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What is a Short Story?


What is a Short Story? The Plot of The Michelle I Know The Michelle I Know is a short story about a girl diagnosed with leukemia who is very unhappy. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: What is a Short Story?

What is a Short Story?
Table of Contents
  • Short Stories for English 102

  • The Conversation of Birds (41)
  • The Three Little Pigs The Real Story
  • On the Sidewalk Bleeding
  • The Michelle I Know (16)
  • A Sound of Thunder
  • Two Kinds (199)
  • Ive Got Gloria (170)
  • 8. The Toll House
  • 9. Shoplifting (Three Tales)
  • 10. The Crystal Stars Have Just begun to Shine
  • 11. Excerpt from Goon Squad (234)
  • 12. Crime Doesnt Pay

What is a Short Story?
  • Part of the beauty of all literature, commented
    novelist and short story writer F. Scott
    Fitzgerald, is that you discover that your
    longings are universal longings, that youre not
    lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.

What is a Short Story?
  • In your notebook, write your own definition of
    what a short story is.
  • Do not write A story that is short! Use what
    you know about short stories in the past.
  • Below your definition, brainstorm about short
    stories any words you have learned connected to
    short stories, titles of stories, authors, etc.
  • Now, lets share.

The Short Story Some Definitions
  • A short story is a packed capsule of life.
  • The short story gives the illusion of life. It
    is a tiny capsule of living, a moment or two in
    the lives of other people.
  • A short story is a story that is under 40,000
    words in length (so, a short story).
  • A short story is a story that can be read in a
    single sitting.
  • but there is much more to the genre called the
    short story!

  • medium an intervening instrument by which
    something is conveyed or accomplished
  • theme The theme of a story represents what the
    protagonist (main character) and/or reader learns
    about life. It is the message that the author
    is sending through the story the story is the
    medium for the message.

  • genre a class or category having a particular
    form, technique, content, etc. E.g. poetry,
    novels, fantasy, science fiction
  • prose the ordinary form of spoken or written
    language, as distinguished from poetry or verse
  • fiction the class of literature comprising
    works of imaginative narration

Besides being shorter, how is a short story
different from a novel?
  • Short stories and novels seem to begin in very
    different ways in my mind. With a novel, the
    main characters come first they grow slowly in
    the imagination until I feel I know them well
    Most short stories Ive written seem to be
    triggered off by some event, either in my own
    life or something Ive observed. The characters
    in a short story seem just as real to me as the
    characters in a novel, but I have not seen them,
    in my mind, in as many situations they are
    visualized more in relation to one main

  • One form is not better than the other. They
    simply do not serve the same function When I
    write a novel, I feel rather like a juggler
    trying to keep a dozen themes spinning up there
    in the air. In my short stories, on the other
    hand, there tends to be one central theme.
  • Margaret Laurence

An Oral Traditionsept 9
  • Short stories date back to oral story-telling
    traditions which originally produced epics such
    as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Oral narratives
    were often told in the form of rhyming to help
    the orator remember the story.
  • Fables tales with a "moral," were invented in
    the 6th century BCE by a Greek slave named Aesop.
    These ancient fables are today known as Aesop's
  • The other ancient form of short story, the
    anecdote, was popular under the Roman Empire.
    Anecdotes functioned as a sort of parable, a
    brief realistic narrative that embodies a point.
  • Some example follow.

  • There was a boy tending the sheep who would
    continually go up to the embankment and shout,
    'Help, there's a wolf!' The farmers would all
    come running only to find out that what the boy
    said was not true. Then one day there really was
    a wolf but when the boy shouted, they didn't
    believe him and no one came to his aid. The whole
    flock was eaten by the wolf. The story shows
    that this is how liars are rewarded even if they
    tell the truth, no one believes them.


