SHORT STORY ELEMENTSA short story is a work of ﬁction that can be read in one sitting.
PLOTPlot is the action or sequence of events in a literary work. It is a series ofrelated events that build upon one another.Plots may be simple or complex, loosely constructed or close-knit.Plot includes the following:whatever the characters dowhatever the characters saywhatever the characters thinkwhatever happens to the characterswhatever the characters cause to happen to others
There are ﬁve basic elements to the plot: exposition rising action climax falling action Climax resolution tion( Falli ction s) plica s) & ﬂict( ng A ng A Com Con ction Risi Exposition Resolution (Denouement)
Exposition-gives the background of the storyRising Action-introduces complications; buildssuspenseClimax- the turning point of the story,suspense reaches its peakFalling Action and Resolution-resolves theconﬂict, usually ties up loose ends
The plot of a short storycenters around conﬂict. Conﬂict is a strugglebetween opposing forces.Complications build the reader’s excitement.
A conﬂict is the struggle between twoopposing forces or characters in a story that triggers action. Conﬂict can be internal or external. Internal Conﬂict = Man vs. Self This is the conﬂict that takes place within an individual (an inner battle of conscience)
External Conﬂict: This is an individual’s struggle against somethingoutside of themselves. There are ﬁve basic types of external conﬂict… 1) man vs. man (or group of people) 2) man vs. society 3) man vs. nature/animal 4) man vs. supernatural 5) man vs. fate or destiny Conﬂicts are also known as complications.When you read, keep inmind that there may be a single conﬂict that is uncomplicated or easy to recognize in the story or there may be several, more subtle conﬂicts involved.
CLIMAXThis is the point of greatest intensity, interest, or suspense in a narrativewhich will somehow determine the outcome of the story. In drama, the climax is also identiﬁed with the terms crisis and/or turning point. It’s the point of the story that “changes everything.”
FALLING ACTIONThis is the part of the story that shows the “working out” of the action that occurred during the story’s climax. (Certain issues/ happenings must be resolved[worked out] to reach a resolution).
RESOLUTION The resolution is also called the denouement. This is the portion of the story where the problem is somehow resolved. It follows after the climax andfalling action and is intended to bring the story to a satisfactory end/close.
SETTING This is the time and place of the action of a story. Setting can be of great importance in establishing not only the physical background, but also in creating the atmosphere/ mood of the story (tension, suspense, peacefulness, etc.)Setting can include time (minute/hour, year, month, decade, etc.), weather (season, literal weather, etc.), places (planets, countries, cities, buildings, homes, stores, etc.) or any other thing that helps set the background.
CHARACTERIZATION This is the personality a character displays as well as the means by which an author reveals that personality.A storyteller generally develops a character through indirect methods of characterization (the author allows reader to draw his or her own conclusions). Storyteller/Author does this… by showing a character acting or speaking by giving a physical description of the character by revealing the character’s thoughts by revealing what others think of or say about the character
Stories often include a protagonist and an antagonist.PROTAGONIST: This is the chief character in a work on whom our interest centers. This term is preferable over the terms hero or heroine because a protagonist can sometimes include characters who might be, for example, villainous or weak (but characters whom we are stillinterested in or concerned about regardless of their ﬂaws in character). ANTAGONIST: This is the character or force which opposes(literally “wrestles”) the main character; therefore, if the protagonist is pitted against an important opponent, that opponent is called the antagonist.
POINT OF VIEW This is the angle or position from which the story is told. There aretwo basic points of view for storytelling: the ﬁrst-person point of view and the third-person point of view.FIRST-PERSON: Through this view, the story is told by one of the characters in his or her own words by using “I.” First-person point of view is always considered to be a limited point of view since he reader is told only what one speciﬁc character knows and observes.
