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Elements of the Short Story

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John Guilford

on 9 October 2013

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Transcript of Elements of the Short Story

Elements of the Short Story
Character
Persons in a work of fiction

Plot
How the author arranges events to develop his basic idea

The sequence of events in a story or play 
A planned, logical series of events having a beginning, middle, and end
Short stories
usually have
one plot
so it can be read in one sitting.
There are
five
essential
parts
of
plot
.


Setting
The stage upon which the action of the story takes place. The setting is to a story just as the background is to a painting.

It can include the time, place and period in which the action takes place.

The 5 Major Elements of Short Story

Character
Plot
Setting
Point of View (POV)
Theme


Protagonist
The hero of the story who is faced with a conflict
Main Character -
the person around all of the conflict revolves.

And this main character usually is the...


There are different kinds of characters!
Antagonist
the person or thing that causes the conflict for the protagonist
Characters MAY Change
Characters DEVELOP...sometimes...
They make a change
(physically or mentally)
from the beginning of the story to when the story ends.


Both the Hero (protagonist)
AND
the Villain (antagonist)
Dynamic
or
Round
Characters
This is the label given
to a character
who changes in
personality or attitude.
Static
or
Flat
Characters
This is the label given to characters who remain the same.

They are the stereotypical characters like
the stupid drunk
the blonde cheerleader
or the jock athlete.


FYI...
Any Character in a story
can DEVELOP (change)--
not just
the protagonist
and
the antagonist.


It's just that in a short story there are fewer characters, so the person developing or changing is the protagonist--too many more would be confusing.
So how do we tell if a character develops or not?
Through CAREFUL ANALYSIS!

There are 4
methods

of
analyzing
characters...
"Criminal Minds" Style.
What is the character's...
Motivation:
what motivates the character to cause his/her actions?

Behavior:
what are the actions of the character and why is he/she behaving this way?

AND...
Consequences:
what are the results of his/her actions?

Responsibilities:
what moral, legal, or mental accountability does the character have?

Exposition
the beginning stage where the reader is:
a. given the setting of the story

b. introduced to the principal characters and their relationships to each other

c. given information about the events that existed before the story actually begins.

d. given some information about the conflict in the story

the series of mini-conflicts or complications in the story that lead to the most
dramatic conflict
or
climax
in the story.
Rising Action
Plot Line
1.) Alfred is caught stealing items from work.

2.) Mr. Carr tells Alfred that he is considering calling the police, but instead he calls Alfred's Mom.

3.) Alfred sees his mother reacts differently than he thought so he is scared.

4.) Alfred gets scolded on walk home and sees his
Mom now act angry...not like she did at store.

1
2
3
4
"All the Years
of Her Life"
Climax
the turning point or
emotional high point in the story
for the character,
not the reader

Climax =
In the kitchen when Alfred sees his mother "eagerly" take a drink from the cup
and then "straighten up in relief",
he saw that his mother was old.

"All the Years of Her Life"
Falling Action
the events that lead to the resolution
"All the Years of Her Life"
Alfred watched his mother tremble as she sipped that tea, and he realized that this is how she coped when he got in trouble and when his siblings had mis-treated his mother before now. It's how she felt in the drug store, on the walk home and now at home.
Resolution
The FINAL stage

The outcome of the conflict or the resolution of the problem

The outcome of the resolution will express the general theme of the story
.

"All the Years of Her Life"
"He knew all the years of her life by the way her hand trembled as she raised the cup to her lips."

"...at that moment his youth seemed to be over... it was the first time he had looked upon his mother."
Setting provides the reader with...
tone:
the author’s attitude toward his/her material

atmosphere:
the general feeling or mood set by the author

Point of View
It is the perspective from which the story is told.

It is the person telling the story.
Conflict
the struggle between opposing forces

There are 2 Types of conflict

External
A struggle with a force outside one's self
.


Internal
A struggle within one's self; a person must make some decision, overcome pain, quiet their temper, resist an urge, etc.

Beneath these,
there are
5 Kinds

5 Types of Conflict

Man vs. Man
external struggle between two or more individuals

Man vs. Self
internal struggle concerning emotion and decision

Man vs. Nature
external struggle between man and an element of nature

Man vs. Society
external struggles against ideas, practices, or customs of other people.

Man vs. God/Fate
external struggles or circumstances of his/her
life outside his/her control

These
Conflicts
keep the plot moving or
rising up and up
Take a look at how these
conflicts
help move the action
up, up, up
towards the
climax
of "All the Years of Her Life"
Man vs Man
Man vs. Man
Man vs Self
Man vs Man (woman)
Man vs. Self
Man vs. Self
Man vs. Self
3rd Person
Omniscient
Point of View

An outsider looking inside at the action

The narrator uses "he" and "she" and is telling the story, sharing with us
all thoughts
from
all characters
.
3rd Person
Limited Omniscient
Point of View
Again, told from the viewpoint of a character outside the story
OR
someone who is there inside the story but not seen.

can share with us
ONLY
the
thoughts
of
one character
.


First Person

Story is told from point of view of
one
of the characters
in the story
who uses the
first person pronoun “I.”

This person can be the
protagonist
or
someone else
in close contact with the protagonist.
The difference...
Third-person limited
differs from first-person
because the
author's voice
,
not the character's voice,
is what you hear
in the descriptive passages.
Theme
How to identify
POV
When the narrator is a character in the story ask:

Does the main character or other character
in
the story
tell the story?
First Person POV

Does someone
outside
the story tell the story sharing with us every thought of every character?
3rd Person Omnicient POV

Does someone
outside
the story tell the story sharing with us every thought of
1
character?
3rd Person
Limited
POV


is the
controlling idea
or
central insight
is the
author's underlying meaning
or main idea that he is trying to convey
may be the
author's
thoughts about a topic or
view of human nature

Theme
IS NOT
• expressed in a single word
• the purpose of a work
• the moral
• the conflict

Identifying Theme

Hey...but before choose the theme, you better have

1st-- identified the story’s plot,

2nd--analyzed the story's use of characterization, and

3rd--found and the primary conflict
(
climax
) in the story.

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