The Ant and the Grasshopper
  • In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was
    hopping about, chirping and singing to its
    heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along
    with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to
    the nest. "Why not come and chat with me," said
    the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling
    in that way?" "I am helping to lay up food for
    the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to
    do the same." "Why bother about winter?" said the
    Grasshopper we have got plenty of food at
    present." But the Ant went on its way and
    continued its toil. When the winter came the
    Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of
    hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every
    day corn and grain from the stores they had
    collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper
    knew It is best to prepare for the days of

  • A fable is a succinct story, in prose or verse,
    that features animals, plants, inanimate objects,
    or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized
    (given human qualities), and that illustrates a
    moral lesson (a "moral"), which may at the end be
    expressed explicitly in a pithy maxim.
  • A fable differs from a parable in that the latter
    excludes animals, plants, inanimate objects, and
    forces of nature as actors that assume speech and
    other powers of humankind.
  • Now it is time to write your own! Share in groups.

The Short Story Genre
  • The Short Story
  • The oldest form of literature.
  • Prose fiction.
  • A distinct genre (like poetry, novels, plays).
  • Every word counts! There is a strong focus on
    word choice, because this is how the author
    prunes and polishes the piece to meet his/her

The Short Story Genre
  • Ancient Times
  • The Bible Old Testament 750-350 B.C.E.
  • Middle Ages (800-1400 A.D.)
  • Arabia One Thousand and One Nights by
  • Spain Exemplary Tales by Cervantes
  • England Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
  • but in the Middle Ages, the genre had not taken
    shape as a recognizable form.
  • History of the Short Story Genre

The Short Story Genre
  • The modern short story genre took shape in the
    19th century simultaneously in
  • Germany (Hoffman, Brothers Grimm)
  • Russia (Pushkin, Gogol)
  • France (Balzac, DeMaupassant)
  • U.S.A. (Washington Irving, Edgar Allen Poe)
  • The short story became a favorite form of
    entertainment for the emerging middle class.
  • History of the Short Story Genre

Grammar Break!
  • Noun A word that refers to people, places or
  • Common Noun A noun that refers to a general
    person, place, or thing. (e.g. boy, dog, city,
  • Proper Noun A noun that refers to a specific
    person, place, or thing. Proper nouns are
    essentially nouns with names, and are always
    capitalized. (e.g. Johnny, Spot, Saint John, Cue
    for Treason)

Common and Proper Nouns Exercise
  • Write the following words in your notebook. When
    you do, indicate whether each is a Proper Noun
    (PN) or Common Noun (CN).
  • Begin the word with the proper capital or
    lower-case letter.
  • alex sobeys moncton
  • river easter orange
  • hampton high school cd player tim hortons
  • You have 3 minutes to complete this exercise. I
    will be calling people randomly for answers.

Some other popular short stories
  • Arabia One Thousand and One Nights by
  • Geoffrey Chaucers Canterbury Tales
  • Cervantes, Don Quixote

Arabia One Thousand and One Nights by
  • The best known stories from The Nights include
    "Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp," "Ali Baba and the
    Forty Thieves," and "The Seven Voyages of Sinbad
    the Sailor."

Arabian Nights
  • "Aladdin Saluted Her with Joy", Arabian Nights,
    the illustration, 1928, shows the Chinese-esque
    setting of the original tale.

   Aladdin in the Magic Garden, an illustration
by Max Liebert .
   Aladdin, as seen in the Disney version.
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343 October 25, 1400?)
  • He is an English author, poet, philosopher,
    bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. Although he
    wrote many works, he is best remembered for his
    unfinished frame narrative The Canterbury Tales.
    He is sometimes called the father of English
    literature. His story collection is dated to the
    14th Century.

CervantesOr, The Prince of Wits1547-1616
  • Don Quixote Published in two volumes a decade
    apart, Don Quixote is the most influential work
    of literature to emerge from the Spanish Golden
    Age and perhaps the entire Spanish literary
    canon. As a founding work of modern Western
    literature, it regularly appears at the top of
    lists of the greatest works of fiction ever

History of the Short Storysept 12 Author
Research Project
  • See Handout

The Short Story as Art
  • Purpose and Audience

Artist Medium Receiver (art)
  • The communication model above demonstrates the
    relationship between an artist and the receiver
    of the art.
  • When an artist sets out to create art, she/he
    determines three main things
  • Purpose What am I trying to accomplish?
  • Audience For whom am I creating this art?
  • Medium What art form am I going to use?

