OBJECTIVES NCSCS Goal 5 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.
THEME The main idea of a literary work, usually expressed as a generalization. SETTING The time and place in which a work of literature happens.
CHARACTERS The people (or actors) in the story. POINT OF VIEW The story teller from whose point of view the story is being told, the narrator.
CHARACTERIZATION The description of the personalities of the characters in the story and the way in which an author reveals their personalities.
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 -C-Climax - The point of crisis in the plot. It may be the reader’s point of highest interest. -F-Falling action (Denouement) - The action in the story after the climax is revealed. -R-Resolution - The part of the plot that reveals the final outcome.
PLOT DIAGRAM R i s i n g A c t i o n F a l l i n g A c t i o n Resolution Climax Exposition Conflict
Point of View First Person: narrator is a character in the story and refers to self as “I.” The story is usually only told from one perspective (is the narrator reliable?) Second Person: narrator addresses “you” directly. (Not necessarily the reader.) Third Person: narrator does not appear in the story as a character. (Three types…)
Three Types of “Third Person” Narrative P.O.V. Omniscient: a non-participating narrator who sees into the mind of all of the characters, moving from one to another as necessary. (The “all-knowing” narrator.) Limited Omniscient: a non-participating narrator who sees the events of the story through the eyes of a single character. Objective: a non-participating narrator who does not enter the mind of any characters, but merely describes the events as they occur.
Literary Elements Conflict/Plot is the struggle found in fiction. Conflict/Plot may be internal or external and is best seen in (1) Man in conflict with another Man (man vs. man): (2) Man in conflict in Nature (man vs. nature); (3) Man in conflict with self (man vs. self). Setting is determining Time and Place in fiction. Mood is the emotional attitude the author takes towards his subject. Tone is the attitude a writer takes towards a subject or character, for example: serious, humorous, sarcastic, ironic, satirical, tongue-in- cheek, solemn, objective.
Literary Elements Continued Figurative Language is a word or phrase that departs from everyday literal language for the sake of comparison, emphasis, clarity, or freshness. Metaphor and simile are the two most commonly used figures of speech. A simile is a comparison of two things using "like" or "as." A metaphor is a comparison of two things that does not use "like" or "as." Dialogue is conversation between characters in a work of literature. Diction is the choice and use of words in speech or writing.
Drawing Inferences Inferences are evidence-based guesses. They are the conclusions a reader draws about the unsaid based on what is actually said. Inferences drawn while reading are much like inferences drawn in everyday life. If your best friend comes in from a blind date and looks utterly miserable, you would probably infer the date was not a success. Drawing inferences while you read requires exactly the same willingness to look at the evidence and come to a conclusion that has not been expressed in words. Only in reading, the evidence for your inference consists solely of words rather than actual events, expressions, or gestures.
Drawing Inferences To pull meaning from the page, readers need to draw all kinds of inferences. They need to infer main ideas; figure out how sentences and paragraphs relate; connect supporting details to main ideas; match pronouns to antecedents (the words to which pronouns refer); understand the function of allusions (references to people and events that are used to make a point); and determine how visual aids contribute to the author's message (This is just a partial list). While it's commonly assumed that writers supply every word readers need to construct meaning, nothing could be further from the truth. Readers almost always help create the texts they read. Those readers who don't draw inferences to fill in gaps in the text are likely to miss or misunderstand the meaning intended by the author So, as you read, use your mind to draw inferences!
CONCLUSION Now that we have identified and defined the elements of a short story, let us use the elements to analyze the stories we will read in this unit.
Dinneen, K. Elements of the Short Story. Retrieved Jun. 19, 2003, from Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute: http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1983/3/83.03.09.x.html Five Elements of a Story. Retrieved Jun. 19, 2003, http://www.teachervision.com/lesson-plans/lesson-2277.html Guevin, D. Short Story Elements. Retrieved Jun. 19, 2003, http://www.uvm.edu/~dguevin/Elements.html