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Elements of the Short Story
Transcript of Elements of the Short Story
Characters & Characterization
Setting can be broken into FOUR different aspects:
Elements of the Short Story
Protagonist - the main character of the story.
Antagonist - this character(s) opposes the protagonist.
Round - a fully developed character who is complex and has many characteristics.
Flat - a character who lacks development, complexity, and only has a few traits.
Static - a character who does not change over the course of a story.
Dynamic - a character who undergoes a permanent change in their personality or outlook.
Characters are built and defined by five different attributes:
Effect on Others
This is known as 'characterization'.
Theme: The topic or subject of a story, which the author explores over the course of the story.
Where the events of the story occur and where characters live/interact.
Terrain: mountain, forest, canyon, etc.
When the story takes place.
Time of day
The type of weather that is occurring around the characters.
Social Setting/Cultural Context
Aspects that deal with the human environment among which the events occur.
Media - Music, movies, television, etc.
Apply Your Knowledge
Observe and analyze the following pictures. Identify as many characteristics of the setting as you possible can and write them down on a piece of paper. Make conclusions based on information in the photo.
The plot is the planned sequence of events of a story, which form a beginning, middle, and end.
Plot is usually broken down into the following SIX components:
Types of Conflict
There are SIX kinds of conflict:
Character vs. Society
Character vs. Self
Character vs. Character
Character vs. Nature
Character vs. Technology
Character vs. Supernatural
These conflicts can also be broken down as INTERNAL conflicts and EXTERNAL conflicts
Atmosphere (Mood) refers to the feeling, emotion, or mood a writer creates in a reader through their tone and style of writing.
It can be created by:
descriptions of the setting or objects within the setting
in the appearance or feelings of characters
actions that take place in the story
Word choice and sentence structure are crucial in creating an appropriate and effective atmosphere.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way."
-Charles Dickens, 'A Tale of Two Cities'
The way the author expresses him/herself and conveys his/her ideas.
Style is very personal and is broken into many different components.
II. Imagery - Sensuous Language
I. Point of View
First Person Perspective
Third Person Perspective
Told from the perspective of a character participating in the action of the story.
May be the protagonist or a secondary character.
Pronouns used include: I, me, mine, we, us, etc.
Told from the perspective of somebody not directly involved in the action of the story.
Pronouns used include: He, she, they, it, his, her, their, etc.
Language that appeals to the five senses.
Sight - That tiger looks more ferocious than Mr. Ryan without coffee.
Sound - The teacher sounds unbelievably angry.
Touch - The sand felt wet and coarse under my feet.
Taste - The candy had a bitter taste when I popped it in my mouth.
Smell - The scent of boys locker room nearly made me faint!
II. Imagery - Figurative Language
Figurative language refers to words and phrases that have a meaning other than their ordinary or literal meaning.
Symbolism is the use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities by giving them symbolic meanings that are different from their literal sense.
Symbolism can take many forms. It can be shown as:
An object (ex. a chain representing imprisonment)
An image (ex. the image for biohazard)
An action (ex. a smile may stand for friendship)
Diction refers to the vocabulary best suited for the type of writing piece.
Vocabulary can range from very form to very casual dependent on text in question.
Formal Diction (essay, article) - Ex. They are not angry.
Casual Diction (exposition of a short story) - Ex. They aren't mad.
Slang (dialogue, first person narration) - Ex. They ain't ticked off.
For the following examples, identify whether it is formal, casual, or slang.
Let’s go get some dinner.
It is vital to understand the text one reads.
Computers are a major pain in the neck.
The Mona Lisa looks weird from up close.
Pickett’s charge at the Battle of Gettysburg was surely an awe-inspiring sight.
Kelvin drove his slick ride to school this AM.
The use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning
Verbal Irony: The use of words to mean something different from what is actually said.
For example: "I really appreciate the 10 000 word essay I have to write over summer break..."
Situational Irony: When there is a difference between what is expected to happen and what actually happens.
Ex. A fire truck that is on fire.
Dramatic Irony: In a play, movie, TV show, book, etc., the audience is aware of something that the characters do not know.
Ex. In a police show, an officer is friends with the criminal that he is pursuing but doesn't know it.