  • In terms of a short story, the model looks more
    precisely like this
  • Author Short Story Reader
  • Short stories are not the spontaneous product of
    the natural world the author deliberately brings
    his/her writing talent to bear, in order to bring
    something to the reader (the purpose).

PURPOSE Why Short Stories?
  • There are principally THREE reasons for
    reading/writing short stories
  • To entertain
  • The first purpose of a short story is to enjoy
    it. Authors want you to enjoy a short story (and
    usually to pay money for it).

Why Short Stories?
  • 1. To entertain
  • 2. To teach
  • Often, the author has a particular point of view
    on an issue that he/she wants to share. The
    story is the medium the author uses to convey the
  • This is the stage of analysis at which
    understanding symbol, meaning, and other literary
    devices is important.

Why Short Stories?
  • 1. To entertain
  • 2. To teach
  • 3. To raise questions
  • Often, a specific message from the author is
    not clear other times, there is no message
    from the author per se.
  • Rather, the author might be simply trying to get
    the reader to think about things in a new way, or
    to question things that the reader might have
    already made up his/her mind about.

Why Short Stories?
  • 1. To entertain.
  • 2. To teach.
  • 3. To raise questions.
  • It is important to remember that each short
    story can have two or all three purposes at the
    same time.

The Conversation of Birds
  • Read the short story,
  • The Conversation of Birds.
  • With a partner, discuss
  • What the aim(s) of the author might have been for
    writing the story.
  • What is the theme or message?
  • Write a persuasive paragraph arguing your opinion.

The Conversation of Birds
  • Crossroads 10 pp. 41-45.
  • Complete Responding to the Story b., c., d.,
    and e. Also, write down the definition of simile
    on p. 46, and find 3 examples of similes in the

How to Analyze a Short Story
How to Analyze a Short Story
  • In the study of English as a discipline, you
    must approach texts in a variety of ways.
  • The only way to truly analyze a work of fiction
    is to return to it more than once, with different
    purposes in mind.
  • In a tightly-constructed short story, every
    element and often every word is chosen
  • When you analyze a short story, it is to see the
    authors design. When you can see the authors
    work, it raises the level of enjoyment (from an
    initial knee-jerk reaction to an intellectual

How to Analyze a Short Story
  • First Reading
  • Second Reading
  • Subsequent Readings
  • Read primarily to enjoy.
  • Take notes on anything that seems unusual,
    particularly vivid, jarring, or difficult to
  • Bring your analytical skills to bear. Look for
    literary devices, and think about how they
    operate in the story.

How to Analyze a Short Story
  • Take notes when you read a short story.
  • Remember

Elements of a Short Story
  • Plot, Character, Setting, Atmosphere, and Style

The Five Elements of a Short Story
  1. Plot
  2. Character
  3. Setting
  4. Atmosphere
  5. Style

  • Plot the arrangement of incidents or events in
    a story what happens in the story.
  • Plot line a way of visually demonstrating a
    storys structure by plotting incidents along a
    line plot lines can vary for different forms of

Plot of a Short Story
Plot of a Short Story
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 3
  • crises
  • 2
  • 1

Plot of a Short Story
  1. Exposition (or Opening Situation) The reader is
    informed of the setting and is introduced to the
    main characters.
  2. Inciting Force (or Complication) A conflict is
    usually established between characters. This
    conflict gets things started.
  3. Rising Action The conflict between characters
    develops and becomes more pronounced. Involves a
    series of crises (conflicts).

Plot of a Short Story
  • 4. Climax The moment of greatest suspense a
    point of conflict that will lead to the
    resolution of the main plot.
  • 5. Falling Action The result of the outcome of
    the climactic conflict. Can involve a crisis,
    but in a short story is usually very short.
  • 6. Denouement (or Resolution, or Final Outcome)
    The writer attempts to have the reader leave the
    story satisfied.

