The Prevalence of Death in Literature One of the most feared things in everyone’s life is the thought of death. There are many reasons that people fear death, the most common reason is the thought that nobody knows what happens after death. Most religions believe in some sort of life after death, although it has never been factually proven that there is life after death. There are also those who fear death because they do not want to cause pain towards their loved ones. However, there are some people who are not afraid of death, and in some cases some people would actually prefer death rather than to keep living. People usually question why somebody would choose to die rather than live their lives to the fullest. The answer to that question is very simple, the world we live in is a very dark place. Hundreds of thousands of people die every day in the world, but the amount of people each death impacts is enormous. Therefore, authors have to cade to their audience and write about death. There are a few reasons why a large percentage of authors include death in their stories. Most of these stories were written before the 1970’s. There were many wars with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of casualties before this time period. The authors were most likely affected by the sudden deaths of people they knew that had to go to war. Another factor in the prevalence of death in literature was that according to an article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “[t]he risk of dying decreased by 60 percent from 1935 to 2010” (Hoyert 2). There are not many things that are able to connect the author to everyone who reads the story, but one of those few things is death. Everyone will experience death once, but they will have most likely seen somebody else die before they themselves experience it. Sometimes in remembrance for somebody who passed away, an author may write a story based off of that person’s life. Finally, although not all death includes violence, some acts of death do. When it comes to violence and entertainment, publishers know that violence sells to consumers. If the writer can make a lot of money writing about violence and death, they will write about violence and death. The stories in “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien are based upon his experiences as a soldier during the Vietnam War. These experiences unfortunately, but obviously, include death of fellow and enemy soldiers. Therefore in one of his stories, he speaks of the death of a soldier named Ted Lavender. Lavender was a typical teenager who was drafted by the United States Armed Forces to fight in Vietnam. There was very little training involved before being sent off to war, and due to their age and lack of leadership, Lavender was shot in the head. There is a reason why Lavender is mentioned so much in O’Brien’s stories, which is because O’Brien will never be able to forget that soldier being killed right in front of him. Once you see such a gruesome death, you will likely never forget it. The story “Happy Endings” by Margaret Atwood is solely based on the thought of death. Atwood gives the reader six scenarios in which a couple of characters live out their lives. They range from the average get married, have children, and die to the most extreme scenarios including adultery and suicide. However at the end of each scenario, Atwood reminds us that everyone in each scenario eventually dies. Atwood points this out to us in order to question the meaning of a “happy ending” in any story that one would read. According to Atwood, unless death is deemed as something that is joyful, there is no such thing as a happy ending. This may suggest that good writers don’t try to trick their readers into thinking that there is a happy ending, but instead finish the story with death because in the end any reader should know that there is death. Another interesting story is “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. The time period in which authors live…
In the short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Flannery O’Conner tells how a family’s vacation comes to a tragic end in the hands of a dangerous criminal called The Misfit. The ironic title indicates that men are hard to find due to their chauvinistic, short-tempered, and arrogant behaviors. However a controversial ending with the grandmother and the Misfit reveals a redemption scene which entails the behavior of woman. The women, including a girl, in this short story have patriarchal views of…
Reflection: The Lottery
Upon the first reading of the short story, I thought I fully understood the text. After we analyzed the test again, and stopped periodically to question each paragraph, do I fully realize the writing elements that the author used. In the first reading, I only pointed out small scenes that seemed fishy or just to read to find out what the plot is and where its heading. On page 1, the scene in which the author describes the setting as sunny with men and…
Literary Elements In Short Stories
In literature authors will often use literary elements in their writing. Literary elements give writing meaning beyond the surface, and often help in developing a theme in the story. They also often improve the quality of the writing, and make it more interesting for the reader. In “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the authors use symbolism to describe how the main characters cannot live with a lack…
All I could hear was “Ashleeeeeeeeey” “Ashley, come on get ready for school”, it was my mom calling me. I wasn’t quite registering who was calling me at that very second until I heard my full name, “Ashley Maria Oakley”, that’s when I know my mom means business. My daily routine before getting ready for school is using the bathroom, my hygiene, my hair, eating breakfast and writing in my dairy. It is now 7:25 a.m schools…
BY JOHN O'CONNOR and DAVID STOUCK Special to The Globe and Mail JAMES Sinclair Ross, Canadian novelist and short story writer, has died in Vancouver at age 88. Best known for his novel As For Me and My House and his short stories such as The Lamp at Noon and The Painted Door, Ross came to be identified as the pre-eminent chronicler of Western Canada in the Great Depression.
"As For Me and My House remains one of the major texts of Canada's literary culture," David Staines, editor of…
Understand the importance of short stories
Identify the elements of fiction found in a
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
Writers who lived in different…
Elements of Short Stories
This includes the:
time (of day and year/season)
time period (early 1700’s)
place of a story (where in the world, country, village, home, room).
It helps establish the background, the plot, and can tell you a lot about
the characters who inhabit it
Task: Read the story following and create a description for the setting.
• Plot refers to events of a story. Every story has to
have things “happen” in order for it to be
• Usually the plot introduces…
instinctiveness. Human survive on it. In the short story “The Large Ant” by Howard Fast, Fast illustrates surviving on instinct when he shows that humans are naturally violent, that the government will do anything to survive and that Morgan kills without hesitation.
A large percent of people crave violence and that’s solely an instinctive trait. Howard Fast does an excellent job at illustrating this throughout the short story “The Large Ant.”. The story takes place in Cold War Era USA during a time…
The Offshore Pirate and Young Goodman Brown Analysis
The story The Offshore Pirate by Scott Fitzgerald explores the life of a spoiled woman by the name Ardita Farnam who is in her early years. She is in a trip to Florida accompanied by her uncle. However, the offshore pirates capture their boat. This leads to a love affair between the woman and the captain. The second story Young Goodman Brown is a story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The narration takes place in the…
Meaningful and Exceptional Stories
“Short fiction seems more targeted- hand grenades of idea, if you will. When they work, they hit, they explode, and you never forget them.” This is a powerful statement said by Paolo Bacigalupi. One reason I truly enjoy reading short stories is because they quickly convey important messages. Many I have read not only are interesting and unique but also teach moral lessons. In this short story unit, I have read countless short stories that I thoroughly had a pleasure…