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Elements of a Short Story
OBJECTIVES Identify elements of a short story
Define elements of a short story Demonstrate mastery of short story elements
OVERVIEW Short stories often contain structural and character elements that should be familiar to you. These elements can be used as guides to help you think about the actions, themes, and contexts of the story.
We will be using these literary terms throughout the school year.
You need to keep up with your notes. Don’t lose your terms! You might be able to use them – be RESPONSIBLE!!
Elements of a Short Story
Plot - exposition statement - rising action - conflict - climax - falling action - resolution Theme Setting Characters Point of view Characterization
CHARACTERS The people (or actors) in the story. .
Protagonist The Protagonist is the main character in a literary work
Can you name some famous Protagonists that are found in literature?
Antagonist The Antagonist is a character or force in conflict with a main character, or protagonist.
Do you know your Antagonists???
On your paper take a few minutes to write down some Antagonists that you can recall from movies, television shows, and video games Remember the Antagonist is in conflict with the Protagonist or, main character! Helpful hint – you should now know why people use the saying “Don’t antagonize me!”
Major Character THE ONE ON WHOM A STORY FOCUSES ( GENERALLY THE PROTAGONIST)
Minor Character PLAYS A SMALL PART
Motivation REFERS TO THE REASONS BEHIND WHY A CHARACTER MAY ACT A CERTAIN WAY
CHARACTERIZATION The description of the personalities of the characters in the story and the way in which an author reveals their personalities.
Direct and Indirect Character
Methods of Characterization Creating Believable Characters Indirect physical appearance speech, thoughts, feelings, or actions of the character speech, thoughts, feelings, or actions of other characters Direct the narrator’s direct comments about a character
Flat Characters ONE SIDED AND OFTEN STEROTYPICAL
Round Characters FULLY DEVELOPED AND EXHIBITS MANY TRAITS
Dynamic Characters CHARACTERS WHO CHANGE DURING THE STORY
Static Characters CHARACTERS WHO DO NOT CHANGE
Conflict Conflict is the struggle between opposing forces in a story or play. There are two types of conflict that exist in literature.
External Conflict External conflict exists when a character struggles against some outside force, such as another character, nature, society, or fate. Man vs. Man Man vs. Nature
Internal Conflict Internal conflict exists within the mind of a character who is torn between different courses of action. Man vs. Himself
Setting The setting of a literary work is the time and place of the action. The setting includes all the details of a place and time – the year, the time of day, even the weather. The place may be a specific country, state, region, community, neighborhood, building, institution, or home. Details such as dialect, clothing, customs, and modes of transportation are often used to establish setting. In most stories, the setting serves as a backdrop – a context in which the characters interact. The setting of a story often helps to create a particular mood, or feeling.
PLOT Plot is the sequence of events. The first event causes the second, the second causes the third, and so forth. In most novels, dramas, short stories, and narrative poems, the plot involves both characters and a central conflict. The plot usually begins with an exposition that introduces the setting, the characters, and the basic situation. This is introduced and developed. The conflict then increases until it reaches a high point of interest or suspense, the climax. The climax is followed by the falling action, or end, of the central conflict. Any events that occur during the falling action make up the resolution
PLOT The sequence or order of events in a story. The plot includes:
Exposition Statement - The part of the plot that tells how the story begins. Rising Action - The action in the story leading up to the climax. Conflict - Struggles or problems between opposing forces.
More PLOT Climax - The point of crisis in the plot. It may be the reader’s point of highest interest. Falling action - The action in the story after the climax is revealed. Resolution - The part of the plot that reveals the final outcome.
Suspense Suspense is the growing interest and excitement readers experience while awaiting a climax or resolution in a work of literature. It is a feeling of anxious uncertainty about the outcome of events. Writers create suspense by raising questions in the minds of their readers.
Unexpected Events OCCUR WHEN THE AUTHOR CONCLUDES WITH AN EVENT THAT IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT THE READER HAS BEEN LED TO BELIEVE
PLOTLINE Climax Rising Action Falling Action Resolution Exposition
PLOT DIAGRAM Climax Rising Action Conflict Exposition Resolution
Falling Action Exposition Resolution
Theme The theme of a literary work is its central message, concern, or purpose. A theme can usually be expressed as a generalization, or general statement, about people or life. The theme may be stated directly by the writer although it is more often presented indirectly. When the theme is stated indirectly, the reader must figure out the theme by looking carefully at what the work reveals about the people or about life.
Stated Theme THE WRITER OR ONE OF THE CHARACTERS TELLS YOU THE THEME DIRECTLY
Implied Theme THE READER MUST FIGURE OUT WHAT THE THEME IS
Universal Theme A THEME THAT HAS A MEANING AND IMPORTANCE TO PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD. THESE THEMES ARE USUALLY STATED DIRECTLY
Frequently Uses Literary Techniques
Irony THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT IS EXPECTED OR BELIEVED TO BE TRUE
Narrative A STORY
Symbolism A symbol is a person, a place, an activity, or an object that stands for something beyond itself.
Narrator THE PERSON TELLING THE STORY
Hook NARRATIVE DEVICE THAT INITALLY CAPTURES THE READER’S ATTENTION
Foreshadowing Foreshadowing is the author’s use of clues to hint at what might happen later in the story. Writers use foreshadowing to build their readers’ expectations and to create suspense. This is used to help readers prepare for what is to come.
Dialogue CONVERSATION BETWEEN AND AMONG CHARACTERS
Dialect CHARACTERS’ SPEECH WHICH MIMICS EVERYDAY GRAMMAR, PRONUNCIATION, ETC.
Point of View Point of View is the perspective, or vantage point, from which a story is told. It is the relationship of the narrator to the story. First-person is told by a character who uses the first-person pronoun “I”. Third-person limited point of view is the point of view where the narrator uses third-person pronouns such as “he” and “she” to refer to the characters.
1st Person Narrator is a character in the story.
Narrator uses first-person pronouns, I, me, my, we, us, our to refer to himself or herself. Narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of one character and speaks directly to reader.
3rd Person Limited Narrator does not participate in action of story.
Narrator does not refer to himself or herself. Narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of one character, but readers are able to maintain some emotional distance from the character.
3rd Person Omniscient Narrator does not participate in action of story. Narrator does not refer to himself or herself. Narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of all characters; readers get insight into several characters.
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