The Three Little Pigs
Plot The Three Little Pigs
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1

Assignment Analyze The Three Little Pigs
  • In your notebook, draw a plot line.
  • Label the plotline with numbers and dots for the
  • Then, using the numbers as a key or guide,
    explain the plot of The Three Little Pigs.
  • Also, jot down (in a couple of sentences) what
    you think is the authors intention behind the
    story. How do you know?
  • You may work with a partner on this.

Plot of The Three Little Pigs
  1. Exposition (or Opening Situation) The three
    pigs are introduced. Setting is minimal Once
    upon a time, with talking/personified pigs. It
    is time for the pigs to go out into the world
    and seek their fortunes, so they leave home.
  2. Inciting Force (or Complication) The big bad
    wolf discovers the first pig in his house of
    straw, and wants to eat him.
  3. Rising Action The wolf visits the house of
    straw and the house of sticks, blows them down
    and eats the piggies (these are the crises).

Plot of The Three Little Pigs
  • 4. Climax Failing to blow down the brick house,
    the wolf tries a different tactic to get into the
    house. The wolf climbs down the chimney and
  • 5. Falling Action The surviving pig invites his
    mother over, and she reinforces the lesson the
    pig (and reader) learned.
  • 6. Denouement (or Resolution, or Final Outcome)
    The pig learns his lesson and lives happily ever

On the Sidewalk Bleeding
  • Plot POP Quiz!
  • Outline the plot of the
  • story using a plot line.

Test Answers Sidewalk Plot
  • Exposition (or Opening Situation) The boy Andy,
    protagonist, is introduced as wearing a purple
    silk jacket with The Royals on the back and his
    name on it.
  • Inciting Force (or Complication) Stabbed ten
    minutes because he was a Royal.
  • Rising Action As he lay dying, he encounters
    different people who dont save him for various
    reasons. 1. Drunk mandoesnt understand. 2.
    Young Coupledont want to be involved. 3.
    Elderly Womanhearing issues.

Test Answers Sidewalk Plot
  • 4. Climax It seemed very important that he
    take off the purple jacket. He takes it off
    despite much trouble.
  • 5. Falling Action Andy says Im Andy, dies,
    Laura finds him, cop pronounces him dead, calls
    him a royal.
  • 6. Denouement (or Resolution, or Final Outcome)
    Laura His name is Andy. But cop writes A

The Michelle I Know
  • Crossroads 10 pp. 16-23.
  • Complete Responding to the Story and Story
    Craft Plot chart p. 23.

  • Noun a person, place, thing, or idea
  • Adjective a word that describes or limits a
  • Verb an action word
  • Adverb a word that describes how a verb is
    done usually ends in -ly

Plot and Conflict
Plot and Conflict
  • Our lives are full of conflict. Likewise, the
    lives of characters are full of conflict.
  • Think of a story as a look at a conflict and its
    resolution (for better or worse!).
  • There is no story without conflict.

Plot and Conflict
  • Really, the plot of a story is literally ALL
    about conflict.
  • The inciting force and the crises (in the rising
    action phase), as well as the climax are all
    conflicts of some sort.
  • (Note There can be minor conflicts in the
    falling action, but in a short story these are

Two Main Types of Conflict
  • There are two main types of conflict
  • Psychological Conflict
  • Physical Conflict

Categories of Conflict
  • Conflict can be categorized as
  • Internal
  • Person vs. Herself/Himself
  • OR
  • External
  • Person vs. Person
  • Person vs. Nature
  • Person vs. Society
  • Person vs. the Unknown
  • Person vs. the Supernatural
  • Person vs. Time

