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Elements of Short Stories


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Title: Elements of Short Stories

Elements of Short Stories
  • PowerPoint adapted from

  • The setting is the place where the story takes
    place. Setting includes the following
  • The geographical location
  • For example London, Cairo, Halifax, Vancouver
  • The time period
  • For example 1865, during WWII, today
  • The socio-economic characteristics of the
  • For example wealthy suburbs
  • The specific building, room etc.
  • For example a prep school, a log cabin, a bus, a
    military base

SettingCan be used to tell readers about the
  • That evening T.J. smelled the air, his nostrils
    dilating with the odor of the earth under his
    feet. Its spring, he said, and there was
    gladness rising in his voice that filled us all
    with the same feeling.
  • Its mighty late for it, but its spring We
    were all sniffing at

the air, too, trying to smell it the way that
T.J. did, and I can still remember the sweet odor
of the earth under our feet. It was the first
time in my life that spring and spring earth had
meant anything to me.
Antaeus by Borden Deal
SettingCan be used to set the atmosphere for the
  • During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless
    day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds
    hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been
    passing alone, on horseback, though a singularly
    dreary tract of country.
  • The Fall of the House of Usher
  • by Edgar Allan Poe

CharactersThe people (or animals, things, etc.
presented as people) appearing in a literary work.
  • Round Characters are convincing, true to life.
    Have many different and sometimes even
    contradictory personality traits.
  • Dynamic Characters undergo some type of change or
    development in story, often because of something
    that happens to them
  • Flat Characters are stereotyped, shallow, and
    often symbolic. Have only one or two personality
  • Static Characters do not change in the course of
    the story

  • Protagonist The main character in a literary
    work (for instance, Charles in Here There Be
    Tygers or Cinderella or Snow White in the fairy
    tales named for their characters)
  • Antagonist The character who opposes the
    protagonist (for instance, Miss Bird in Here
    There Be Tygers or the wicked stepmothers in the
    fairy tales)

Methods of Characterization
Direct Characterization The author develops the
personality of a character by direct statements.
  • Jack had been in basic training in Florida and
    Dottie was there on vacation with her parents.
    Theyd met on the beach and struck up a
    conversation. Dottie was the talker, the outgoing
    one the extrovert. Jack was too shy around
    girls to say much at all.
  • Furlough 1944 by Harry Mazer

Methods of Characterization
  • Indirect Characterization Revealing a
    characters personality through
  • The characters thoughts, words, and actions
  • The comments of other characters
  • The characters physical appearance

Indirect Characterization through Thoughts
  • Moonbeam closed his eyes and pretended to sleep
    the rest of the way to Bamfield. He couldnt
    believe what he had gotten himself into. How had
    this happened? Hed never held a gun in his life,
    much less gone hunting for animals.
  • Moonbeam Dawson and the Killer Bear
  • by Jean Okimoto

Indirect Characterization through Words
  • It was Kenny Griffen, smiling complacently.
    Miss Bird sent me after you cause you been gone
    six years. Youre in trouble yer constipated!
    Kenny chortled gleefully. Waitll I tell
  • Here There Be Tygers by Stephen King

Indirect Characterization through Actions
  • The boy held his breath he wondered whether
    his father would hear his heart beating Through
    a crack in the counter he could see his father
    where he stood, one hand held to his high stiff
  • I Spy by Graham Greene

Indirect Characterization through Appearance
  • Miss Kinney was young and blonde and bouncy and
    had a boyfriend who picked her up after school in
    a blue Camaro.
  • Here There Be Tygers by Stephen King

  • Plot is how the author arranges events to
    develop his/her basic idea. It is the sequence of
    events in a story or play. The plot is a planned,
    logical series of events having a beginning,
    middle and end.

Plot Components
  • Introduction The start of the story, the
    situation before the action starts
  • Rising Action The series of conflicts and crisis
    in the story that lead to the climax
  • Climax / Turning Point The most intense moment
    either mentally or in action the reader wonders
    what will happen next will the conflict be
    resolved or not?
  • Falling Action The events and complications
    begin to resolve themselves. (The events between
    the climax and the resolution)
  • Resolution The conclusion, the untangling of
    events in the story

Plot Conflict
  • Conflict is the dramatic struggle between two
    forces in a story. Without conflict there is no

Plot Types of Conflict
  • External Conflict
  • Human vs. Human
  • Human vs. Nature
  • Human vs. Society
  • Human vs. Fate/Supreme being
  • Internal Conflict
  • Human vs. Self

Point of View
  • The angle or perspective from which the story is
  • Who is telling the story?
  • For instance, is it a player on the home team or
    someone watching the game?
  • How do we know what is happening?
  • For instance, does a character tell us?

