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The Short Story Essay Research Paper A

The Short Story Essay, Research Paper 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.

The Short Story Essay, Research Paper

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.org/exhibits/literature/). 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.org/exhibits/literature/). 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.org/exhibits/literature/). 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.org/exhibits/literature/). 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.

By using the description of the setting Walker relates to her readers the theme of the injustice done to this slave along with what our society has done to many other African Americans.

The tone and feel of the story, and even its meaning, can change radically depending on who is telling the story (?Literature http://www.learner.org/exhibits/literature/).

The ?who? in ?who is telling the story?, is the point of view from which the story is being told. There are a number of different vantage-points that a story is told. There is objective, first, third, and omniscient points of view.

With the objective point of view, the writer tells what is going on and does not give any hints to the theme that cannot already be guessed by the reader. In the first person point of view, the narrator participates in the action of the story, but what the narrator is recounting might not be the objective truth. In the third person point of view the narrator does not participate in the action of the story as one of the characters, but lets us know exactly how the characters feel. A narrator who knows everything about all the characters is all knowing, or omniscient.

All the elements of the short story: plot, characters, theme and setting, combined with the point of view from which the story is told, all serve one main purpose. It is for the whole reason, by definition, of writing a short story that the author wishes to make a social comment. The writer has noticed something about our society and hopes to make their readers aware of their concept of a social issue.

Bibliography

1. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition copyright ? 1999 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated http://www.m-w.com/dictionary.htm

2. “Literature” Copyright 1997 Annenberg/CPB http://www.learner.org/exhibits/literature/

3. Rise B. Axelrod and Charles R. Cooper St. Martins Guide to Writing, Fifth edition, Copyright 1997, St. Martin?s Press, Inc., New York

1. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition copyright ? 1999 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated http://www.m-w.com/dictionary.htm

2. “Literature” Copyright 1997 Annenberg/CPB http://www.learner.org/exhibits/literature/

3. Rise B. Axelrod and Charles R. Cooper St. Martins Guide to Writing, Fifth edition, Copyright 1997, St. Martin?s Press, Inc., New York

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