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Elements of the Short Story


Told from the viewpoint of one of the characters, using the first person pronoun I . Innocent . Eye: The story is told through the eyes of a child (his/her ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Elements of the Short Story

Elements of the Short Story
  • A story is only as strong as the voices telling
    it The only voice a story never needs is the
    authors . Characters need to speak for
    themselves in their own distinct voices
    Particularly in a short story, every word they
    speak needs to sounds like the speaker and move
    the story along.
  • - Richard Peck (1936-)

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.
  • Innocent Eye The story is told through the eyes
    of a child (his/her judgment being different from
    that of an adult).
  • 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.

  • 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

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. The reader is never allowed
    into any of the characters minds, nor given any
    of their feelings or emotions.
  • The officers of artillery, in smart blue
    uniforms faced with black velvet and gold, were
    solidly banked across one end of the audience
    hall, with flashing new swords and their
    gilt-braided hats stiffly held under their arms.
    From the door of that chamber, around the
    gallery, down the state staircase, across the
    grandiose inner court of the palace, and out
    through the imposing gates to the street, stood a
    double line of soldiers, with their rifles at
    present arms. Four regimental bands grouped in
    one wedged in the crowd. The people of the
    capital were massed in solid thousands on the
    Plaza de Armas before the palace..
  • from Insurgent Mexico, by John Reed

  • Characters can be
  • Human
  • Animals
  • Inanimate objects
  • A short story only has room for a few characters

Two Types of Characterization
  • 1) Direct Characterization The author develops
    the personality of a character by direct

Direct Characterization
  • 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

  • 2) 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

  • The setting is the place and time where the story
    takes place.
  • In a short story, the setting is often set in one
    central place and happens over a brief period of

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

Conflict is the dramatic struggle between two
forces in a story. Without conflict there is no
  • Protagonist The central character
  • Antagonist A villain or anyone who stands in the
    protagonists way and must be defeated.

  • A short story cant afford to have any subplots
    or sub-conflicts because it doesnt have the
    space to develop them. It has one conflict that
    it follows through to the end.
  • There are two types of conflict
  • 1) External - A struggle with a force outside
    one's self.
  • 2) Internal - A struggle within one's self a
    person must make some decision, overcome pain,
    quiet their temper, resist an urge, etc.

  • There are four kinds of conflict 1) Human vs.
    Human (physical) - The leading character
    struggles with his physical strength against
    other men, forces of nature, or animals.
  • 2) Human vs. Circumstances (classical) - The
    leading character struggles against fate, or the
    circumstances of life facing him/her.
  • 3) Human vs. Society (social) - The leading
    character struggles against ideas, practices, or
    customs of other people.
  • 4) Human vs. Himself/Herself (psychological) -
    The leading character struggles with
    himself/herself with his/her own soul, ideas of
    right or wrong, physical limitations, choices,

  • 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 untangling of events in the story
  • Conclusion Leaves the reader with a feeling of
    completion and satisfaction and in some cases
    brings the reader back to the beginning (full

  • The atmosphere or feeling in a work of fiction is
    its mood
  • The writer creates the mood through setting,
    characters, and descriptive details
  • Ex. funny, frightening, romantic, or adventurous
  • Short stories usually only have one mood

  • The theme of a short story is simply its meaning.
    It is the main idea explored in the story by the
    writer. It answers the question What did you
    learn about the human condition or human nature?
  • The writer can EXPLICITLY write about the theme
    through the story idea, or the writer can
    IMPLICTLY suggest the theme through the setting,
    plot, conflict, change in the mind or actions of
    the main character.

  • Some techniques to use in narratives.

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

  • 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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