Everything You Need To Know About…Elements of the Short Story & Edgar Allan Poe
What is a Short Story? • a brief work of fiction where, usually, the main character faces a conflict that is worked out in the plot of the story
Setting • The time and location where the story takes place. • It includes: • Place • Time • Weather • Social Conditions • Mood/Atmosphere
Character • Character – a person in a story, poem or play. • There are 2 types of characters: • Antagonist • Protagonist
Protagonist • Main character of the story that changes • (death is not a change) • the most important character • changes and grows because of experiences in the story
Antagonist • A major character who opposes the protagonist • the antagonist does not change • Types of antagonists: • people • nature • society
Characterization • How the author develops the characters, especially the main character. • This is done through: • what the character does or says • what others say of and to the character • author’s word choice in descriptive passages
Characterization • Direct characterization • The author directly states what the character’s personality is like. Example: cruel, kind • Indirect characterization • Showing a character’s personality through his/her actions, thoughts, feelings, words, appearance or other character’s observations or reactions
Plot Structure • Series of related events that make up a story. Climax Rising Action Falling Action Introduction Denouement
Introduction • Section that introduces characters, the setting, and conflicts.
Rising Action • Consists of a series of complications. • These occur when the main characters take action to resolve their problems and are met with further problems: • Fear • Hostility • Threatening situation
Climax • The turning point in the story: the high point of interest and suspense Climax Rising Action or Complications Falling Action
Falling Action • All events following the climax or turning point in the story. These events are a result of the action taken at the climax.
Resolution • A.K.A. Denouement • The end of the central conflict: it shows how the situation turns out and ties up loose ends
Theme • The central message or insight into life revealed through a literary work. • The “main idea” of the story that the author is trying to convey. • This may be the author’s view on a topic or on human nature as a whole.
Conflict • A struggle between two opposing forces • Types • Internal – takes place in a character’s own mind • Man vs. Him(Her)self • External – a character struggles against an outside force • Man vs. Man • Man vs. Nature • Man vs. Technology/Progress • Man vs. Society • Man vs. Fate
Point of View • Vantage point from which the writer tells the story. • First person- One of the characters is actually telling the story using the pronoun “I” • Third person- Focuses on one character’s thoughts and actions. • Omniscient- All knowing narrator. Can focus on the thoughts any actions of any and all characters.
Foreshadowing • Clues the writer puts in the story to give the reader a hint of what is to come.
Flashback • The present scene in the story is interrupted to flash backward and tell what happened in an earlier time.
Symbolism • An object, person, or event that functions as itself, but also stands for something more than itself. • Example: Scales function is to weigh things, but they are also a symbol of our justice system. • Sometimes easily understood, other times it is a complex use of symbols that only can make sense later in the story.
Irony • A contrast between expectation and reality • Verbal Irony – saying one thing but meaning something completely different. • Situational Irony – A contradiction between what we expect to happen and what really does happen • Dramatic Irony – occurs when the reader knows something important that the characters in the story do not know.
Allusion • Reference to a statement, person, a place, or events from: • Literature • History • Religion • Mythology • Politics • Sports
Depressed is an Understatement! • Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1809, one of three children born to a couple who toured the as actors. • Before he was three years old, his father had abandoned the family, and his mother had died of tuberculosis. • John and Francis Allan, took Poe to their home in Richmond, Virginia and became his foster parents.
Disobedient and Rebellious • 1826, he started at the University of Virginia, where his reckless habits led to heavy debt, forcing him to leave school. • He moved to Boston, where he published his first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems in 1827. • In 1828, he was flat broke and enlisted into the army. John Allan got him an appointment at West Point, but he found the school confining and did anything he could to be expelled.
Nomadic Life • After getting kicked out of West Point, he moved to Baltimore to live with his aunt and her young daughter Virginia. There he began writing short stories. • In 1834, he moved to Richmond to work for the Southern Literary Messenger. His reviews in it increased in the magazine’s circulation. • In 1836, Poe married his cousin and they moved to New York City. • After publishing another short novel, he moved again to Philadelphia.
Philly Started His Success • He was most productive here. • In 1839 he was the editor of Burton’s Gentlemen’s Magazine but was fired in 1840. • His first collection of short stories was published, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. • He attempted to begin his own literary magazine, but it failed. • He then started working as an editor for Graham’s Magazine, where he published the first detective story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”.
With Success Comes Tragedy • Virginia, who had been battling illness since 1842, died. • In the years following Virginia’s death, Poe struggled with despair as well as his own failing health. • He became obsessed with morbid thoughts, especially ones about death and murder. • He moved back to Baltimore in 1849, where his health declined quickly.
Rumor Has It • He collapsed on a Baltimore street where he was taken to a hospital. He died a few days later. • There are many rumors associated with Poe’s death: • Drugs • Alcoholism • Being Poisoned • Rabies
The Man, The Myth, The Legend • Today, Poe is recognized as a master of poetry, a superb writer of short stories, and a profound explorer of the torments of the human soul. • He wrote only one novel, around 50 poems, and 70 short stories.