <ul><li>Can you sum up the appearance and important characteristics of each major character? </li></ul><ul><li>Which characters change during the story? Are the changes consistent and sufficiently motivated? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there marked similarities or contrasts among characters? </li></ul><ul><li>Which characters are distinct individuals (round characters)? Are there any types (flat characters)? </li></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>Does every character have a function? Are any minor characters foils, or are they interesting in themselves? </li></ul><ul><li>How are the main characters presented? Description by author? Through their own thoughts and acting? Through comments of others? </li></ul><ul><li>http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/fiction/elements.asp?e=2_ex </li></ul>
  30. 30. Theme <ul><li>the controlling idea or central insight, the author's main idea that he is trying to convey.  </li></ul><ul><li>often related to life, death, love, friendship, family, and courage. </li></ul><ul><li>must be extracted from the characters, action, and setting that make up the story </li></ul>
  31. 31. WEB SITES <ul><li>http://www.newi.ac.uk/englishresources/workunits/ks3/genre/shortstory.html </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.coe.uga.edu/epltt/SStoryAnaSheet.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.qcc.mass.edu/booth/102/storyqu.html </li></ul>

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