Short Story Terms

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Short Story Terms and Plot Devices adapted from Macon County Schools website

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Short Story Terms

  1. 1. Short Story Terms
  2. 2. What is a Short Story? <ul><li>A short story is : a brief work of fiction where, usually, the main character (protagonist) faces a conflict that is worked out in the plot of the story </li></ul>
  3. 3. Character <ul><li>Character – a person in a story, poem or play. </li></ul><ul><li>Types of Characters: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Round- fully developed, has many different character traits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flat- stereotyped, one-dimensional, few traits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Static – Does not change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dynamic – Changes as a result of the story's events </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Characterization <ul><li>How the author develops the characters, especially the main character. </li></ul><ul><li>This is done through: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>what the character does or says </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>what others say of and to the character </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>author’s word choice in descriptive passages </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Types of Characterization <ul><li>Direct characterization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The author directly states what the character’s personality is like. Example: cruel, kind </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Indirect characterization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Showing a character’s personality through his/her actions, thoughts, feelings, words, appearance or other character’s observations or reactions </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Protagonist <ul><li>Main character of the story that changes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(death is not a change) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the most important character </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>changes and grows because of experiences in the story </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Antagonist <ul><li>A major character who opposes the protagonist </li></ul><ul><li>Is not always a “bad guy” </li></ul><ul><li>Types of antagonists: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>nature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>society </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Conflict <ul><li>A struggle between two opposing forces </li></ul><ul><li>Types </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal – takes place in a character’s own mind </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Person vs. Him(Her)self </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>External – a character struggles against an outside force </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Person vs. Man </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Person vs. Nature </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Person vs. technology, progress </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Person vs. Society </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Person vs. Supernatural </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. What is the Plot? <ul><li>Plot: Series of related events that make up a story. </li></ul><ul><li>Crisis </li></ul>
  10. 10. Setting <ul><li>The time and place of the story’s action </li></ul><ul><li>Consider is this story in the past, present or future? </li></ul><ul><li>Where is story taking place? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Exposition <ul><li>Section that introduces characters, the setting, and conflicts. </li></ul><ul><li>It is all the events that come together before the conflict begins </li></ul><ul><li>This is usually at the start of the story and it provides the set-up for the storyline </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Initiating Incident <ul><li>The event that begins the conflict and kicks off the rising action. </li></ul><ul><li>This occurs when the protagonist is suddenly faced with an out-of-the ordinary event. Without this event the conflict would not have started </li></ul>
  13. 13. Rising Action <ul><li>Consists of a series of events and complications. </li></ul><ul><li>These occur when the main characters take action to resolve their problems and are met with further problems: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fear </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hostility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Threatening situation </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. The Complication (Crisis) <ul><li>“ things get worse” </li></ul><ul><li>The storyline is heading in a series of events that looks like the protagonist will be able to deal with the original conflict when something happens to make things worse </li></ul><ul><li>An event happens that makes the protagonist realize what he/she must do </li></ul>
  15. 15. Climax <ul><li>The turning point in the story for the protagonist: the high point of interest and suspense. </li></ul><ul><li>Crisis (Complication) </li></ul><ul><li>Initiating Incident </li></ul>Rising Action Falling Action Climax
  16. 16. Falling Action <ul><li>All events following the climax in the story leading to the resolution. These events are a result of the action taken at the climax. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Resolution <ul><li>(Denoument) </li></ul><ul><li>Now that the conflict is dealt with – what happens? </li></ul><ul><li>The end of the central conflict: it shows how the situation turns out and ties up loose ends </li></ul>
  18. 18. Point of View <ul><li>Vantage point from which the writer tells the story. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First person- One of the characters is actually telling the story using the pronoun “I” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Third person- Centers on one character’s thoughts and actions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Omniscient- All knowing narrator. Can center on the thoughts any actions of any and all characters. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Theme <ul><li>The central message or insight into life revealed through a literary work. </li></ul><ul><li>The “main idea” of the story </li></ul>
  20. 20. Moral <ul><li>The implied lesson of the story </li></ul><ul><li>What we as readers learn as a result of reading the story </li></ul><ul><li>NOT the same thing as a theme </li></ul>
  21. 21. Flashback <ul><li>The present scene in the story is interrupted to flash backward and tell what happened in an earlier time. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Foreshadowing <ul><li>Clues the writer puts in the story to give the reader a hint of what is to come. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Symbol <ul><li>An object, person, or event that functions as itself, but also stands for something more than itself. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Scales function is to weigh things, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>but they are also a symbol </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>of our justice system. </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Figurative Language <ul><li>Involves some imaginative comparison between two unlike things. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simile – comparing two unlike things using like or as. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ I wandered lonely as a cloud” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Metaphor – comparing two unlike things (not using like or as) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Life is a roller coaster, it has lots of ups and downs. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Figurative Language <ul><li>Personification – Giving human qualities to non-human things. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The wind howled” </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Irony <ul><li>A contrast between expectation and reality </li></ul>
  27. 27. Irony <ul><li>Verbal Irony – saying one thing but meaning something completely different. (sarcasm) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Calling a clumsy basketball player “Michael Jordan” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Situational Irony – A contradiction between what we expect to happen and what really does happen </li></ul><ul><li>Dramatic Irony – occurs when the reader knows something important that the characters in the story do not know. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Allusion <ul><li>Reference to a statement, person, a place, or events from: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>History </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Religion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mythology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Politics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sports </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Suspense <ul><li>Uncertainty or anxiety the reader feels about what is going to happen next in a story. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Imagery <ul><li>Language that appeals to the senses. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Touch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Taste </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sight </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sound </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smell </li></ul></ul>Example: Creating a picture in the readers mind through description

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