Brainstorm Conflicts
  • Create a character in your mind. Choose his/her
    name, gender, age, and list a couple of details
    about him/her.
  • Example Henry 23-year-old male construction
    worker. Loves to travel, has a dog named
    Rover, oldest of three brothers.
  • Look at the kinds of conflict.
  • For each type of conflict, create TWO examples
    of that kind of conflict that your character
    might be involved in.
  • e.g. Person vs. Nature on the construction
    site, Henry uncovers a prehistoric creature
    that tries to kill them all
  • -- Rover is bitten by a rabid mouse and hunts
  • Person vs. Time Rover is bitten by a rattler,
    and Henry must get him to a vet in time to
    save his life.
  • Person vs. the Unknown Called to a building
    project in Brazil, Henrys co-workers start
    disappearing into the night and no one knows

The Michelle I Know
  • Outline a Short Story

  • Divide your page into three equal parts.
  • Beginning
  • Middle
  • End

  • Brainstorm for each part (15 mins.). In each
    space, cover the following questions
  • Who is involved?
  • What is happening?
  • When is it taking place?
  • Where is it taking place?
  • Why is it taking place?
  • How is it happening? any other details that pop
    into your head.

PlotOutline a Short Story (Pre-writing)
  • Write an outline for your short story, including
    notes on the following elements
  • Setting Describe it.
  • Conflict Inciting force main problem.
  • Rising Action Briefly describe 3 crises that
    lead up
  • to the climax.
  • 4. Changes What changes about the main
  • character from the beginning to the
  • end?
  • Climax What will be the point of highest
  • tension?
  • 6. Conclusion How will it turn out?
  • Have at least a sentence or two for each element.

  • Write a first draft of your story. Do the best
    you can, but do not obsess over every detail.
  • Drafts are due TOMORROW.
  • (Your final version of this story will be between
    500700 words.)

  • Divide your page into three equal parts.
  • What Works
  • What Needs Improvement
  • What Needs Revision

Revising Workshop
  • Swap stories with a classmate.
  • First read 10-15 mins
  • Read the story given to you and comment on
  • What works really well in the story so far.
  • What works in the story, but needs some
  • What doesnt work so well, and needs some
  • Second Read 5-10 mins
  • Indicate where you think the story would be
    improved by
  • adding DIALOGUE. (Indicate it with a large
  • Wherever you see a NOUN, circle it.
  • Wherever you see a VERB, underline it.

Revising Workshop
  • Return the Story to the Author for Revision
  • (15-20 mins)
  • For every NOUN circled, write at least ONE
    adjective that could go with that noun. For
    every VERB circled, write at least one ADVERB
    that could make the image clearer.
  • Inject DIALOGUE into your story. Go through your
    story and find places where dialogue would add to
    the story. Re-write the scene with dialogue
  • Remember The idea of getting peer help is to
    IMPROVE your writing, not simply to criticize it!

  • Swap your second draft with a classmate.
  • Peer edit each others work. Make reference to
    the rubric provided.
  • When finished, produce a final draft for

  • Your final version of this story is due Tuesday,
    September 27th, at the beginning of class.
  • Include ALL steps from the writing process and
    include it in your personal journal.

Genre Science Fiction
  • Science fiction is a broad genre of fiction that
    often involves one or more of the following
  • A setting in the future or in an alternate
  • A setting in outer space or involving aliens or
    unknown civilizations.
  • The discovery or application of new scientific
    principles or new technology, such as time travel
    or robots.
  • Science fiction differs from fantasy in that its
    imaginary elements are usually possible within
    established laws of nature (although some
    elements might be entirely imaginative).

Ray Bradbury
  • Ray Douglas Bradbury is an American fantasy,
    horror, science fiction, and mystery writer best
    known for The Martian Chronicles, a 1950 book
    which has been described both as a short story
    collection and a novel, and his 1953 dystopian
    novel Fahrenheit 451.

A Sound of Thunder
  • Answer all questions in complete sentences.

  • 1. How is the readers interest caught?
  • 2. How does the exposition part of the story set
    up what is to follow? (setting, main
  • 3. What relationship does the material presented
    in the introduction bear to the conclusion of the
  • 4. Describe as many conflicts as you can in the
    story. For each, label it as a person vs.
    _____ conflict, and describe who/what is
    involved in it. Indicate the page(s) on which
    the conflict takes place. Try to identify what
    you think is the MAIN CONFLICT.
  • 5. What is the climax of the story? Why do you
    think that part is the climax?

