THE SHORT STORY MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY A brief look at the modern and contemporary eras of literature.
HISTORY • Date back to the oral traditions of the Greeks and Anglo-Saxons • Roman Anecdotes or Parables most ancient form of written short story • 14th century – Oral tradition began to develop into written stories
FAMOUS SHORT STORIES • Shirley Jackson – “The Lottery” • Chaucer – “The Canterbury Tales” • Aesop – “Aesop’s Fables” • Grimm Brothers – “The Grimm Fairytales” • Washington Irving – “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
REQUIREMENTS • Longer than 1,000 but shorter than 20,000 words • Should be able to read in one sitting • Story generally starts in media res (middle of action) • Less complex than novels • May not have a complete resolution for characters
TYPES OF STORIES • Micro-Fiction – Stories shorter than 1,000 words • Fables or Parables – Stories with a moral • Novella – Stories generally longer than 20,000 words • Vignette – Short one-scene story that gives a distinct • impression about a character, place, or object
TYPES OF STORIES • Drabble – Stories shorter than 100 words • Sketch Story – Stories shorter than a short story, but • contain very little, if any, plot • Novelette – Stories longer than 7,500 and 17,499 • words (not a frequently used term)
ELEMENTS • Setting • Plot • Characterization • Conflict • Climax • Resolution • Theme • Point of View
SETTING Where the story is set or taking place Questions to remember: How does this affect the story? Is this important to the story? Why is this important to the story?
PLOT • The events within a story • Exposition – introduces main characters and setting • RisingAction – conflict is introduced • Climax – Turning point of the story; main character • performs in a way that defines who they are as a person • Falling Action – Loose ends are starting to be tied up • Denouement – Resolution; final confrontations that • determine outcome of story
CONFLICT • The struggle between characters and their motives • man vs. society - main character in is opposition to • social traditions or concepts • man vs. self – main character has a problem with • himself or herself • man vs. character – conflict between two like • characters (Judah and Messala in Ben-Hur)
CONFLICT • man vs. nature - main character in is opposition to • forces of nature (2012 and the book Hatchet) • man vs. machine/technology – main character is against man-made entities which may possess intelligence (Terminator and Bladerunner) • man vs. fate – one attempts to break free of a pre-determined path; also fate vs. freewill (Macbeth)
CLIMAX Turning point in the story at the highest tension or when the action starts in which the solution is given In modern stories, it is the final battle between the hero and the villain Star Wars: Episode 3 – Luke and Obi-Wan are fighting on a platform over river of molten lava Also could be an epiphany the main character experiences, especially if there is no main villain A Beautiful Mind
CLIMAX Anti-Climax Something that would appear to be difficult to solve in a plot is solved through something trivial. For example, destroying a heavily guarded facility would require advanced technology, teamwork, and weaponry for a climax, but for an anti-climax it may consist of pushing a red button that says “Emergency Self-Destruct” or sending out an eviction notice. (War of the Worlds)
RESOLUTION The conclusion of the story Gives the story a sense of catharsis (release of tension) Lord of the Rings Most modern works do not have a resolution and they end abruptly. Lord of the Flies – when the adults arrive Cloverfield – bomb dropped to destroy city
CHARACTER • Representation of a person in a work of art • Protagonist – main character of the story • Antagonist – character who poses as opposition • Hero – characters who, in face of adversity, show • courage and the will of self-sacrifice for greater good • Anti-Hero – main character who shows qualities • opposite of the hero
CHARACTER • Representation of a person in a work of art • Stock Character – character based on local stereotypes • Villain – character who is evil, generally malicious • Dynamic – characters that undergo a significant • change throughout the story • Static – characters show little or no change
THEME The main idea, moral, or message of a story that explores timeless and universal ideas that are almost always implied rather than stated expressly. Green Eggs and Ham – “Keep an open mind.” Crime does not pay. Love is the worthiest of all pursuits. Death is part of the cycle of life. Sacrifice and hard work bring the greatest rewards.
POINT OF VIEW The set of methods the author of a story uses to convey the plot to the audience. Also called the narrative mode. Not only who tells the story, but how the story is described or expressed.
NARRATION First Person – narrated by one person at a time, speaking for and about themselves (Frankenstein) Second Person – the protagonist is referred to by “you” Alternating Person – the author uses both a first person point of view as well as an omniscient third person point of view (Harry Potter series)
NARRATION Third Person view – narrator is an unspecified entity or uninvolved person that conveys the story; they are not a character Third Person Subjective – when the narrator conveys the feelings of one or more characters. Third Person Objective – a narrator who tells a story without describing any character thoughts or feelings; it gives an objective, unbiased point of view.
NARRATION Third Person Omniscient – a narrator who is not involved directly in the story, but still knows all the thoughts and feelings of all the characters Stream-of-Consciousness – narrator attempts to replicate the thought processes (not just the actions and words) of a character (generally first person perspective) Unreliable – the use of non-credible or untrustworthy narrator (psychologically unstable, ignorant, childish, purposefully trying to deceive the audience, extreme bias)