The short story Essays and Papers

This essay has a total of 981 words and 7 pages.

The short story

A short story is, by definition “an invented prose narrative shorter than a novel usually
dealing with a few characters and aiming at unity of effect and often concentrating on the
creation of mood rather than plot” (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary). Short
stories contain certain elements, which consist of the following: plot, characters, theme
and setting (Axelrod and Cooper The St. Martin’s guide to writing 383). In addition, the
Short story is told from a specific point of view. All the elements of a short story are
used in a specific way in order to comment on a part of our lives as members in a
collective society.

In order to have a story there must be a series of circumstances known as a plot. A plot
is a causal sequence of events, the "why" for the things that happen in the story
(“Literature” http://www.learner.o rg/exhibits/literatu re/). The plot brings the reader
into the character's lives and gives the reader a better understanding of the character.
For example In Perkins the “Yellow Wallpaper” the plot of the story was a woman suffering
from some type of mental illness while dealing with a possibly overbearing spouse.

A plot's structure is the way in which the story elements are arranged (“Literature
http://www.learner.o rg/exhibits/literatu re/). Writers vary structure depending on the
needs of the story. Plot consists of exposition, conflict, complication, climax, and
resolution. Short stories always have all the plot elements in them.

1. Exposition is the introductory information.
2. Conflict is the introduction of the problem.
3. Complication is the tension builder of the story.
4. Climax is the highest point of action and is the turning point in the story.
5. Resolution is the result of the story (Denouement).

The next element to the short story to review is the Characters. These are the people or
things that the story is about. All main characters have significance to the story.
These characters, their actions, personalities and values reflect and help illustrate the
sole purpose of the story. Maupassant developed an array of different characters such as
aristocrats, nuns and even a hooker in order to reveal the main idea of the issues
involving the classes in society.

This main Idea developed in a short story is called the theme. The theme of a piece of
fiction is its view about life and how people behave (“Literature http://www.learner.o
rg/exhibits/literatu re/). In fiction, the theme is not intended to teach. It is not
presented directly you must find out what it is from the characters, action, and setting
that make up the story. You have to figure out the theme yourself. A good example for
the element of theme is in Pau-Llosa’s “The Unlikely Origin of a metaphor” because it also
is a true statement for the idea of themes in short stories. The theme in “The Unlikely
Origin of a Metaphor” was that there could be many interpretations of the same thing.

The location of a story's actions, along with the time in which it occurs, is the setting
(“Literature http://www.learner.o rg/exhibits/literatu re/). Setting is created by
language. The setting of a short story is another tool used in order to relate the theme
to the reader.

In Alice Walker’s “The Flowers” she describes the scene in which the main character, a
little girl, stumbles upon a skeleton while picking flowers in the woods. It is obvious by
the description of the setting used by Walker that the skeleton belonged to a once living
African American slave who was beaten and lynched.

Continues for 4 more pages >>

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