  • 6. Paragraph assignment Hand this in! (MLA)
  • Bradburys stories are often thought to contain
    overt lessons for the reader. That is, one of
    the goals of this story is to teach, and Bradbury
    has a certain point of view of which he wants to
    convince his reader.
  • What do you think is the main lesson or message
    of the story? In a persuasive paragraph, argue
    what you think is the message (or messages) being
    delivered through the story. Use evidence from
    the story to prove what you say.

The Essay The Basics
  • To understand the structure of any essay,
    remember this structure
  • Say what you are going to say.
  • Say it.
  • Say what you said.

The Essay The Basics
  • To understand the structure of any essay,
    remember this structure
  • Say what you are going to say.
  • (Introduction)
  • Say it.
  • (Body Paragraphs)
  • Say what you said.
  • (Conclusion)

The Essay The Basics - Paragraphs
  • There are many ways to write paragraphs. For a
    general rule, follow this formula
  • Topic Sentence
  • Say what you are going to say.
  • Body sentences
  • Say it (or prove it).
  • Final sentence
  • Say what you said AND/OR transition to the next

Expository Essay
  • You either offer information or explain your
    point of view on a topic you already know
    something about.
  • The five-paragraph essay taught in high school
    English classes is of this type.
  • There are two basic types of expository essay
  • 1. one gives information, and
  • 2. the other defends an opinion.

Expository Essay
  • Basic structure
  • Paragraph One - Introduction
  • Announces the topic and builds to a thesis
    statement in which you state your point of view.
  • Paragraphs Two to Four (or more) Body
  • Supporting evidence and reasoned discussion.
  • Final Paragraph Conclusion
  • Restates the thesis more emphatically, and
    suggests wider implications. Do NOT simply

The 5-Paragraph Essay
  • Introduction
  • Body 1
  • Body 2
  • Body 3
  • Conclusion

Structure of the Introduction
  • General Statement Talk about the broader topic
    in general.
  • Linking Statement Name the text and author.
  • Thesis Statement

Body Paragraphs
  • Make three statements that support your thesis,
    and provide evidence or proof that supports those
  • These will be three paragraphs of roughly-equal
    length. They should follow strict paragraph
    structure, and the evidence you use to back up
    your topic sentences should be drawn directly
    from the text whenever possible.

Structure of the Conclusion
  • Re-state Thesis
  • Linking Statement Name the text and author.
  • General Statement Talk about the broader topic
    in general, AND/OR leave the reader with
    something related to think about.

Notes and Tips
  • In general, except for in Personal Experience
    essays, avoid the first-person pronoun, I, in
    your essays.
  • Any sentence can be re-written to remove the
    self-conscious I, me, mine.
  • DO NOT write, In my opinion, I believe, I
    feel, etc.
  • NEVER write things like, In the following essay,
    I shall try to prove, or In conclusion

Thesis Statements
What is a Thesis?
  • Your thesis is the main point or central idea of
    your paper. It is the backbone of the paper.
  • If you ask the question,
  • What is the main point of this paper?
  • your answer should resemble your essays thesis

What is a THESIS?!?
  • The core of an informational writing piece
  • The central message of the essay the meaning in
    a nutshell
  • A clear, concise statement of what an author is
    going to say.
  • An argument with which others may agree or

A strong thesis
  • gives both the reader and writer a sense of
  • gets readers involved in the conversation of
    the essay it alerts the reader to look for
    details, facts, and quotations that support the
    statement the thesis makes.

Where is your thesis statement?
  • At the beginning of the essay, in order to
  • 1) establish your position, and
  • 2) give your reader a sense of direction.
  • Usually the last line of paragraph 1.
  • In longer essays, may appear in paragraph 2.

