Compression: short and covers a lot of ideas, only necessary ideas
Stressed Elements: elements of the plot
Essay vs. Short Story: differences- essay has no plot, no climax; short story written mainly to entertain, essay written more formally. similarities- both prose, one setting, one basic idea, both let us know something about the author.
Escape Literature: literature written mainly for enjoyment, entertainment, escape from the real world.
Immature reader: reader does no thinking, wants to read the same kind of material all the time; always expects a happy ending, tends to imagine him/herself in the story.
Interpretive Literature: literature written to broaden, deepen, and sharpen our awareness of life.
Mature reader: thinks about what he/she reads; reads all types of literature.
Elements of Plot
Plot is the sequence of incidents or events of which a story is composed.
Exposition: background to the story
Initial Action: first incident which causes conflict; first stages of the plot
Rising Action: actions leading to the climax, complications that must be overcome (motivation, complication, suspense)
Climax: high point in the story, highest point of suspense
Denouement: the final outcome, solution, unraveling or clarification of plot
Literary Devices used in the plot of a short story:
Antecedent Action: action that has occurred before. Any happening or thing prior to another.
Significant Action: action that is important to the outcome of the story
Unity of Action: all action must be relevant to the story; it must contribute to the total meaning
Artistic Unity: the tying together of plot, character, setting, theme, etc. to create a single effect
Double Plot: a story within a story (frame)
Dramatic Foreshadowing: revealing hints of future events
Flashback: reminiscing, going back to a previous incident
Suspense: that quality in a story which makes the reader ask, "What is going to happen next?" or "How will this turn out?”; impels him/her to read on to find the answers
Surprise: a sudden new turn or twist in the plot; unexpected events that happen
Chance: no relationship between events
Coincidence: occurrence of two events that are related
Epiphany: A sudden revelation of truth inspired by a seemingly trivial incident.
• Verisimilitude: Literally, the appearance of truth. Life-like qualities.
• Universality: quality, state, or instance of being universal; unlimited range; applies to everybody; people can all relate to it.
• Juxtaposition: the act or instance of placing two or more things side by side; sometimes opposites.
Plot manipulation: author adjusts the story; deus ex machina (god from the machine) named after the practice of some ancient Greek dramatists in having a god descend from heaven (in the theater by means of a stage-machine) to rescue their protagonist at the last minute from some impossible situation
Methods of Characterization
Direct: told straight out by exposition or analysis what a character is like, or has someone else In the story tell us what he/she is like
moral- conflict of morals within someone, what the character thinks is right or wrong
Setting consists of the time and place of the story; the mood, value systems, and daily manner of living of characters
physical setting: where
time setting: when
time span: for how long
emotional setting: manner of living, psychological backgrounds, occupations, value systems, social graces, mental stabilities, religious beliefs
Theme is the central or unifying concept of a piece of literature. It is a unifying generalization about life stated or implied. Theme must be expressible in the form of a statement with a subject and predicate. Theme must be stated as a generalization of life (be careful not to make the generalization larger than is justified by the story).
the theme must account for all major details
cannot be contradicted by any details
must not rely on supposed facts
There is no one way of stating the theme of a story. Often, a story will have numerous themes. We should avoid any statement which reduces the theme to some familiar saying or moral.
Point of View
Who tells the story and how it gets told.
First Person: the author disappears into one of the characters who tells the story in first person (using "I")
Omniscient: the story is told by the author, using 3rd person, and his knowledge and prerogatives are unlimited; all knowing
Limited Omniscient: story told in 3rd person, but tells it from the viewpoint of one of the characters in the story. He knows all about the character he is using, but has no knowledge of others
Objective: author is like a camera, he can record only what he sees and hears; cannot enter a character's mind
Other Literary Devices for Short Stories
Symbolism: something that stands for or represents another thing; abstract; it can be an object, a person, situation, an action, or some other item which has a literal meaning in the story but suggests or represents other meanings as well.
Irony: a contrast in which one element mocks the other
Verbal Irony: say one thing but mean the opposite
Dramatic Irony: audience knows more than the characters
Irony of Situation: discrepancy between appearance and reality
Fantasy: the non-realistic story; it transcends the bounds of known reality; conjures up a strange and marvelous world. It introduces us to a world where the ordinary laws of nature are suspended or superseded and where the landscape and its creatures are unfamiliar. (Fables, ghost stories, science fiction)
Sentimentality: the quality in a story which aims at drawing forth unmerited tender feeling. Oversimplifies and sweetens life, exaggerates, manipulates, and prettifies.
Emotion: treats life faithfully and perceptively; presented indirectly, must be dramatized. It must be plausible, convincing, and genuine.
Pathos: a quality in writing that arouses sympathy or pity.
Predicament: a situation that is difficult, unpleasant, embarrassing or sometimes comical; implies a complicated, perplexing situation from which it is difficult to disentangle oneself.