THIRD-PERSON: Through this view, the story is toldby someone outside of the story itself by using “he” or“she.” The third-person narrator may be working froman omniscient view or a limited omniscient view.OMNISCIENT: This narrator is an all-knowingobserver who can describe all the characters’ actions,thoughts, and feelings.LIMITED OMNISCIENT: This is a storyteller whoshares the thoughts and feelings of only one particularcharacter or a select group of characters (clearly lackingor failing to share information about other characters).
THEMEThis is the main idea or the basic meaning of a literary work. It is a statement about life…speciﬁcally “the human condition”. Themes are UNIVERSAL truths about life.Because they are universal, they stand the test of time, and themes are repeatedover-and-over in books, movies, songs, etc. Then they become what’s called a motif. Theme is rarely a moral/lesson (it is usually just a statement about life that we know/accept to be true).Ex:Pride and Prejudice. A theme from that book is not to judge people before you get to know them-- dont have prejudices. In the Hobbit... one theme is that even a small person can make a difference.
Theme can be expressed directly, but more often, theme is implicit(this is…it is implied and must be dug out and thought about).A theme should not be expressed as a single word; rather, it shouldbe expressed as a thematic phrase or sentence.In other words, never say the theme of a story is LOVE! Be sureyour thematic phrase or sentence answers…WHAT ABOUT LOVE?Remember, themes are commentaries on life (the “humancondition”) that we all know and accept as truth to some degree(“universal truths”) .Some example: all children will experience a loss of innocence…death will come to us all…greed often guides human desires…evilexists in the word without explanation…the bond of the family is astrong one…all people have prejudices…etc.
MOODMood is the feeling a text arouses and creates in the reader/ audience(such as happiness, anger, sadness, depression, joy, etc.). It is the attitudeof the audience/reader toward the subject matter he or she is reading. TONETone is the overall feeling, or effect, created by a writer’s use ofwords. Tone reveals the author’s attitude toward his own subjectmatter and the audience.So…mood is the attitude of the audience/reader toward theparticular subject matter he or she is reading AND toneis the author’s apparent attitude toward his own subjectmatter and/or the audience
IRONYIrony is a contrast ordiscrepancy between what isstated and what is really meant(reality and appearance), orbetween what is expected tohappen and what actually doeshappen. There are three kindsof irony: verbal ironydramatic ironysituational irony
VERBAL IRONYA writer/speaker saysone thing and meanssomething entirelydifferent. (Ex. Afterwalking out into therainstorm without herumbrella, the girl says,“Well isn’t this just abeautiful day!?”)
DRAMATIC IRONYA reader or an audience perceivessomething that a character in the storyor play does not know. The character iscompletely unaware of something thatthe reader is aware of. The audience isaware of the character’s mistakes."In Theres Something About Mary(1998), [when] Ted thinks hes beenarrested for picking up a hitchhiker whilethe audience knows hes beingquestioned by police about a murder,otherwise innocuous lines he delivers,such as Ive done it several times beforeand Its no big deal, generate laughter."
IRONY OF SITUATION A writer shows a discrepancy (great difference) between the expected result of a particular action and the actual result. Examples: a man who takes a step aside in order to avoid getting sprinkled by a wet dog, and falls into a swimming pool.If the president of Microsoft, Bill Gates, were to win a contest whose grand prizewas a computer system, the irony would be situational because such a circumstance would appear ridiculous or "funny" for a number of reasons. Bill Gates doesntneed a computer, he runs the worlds largest software company, and hes ﬁlthy rich,so winning a computer seems silly and "ironic". This list of half-justiﬁed reasons for the oddness of the situation could go on and on but on a very basic level of reasoning all these reasons does really adds up.
SYMBOLISMA symbol is something (such as an object, person,situation, or action), in a literary work which maintains itsown meaning while at the same time representingsomething broader than itself. When a symbol is used inwriting, its “double nature” can make it very complex andsometimes difﬁcult to recognize. There are many symbols that are used over and over again.! the rose ! = ! love! spring ! = ! rebirth! dove !! = ! peace! ﬂag ! ! = ! patriotism, honor