ENGL 2P56 1
10 September 2013
The Short Story: Lecture Two
What is a short story?
What is a good short story?
A story is told from someone’s perspective (or point of view)
It manufactures suspense of some kind
Engages readers viscerally (to smaller or greater extent)
Embodiment, emotional engagement with the text
How we empathize and engage with characters
To make the reader think and feel
And does so to some purpose or effect or end (for example, work at rhetoric)
But what does a good story do?
Draw us into a parallel world that we become immersed in
There must be enough detail so that the reader can imagine it
The reader feels or sees themselves “there”
Feel compelled to linger in or revisit
Because it employs/exerts language
In length and complexity
In emphasizing plot/suspense, character, setting/atmosphere
On focus on structure and mechanics (ways of telling)
In priority of thought more than feeling; or vice versa
In degree of realism, fantasy, or metafiction
Can a short story be a quality story?
Can they do more then just entertain us?
Can we engage with fiction that doesn’t engage with us?
Because there isn’t enough space to sufficiently create a character or character development
Short Story Theory
Charles May says we cannot define a short story in term of shortness
It is relative
Its more useful to think of a short story as fiction that has been polished and removed of excess
Short stories are automatically neatly structured and polished in execution
It used to be thought that a short story deri