The Short Story Elements and Analytical Approaches
What is a short story? • It’s a piece of prose fiction, usually under 10,000 words, which can be read at one sitting. • Artistically, a short story is intended to create an impression via character, conflict, theme, setting, symbols and point of view. Every detail contributes to this one impression – a unity of effect. • A short story is personal -- a part of the author -- and today is more concerned with character than action.
What are the elements of the short story?List them with your partner. • Style • Tone • Point of View • Characterization • Irony • Theme • Plot • Symbolism
Characterization • There is direct characterization, where the author comes right out and tells the reader what a certain character is like. . . • “For he was a quiet man, not given to talking about himself and the things he had done.” --Maurice Walsh. • More effective is indirect characterization -- In this case, the author gives certain information and lets readers draw their own conclusions regarding the character of a person in the story – • Think of some examples of indirect characterization with your partner.
Irony • Irony is a literary technique by which, through characterization or plot, the writer indicates something opposite to what is stated -- • 1. Rhetorical (verbal) irony -- saying the opposite of what is meant. Writer may use this method to reveal a character’s weaknesses, prejudices, etc. • 2. Dramatic, tragic, or situational irony -- reader knows more about the situation than the character -- giving a second meaning for the reader. • 3. Cosmic (fate) irony -- destiny controls one’s fate -- where one has little influence or significance -- a soldier returns from war and is killed in a car accident, etc. • What are some examples of each?
Symbolism • A symbol is something that stands for something else. Such as: the cross standing for Christianity or the Star of David standing for Judaism. There are conventional symbols. In addition, there are natural symbols. Such as the sun standing for knowledge, shadows for distrust, etc. • Symbols are much used in short stories. They may be people, objects, or the action itself to symbolize meaning -- such as death, love, grief. • Often symbolism is personal to the author and may be hard to decipher. In these cases, the reader may need to know about the author’s background. • Note: Don’t confuse symbol with metaphor. “Joe is a peacock” is a metaphor in which Joe is the subject and peacock is the vehicle. A symbol is based on the vehicle; that is, peacock could symbolize vanity.
Plot • What are the six stages of plot?
Theme • The theme is the meaning or purpose of the story. A theme should— • Be specific to the story. • Be universal. • Provide unity to the story. • Be an integral part of the story. • Present a new awareness of life.
Point of View • What are the five methods of narration?
Tone • The tone is how the writer feels about his/her characters and his/her plot. It may be • light, romantic, sympathetic, ironic, pensive, and is usually described by adjectives. • Tone is set by -- • Action (i.e., a brutal murder sets a morbid tone). • Choice of details in presenting facts. • Author’s style -- figurative language, diction, rhythm, sounds.
Style • What are the elements of an authors style?
Read “The Story of an Hour” • Read the story once for understanding, then re-read it, focusing on the aspect assigned to you. First, analyze how your assigned element functions in the text. Then explain how it contributes to the text as a whole. Remember all of these work for a unity of concept. • 1. Style • 2. Tone • 3. Point of View • 4. Characterization • 5. Irony • 6. Theme • 7. Plot • 8. Symbolism
LRJ • Work with a partner to complete the LRJ for “A Story of an Hour.” be prepared to discuss it with the class.
Complete one of the maybe’s be prepared to share with the class. • What aspects of the short story are shared with other forms (like novels) what aspects or qualities are found particularly in short stories?
LEQ: How do authors use literary devices to convey meaning and tone? • Warm-Up: Review your notes from the last class and your homework. Be prepared to summarize the key events of “A Story of an Hour” and to share your insights regarding the literary elements you analyzed and its relationship to the meaning of the story as a whole.
Share what you have learned. • Count of in 5’s. • With your partner, draw a plot diagram and label it with events from “A Story of an Hour.” • Things to consider: • Does the plot follow the generic pattern of Freytag’s pyramid, or is it something different? If it is different, what makes it so?
Present your findings • You will present to the class your findings regarding your element and its relation to “A story of an hour.” • Process: • You will present your findings to the class. • Be sure to state which aspect you analyzed, how it contributed to the effect of unity in the story, and its effect on the story as a whole. • Others will be required to listen and respond thoughtfully to other’s thoughts. Constructive comments and suggestions only!
Short Story Web and Literary Response Journal Template • Take three minutes to individually review the Short Story Web and the Response Journal Template. • These are models that you can use to guide your analysis, discussion and writing on short stories. • Take the time to compare the components that are exemplified on these model documents with the work you did for homework. • List the things you included that match the aspects on these sheets. Be prepared to discuss ALL of the aspects considered on the models that you could have used, but didn’t. • You have 5 minutes to individually prepare your response
Literary Response Journal • This is the form you will use to analyze all short stories from here on out. • Follow the instructions on the LRJ. • Be sure you use the model LRJ and the Short Story Web to be sure that you are including every aspect of what every you are analyzing. Doing this will not only give ideas on what to explore, but will also enable you to have as thorough a response as possible. • If you are analyzing an aspect on a short story and you don’t know what something in the model LRJ or Short story web mean, look it up. Chances are it will show up on a quiz or the AP exam! (and, of course, it will make your smarter).
Assignment #1: DUE WEDNESDAY • You are to revise your element analysis using the LRJ format. Be sure to use the model LRJ and Short Story Web to create as complete a response as possible. Post this under “A Story of an Hour revision.”
Assignment #2 DUE WEDNESDAY • Define and give examples for the first 10 words on the vocabulary list. • This should go in the exam prep section of your binder.
Assignment #3 DUE WEDNESDAY • Read “The Yellow Wallpaper.” • Complete a LRJ, hard copy, to be submitted at the beginning of class Wednesday. • Again, be sure that whatever “maybe” you focus on, that you consult the model LRJ and story web to be sure that your answer is as complete as possible.