Elements of the Short Story

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					Elements of the
    Short Story

           ENG 1D0
The Short Story

    Generally defined as a relatively brief
     fictional narrative in prose
    The essential elements:
     – Plot (What)
     – Setting (When, Where)
     – Character (Who)
     – Theme (Why)
     – Point of View (How)
Structure of the Short Story (Plot)

    Introduction (or Exposition)
    Rising Action
    Climax
    Falling Action
    Conclusion (or Resolution;
Structure of the Short Story (Plot)
    The exposition – sets up the story by
     introducing the main characters, the setting,
     and the problem to be solved.
    The rising action – is the main part of the
     story where the fully problem develops. A
     number of events are involved that will lead to
     the climax.
    The climax – is the highest point of the story
     where the most exciting events occur.
    The falling action – follows the climax and
     contain the events that bring the story towards
     the conclusion
    The resolution – is the end of the story when
     all of the problems are solved

 The place and time in which the action of a
  story takes place.

    The plot can only exist with character(s).
    The main character is placed in a situation
     that contains a problem he must
     overcome: therefore, conflict exists.
    Most stories also have minor characters
     who either help or hinder the main
     character's attempt to solve his problem.
    When examining character, we must
     always look at his motivation. What makes
     him behave this way?

    Characteristics: internal qualities
     about a person that does not readily

    Examples: Human qualities such as
     bravery, jealousy, cool-headedness
     in emergencies, leadership,
     cowardice, gentleness, cruelty

    Characterization: the portrayal of
     both the physical appearance and
     the inner qualities of a person
    The author may describe a character
     by having him or her talk or act a
     certain way, or by having other
     characters say what they think of him
     or her

    Antagonist: The character of force in
     conflict with the protagonist of a

    Protagonist: The character who
     takes the leading part in a novel. The
     story is usually told from this
     person’s point of view.

   An observation of life which serves as
    the controlling idea in a piece of
   Represents a major concept in the story,
    or what the protagonist discovers about
    themselves and life in general.
   Common examples of theme include
    loneliness, betrayal, family, revenge,
    destiny, forgiveness, morality, etc.

   The difference between Theme and
    – Plot is usually made up by the writer to
      illustrate the theme. A story may seem
      on the surface to be a struggle between
      a boy and his uncle over a dog.
      However, it may really raise the
      question of what is valuable in life, or
      which of the two different attitudes is
      more valuable. This is its theme.
Point of View

    Narration is the telling of an event or
     series of events. Narration is used in
     all types of writing including narrative
     (short stories, novels, etc.), plays,
     and poetry.

    Narrator is the person or character
     telling a story.
Point of View

    Point of View refers to the position from
     which the events of a story are presented
     to us, as the reader.

    Narrative Point of View:
     – First Person = Main Character (“I”)
     – Second Person = Secondary Character
     – Third Person = Omniscient Narrator (the
     – Third Person Limited = Shifting Points of View
Point of View

    First Person means the story is told
     through one of the character’s eyes
     and the events are coloured through
     that character’s experience.
Point of View

    Second Person means that the
     protagonist or another main character in
     the story is referred to as “you”.
    Essentially, the narrator puts the reader
     directly into the action of the story.
    Second person narration is not used very
     often, however it can appear within the
     guidebooks, instruction manuals, and the
     Choose Your Own Adventure series of
Point of View

    Third Person means that the story is told
     by an onlooker or narrator.

    Third Person Omniscient means that the
     narrator knows everything about all the
     characters and the events, including their
     inner thoughts and feelings.
    In some instances, some authors use a
     multiple point of view in which we are
     shown the events from the position of two
     or more different characters.
Point of View

    Third Person Limited: the author may
     limit the narration to what can be known,
     seen, thought or judged from a single
     character’s perspective.
    The third person limited narrator can not
     see into the hearts and minds of the
Other Important Terms

    Conflict: a problem or struggle in a story
     that the main character has to solve or

    Conflict is created in five classic ways:
     –   a) human against self;
     –   b) human against human;
     –   c) human against nature;
     –   d) human against society;
     –   e) human against the supernatural.
Other Important Terms

    Dialogue: a conversation between characters.
     In narrative, every time a new character
     speaks a new paragraph is used. Quotation
     marks are used to indicate that dialogue is
     beginning and ending.

    Mood: Also known as atmosphere, is the
     feeling that pervades a piece of writing or
     work of art. Mood is created through
     description and through the plot and setting.

     – Example: the mood of Mary Shelley’s gothic
       novel, Frankenstein, is sombre and dark.
Other Important Terms

    Tone is the atmosphere or mood of a
     piece. It can also refer to the
     author’s attitude or feeling about the
     reader (formal, casual, intimate) and
     his or her subject (light, ironic,
     solemn, sarcastic, sentimental).

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