Analyzing Short Stories Essay

Submitted By mreilly1112
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Pages: 5

Understand the importance of short stories

Identify the elements of fiction found in a short story

Define important elements of fiction

Identify steps in analyzing a short story

Storytelling is the oldest form of art and is a way to learn about a culture and/ or a historical period.

Short stories represent links in the chain of human experience – meaningthe author is attempting to say something about life through their art
(their writing).

Writers who lived in different times and in different places had different stories to tell.

Since each writer writes with his or her own unique voice, each short story has its differences.
 Different types of short stories
 Different themes
 Different styles of writing.

However, all short stories have similarities:  They express ideas
 They are about common life experiences  They involve people, thoughts, places, action, and time.

In the earliest part of human history, primitive people began to tell stories about their success in hunting or fighting. 

Soon, a storyteller learned when he could fluff the facts and add details in order to improve their stories.

Throughout time the simple narratives of personal adventure were combined with attempts to explain powerful forces of nature. These attempts helped to create myths, legends, folktales, and the hero-tale.

All around the world people began to understand the importance of writing down their cultures great stories, therefore there is no one specific date of the first written story, but there are examples of some of the first.

Story telling poems written by Homer
Aesop’s fables are short stories
The Bible contains many short stories
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffery
Chaucer are short stories.

While there is a long tradition of written storytelling, the short story form as we know it is less than 300 years old/

Was developed as an art form in the
19th century ( the 1800’s).

As the popularity of short stories grew, they began to be published in magazines. 

The popularity of the short story did not begin to decline until television became popular around 1950.

The form and style of the short story still continues to grow in the hands of many gifted writers.

To analyze a short story a reader must begin by reading and thinking about the story’s title.

Titles serve many different purposes:

1.To give the name of a major character. ex: “Tony Kytes, the Arch Deceiver”
2.To provide the theme or setting of the story ex: “Quality”

3.To suggest the main incident of the story ex: “Occurrence at Owl Creel Bridge
4.To name an object that plays an important role ex: “The Skeleton”

5. To suggest the type of short story ex: “The Mysterious Mansion”
6.To give the tone of the story ex: “The Specter”
7. To get the reader interested ex: “The Lady or the tiger?”

After deciding which purpose the title serves the reader should carefully read and consider the opening paragraphs.

The opening paragraph may:
1. Launch the action of the story
2. Introduce characters
3. Describe the setting
4. State or hint at the main idea
5. Tell how the story came to be told or written 

Definition: where and when the story takes place; the location and time.

It gives important clues about the nature of the story. It provides the
“mental backdrop” of the story.

There are some elements of setting to consider:
 Place- the actual location
 Time- historical period; time of year; time of day  Weather conditions- rainy, snowy, sunny, etc.
 Social conditions- what is the daily life of the characters like? What are their living conditions? 

The setting of a story may or may not be directly stated.

Definition: The chain of events in a story that to its outcome; The sequence of events.

There are 5 essential parts to plot:
1. Introduction
2. Rising Action
3. Climax
4. Falling Action
5. Resolution

Ac sin tio g n Introduction

g llin n
Fa tio