The thesis for this assignment copy and make
  • Many childrens books are written like short
    stories, and contain many of the same elements.
    Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne is a
    childrens story that demonstrates many short
    story elements. Plot structure,
    characterization, and use of flat and round
    characters to promote theme are important
    elements of both short stories and Dinosaurs
    Before Dark.

Sample Paragraphs
How the Writing Process Works
  • The writing process is the method by which you
    will develop your writing from idea to published
    form. It includes five important steps
    pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and
    publishing. Pre-writing involves brainstorming
    and organizing your ideas. Drafting is when you
    write your first, rough copy. Revision involves
    adding or removing parts with your audience in
    mind. Fixing spelling, punctuation, and grammar
    mistakes is editing. Finally, publishing
    involves giving your work to the intended
    audience. Using the steps of the writing process
    will improve your writing by taking it from an
    idea to publication.

The Aims of a Short Story
  • When an author writes a short story, he/she has
    three aims in mind To entertain, to teach, and
    to raise questions. The author wants the reader
    to enjoy the story, and the main aim of short
    stories is to entertain. To teach means the
    author has a certain message for the reader to
    understand, and the story is the medium for that
    message. Sometimes, the author does not have a
    specific message, but simply wants to raise
    questions in the readers mind about things that
    the reader already believes, and so get the
    reader to think about things in a new way. Short
    story authors might focus on one aim in
    particular, but all three aims are often in mind.

The Plot of The Michelle I Know
  • The Michelle I Know is a short story about a
    girl diagnosed with leukemia who is very unhappy.
    The reader learns in the exposition that
    Michelle is confined to a hospital ward, and that
    she has few visitors except Rob, a boy she likes.
    Through the rising action, Brenda, Michelles
    kind nurse, tries to cheer Michelle up. She
    takes Michelle to meet a man who still has a
    positive outlook, despite also suffering from
    cancer for the past 8 years. The climax occurs
    when Rob finally shows up, and Michelle realizes
    that he likes her for who she is. There is no
    falling action or denouement, other than a kiss
    they almost share. Michelle is changed by the
    end of the story because she is finally happy.

  • Divide a blank page into quadrants

Essay Prep
  • Two of the goals of Sound of Thunder are to
    teach and to raise questions about larger issues
    in the real world.
  • For each of the following ideas, brainstorm what
    Bradbury might be trying to get the reader to
    think about.
  • You have to think on two levels what does the
    story indicate about the issue, and how might
    that message be relevant to the real world

  • Humankinds relationship with the natural world
    (Destruction? Development? Hunting?)
  • Scientific progress and its dangers in general
    (time travel, technology, etc.)
  • Human nature (or psychology)

Comparison Essay A Sound of Thunder and A
Sound of Thunder
  • Watch the film A Sound of Thunder.
  • Take notes on the plot, especially how it varies
    from the short story A Sound of Thunder.
  • You might want to set your page up in two
    columns to make comparison notes
  • Movie Short Story

  • Clearly, the film was inspired by the movie.
    But, the film is very different from the short
  • What messages does the film version carry? How
    does it handle the issues raised by Bradbury?
  • In a formal essay, compare Bradburys A Sound
    of Thunder to the film A Sound of Thunder.
  • You will want to mention the following
  • Consider the purposes of short stories To
    entertain, to teach, and to raise questions.
  • Explain how the story and the film work to
    accomplish the three purposes of short stories.
  • Look at how the film treats the SAME
    topics/issues. Compare (consider things that are
    the SAME) and contrast (consider things that are
    DIFFERENT) the two versions and their messages.

Five-paragraph Comparison Essay Structure A
Sound of Thunder
  • Structure
  • Introduction In your thesis, clearly state for
    the reader what you are going to prove to them.
  • Paragraph 2 Compare/contrast the treatment of
    issue 1.
  • Paragraph 3 Compare/contrast the treatment of
    issue 2.
  • Paragraph 4 Compare/contrast the treatment of
    issue 3.
  • Conclusion Re-state your thesis.
  • Follow this formula!
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