First Person Point of View
  • Told from the viewpoint of one of the characters,
    using the first person pronoun I.
  • The thousands of injuries of Fortunato I had
    borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon
    insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the
    nature of my soul, will not suppose, however,
    that I give utterance to a threat.
  • The Cask of Amontillado
  • by Edgar Allan Poe

  • Stream of Consciousness The story is told so
    that the reader feels as if they are inside the
    head of one character and knows all their
    thoughts and reactions.

Second Person Point of View
  • The main character in the story is referred to
    using the second person pronoun you.
  • Rubbing your aching head, you take in the scene
    around you. Nearby you see a narrow dirt road,
    and beyond it a fast-running brook. The road
    disappears into dense woods on either side of the
  • You hear the sound of hooves, and a strange
    clanking noise. Someone is coming! You duck
    behind a tree as two men on horseback ride toward
    you. They are wearing shining metal armor. One of
    them carries a white banner with a golden lion on
    it. They must be knights! You watch as they rein
    in their horses and dismount just a few yards
  • Choose Your Own Adventure The Forbidden Castle
    by Edward Packard

Third Person Point of View
  • The story is told using a narrator who is located
    outside of the action of the story and uses third
    person pronouns such as he, she, his,
    her, they etc.
  • Third Person Point of View can be broken up into
    three different types
  • Omniscient
  • Limited Omniscient
  • Objective

Omniscient Point of View
  • The narrator has the power to show the reader
    what is happening though a number of characters
  • Myop carried a short knobby stick. She struck
    out at random at chickens she liked, and worked
    out the beat of a song on the fence around the
    pigpen. She felt light and good in the warm sun.
    She was ten, and nothing existed for her but her
    son, the stick she clutched in her dark brown
    hand, and the tat-de-ta-ta-ta of accompaniment.
  • The Flowers by Alice Walker

Limited Omniscient Point of View
  • Third person, told from the viewpoint of a
    character in the story.
  • They all laughed, and while they were laughing,
    the quiet boy moved his bare foot on the sidewalk
    and merely touched, brushed against a number of
    red ants that were scurrying about on the
    sidewalk. Secretly his eyes shining, while his
    parents chatted with the old man, he saw the ants
    hesitate, quiver, and lie still on the cement. He
    sensed they were cold now.
  • Fever Dream by Ray Bradbury

Objective Point of View
  • Third person, told as if from a camera that
    follows the characters. Only what is said and
    done is recorded.
  • Jennifer stirred in bed. The cotton sheet clung
    to her body as she rolled to face the nightstand.
    With eyes half open, she reached over to switch
    the alarm clock off when the man in the shadows
    reached out and grabbed her arm. Her scream
    pierced the quiet night and died abruptly as she
    was forced violently back into the dark
  • Objective Point of View writesville.com

  • Theme is the central idea or central message of
    the story. It usually contains some insight into
    the human condition telling something about
    humans and life.
  • The theme can be stated directly or implied by
    the events and actions in the story.

Types of Irony
  • Verbal Irony  This is the contrast between what
    is said and what is meant. In other words
  • Dramatic Irony  This is the contrast between
    what the character thinks to be true and what we
    (the reader) know to be true.  Sometimes as we
    read we are placed in the position of knowing
    more than what one character knows.  Because we
    know something the character does not, we read to
    discover how the character will react when he or
    she learns the truth of the situation. 
  • Situational Irony  This is the most common in
    literature.  It is the contrast between what
    happens and what was expected (or what would seem
    appropriate).  Because it emerges from the events
    and circumstances of a story it is often more
    subtle and effective than verbal or dramatic

SymbolismA symbol represents an idea, quality,
or concept larger than itself.
  • A journey can symbolize life
  • Water may represent cleanliness
  • and renewal
  • A lion can be
  • a symbol of courage.
  • A red rose
  • can
  • represent
  • love.

  • This is a writers technique in which the author
    interrupts the plot of the story to recreate an
    incident of an earlier time (goes back in time
    like giving the reader a memory).  This device is
    often used to provide additional information to
    the reader.

  • This is a writers technique in which the author
    provides clues or hints as to what is going to
    happen later in the story.  Its like the music
    in a scary movie when we know that something bad
    is about to happen.
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