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Reference Guide

Understanding the Short Story - Reference Guides

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Computer Science
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Award Winning Professors Series 2Understanding The Short Story3Understanding The Short Story Understanding The Short StoryUnderstanding The Short Story TM permacharts THE EVOLUTION OF THE SHORT STORY (cont.)STEPS TO ANALYSING SHORT FICTION (cont.) observation, arguing that in a wellcrafted short THE MODERN SHORT STORY Names of characters, or their titles, can be helpful. Some stories do not have much, if any, plot at all. tory nothingis irrelevant; everything has been s Some plots seem, at first What constitutes a modern short story? The most ook for puns, or plays on mL UNDERSTANDING UNDERSTANDING included deliberately, contributing to the authors lance, to be trivial, as in g obvious answers are: words, in a characters name. In preestablished design or purpose. Joyces Araby, (1914), Joseph Conrads The Secret mIt is a narrative work. bout a young boys a THE SHORT STORY THE SHORT STORY The Irish writer James Joyce (18821941)expanded harer,(1912), a ships captain S mIt is written in prose. seemingly inconsequential n this in his concept of the epiphany, a climactic o escues a mysterious man from r t must be short. mI trip to a bazaar to buy a moment where the significance of the the ocean named Leggatt; in There is no firmly set maximum length, but some his Permachart provides the reader with a framework to use when rinket for a girl he knows. t torys events is made clear to a s enry James The Turn of the H ritics have argued that, to qualify as a short story, c reading short stories, which can then be used to approach all T Others merely consist of a character in a moment of (often Screw,one character is named it must be too short to be published by itself (as a ther forms of literature critically. The examples of short fiction o single conversation tragic) selfdiscovery. Mrs. Grose. Both names invite ovel could be); others argue that this definition is n used in this Permachart can be found on the internet. etween a man and a b the reader to think about the While not all stories fall into this too restrictive, and would exclude famous novellas woman waiting for a train, possible implications in these pattern, all are very carefully such as Henry James The Turn of the Screw,(1898), as in Hemingways Hills Like names. crafted,and virtually or Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness,(1899), works WHY ARE SHORT STORIES IMPORTANT? White Elephants,(1927). everythingcharacters, that are not usually considered novels, yet are mSometimes, characters may be known only by In cases where there is little, if any, explicit plot setting, images and longer than the typical short story. their official titles (The Chief of Police), or by Although short stories deal with fictional The short story, a literary form that has its origins (or, if the story merely relates one incident, such symbols, word choiceis the first letter of their names (G). Ask Edgar Allan Poe (18091849), a master of short material, the way they convey that material to in antiquity, is taught in English courses from as a conversation), ask why the author chose not there for a reason. yourself why the author has chosen not to fiction, was the first critic to discuss short stories usone person telling another a storyis grade school through university. Learning how to feature one. providemore information. Is a sense of mystery In this sense, responding to a from a theoretical perspective. Poe believed the essentially the same process whereby we receive short stories work can be a very enriching established, and if so, to what purpose? mLack of plot is a clear indication that the short story requires careful, short story should be brief enough to be read in information on a daily basis, most of it from experience, one that can help us respond to If a major figure lacks any name or title, ask what author believed that to detail a sequence of close, reading. These skills one sitting. While this point is open to debate sources whose credibility is unknown to us. information we receive from many sources, the implications of this anonymity are: what does events would get in the way of other, more are similar to those we bring (few today could read Heart of Darknessin throughout our lives. Authors of short stories often provide the reader not having a name tell us about that persons important issues; in such cases, the reader is to the analysis of a poem. one sitting), Poe went on to make a more incisive with cluessuch as inconsistencies or contradictions In addition to the knowledge we gain about the selfesteem, his or her sense of identity, or moral meant to look for significance in other areas. in a story, or evidence that suggests the world from our direct experience, we learn a nature (if anything)? mIf the story consists merely of a conversation STEPS TO ANALYSING SHORT FICTION storyteller may not be entirely trustworthythat great deal from information told to us in between two or three people, look for infor encourage us to question the information we are narrative form, by various types of narrators. IMAGERY mation embedded in the story that explains The title to Poes The Fall of the House of Usher, When encountering a short story for the first time: receiving: in short, to respond critically. Often, the sources of these narrativesparents, As you read, look for images and image patterns. why the conversation is taking place. (1839), with its implications of destruction, in the Ask yourself why its various features were included close friends, etc.can be trusted. But how do As you familiarize yourself with the techniques mImages from the world of nature are often word fall and the obvious double meaning in the as they appear, and the implications of those THE CHARACTERS we determine the credibility of a narrator, such as used by these authors, the skills developed in important, and references to the amount of word house (the dwelling and the family), features. What is the importance of: the author of an article in a newspaper or When examining the characters in a tale or a analyzing short fiction can be applied to all other light andor darkness in a scene can be particu cannot help but invite you to see the house as a mThe title. magazine, or a person we dont know very well, short story ask: forms of information you encounter daily, be it a larly relevant. symbolic reflection of the Ushers. mThe various characters and their names.If they if at all? television commentator, a newspaper or magazine mWho are they? mHouses and furniture can also have symbolic Some titles, however, are deliberately bland, such have names, why; if not, why not? article, or a biographical or historical work. mWhat is their relationship with each other? significance, and even characters wardrobes as Alice Munros Boys and Girls,(1968). mThe plot.If there is a plot, why; if not, why not? mWhat is their effect on the plot? may provide clues to their personalities. mThe images that seem conspicuous.Do they Others can be deceptively bland, like Shirley THE EVOLUTION OF THE SHORT STORY have significance beyond their literal meaning? Jacksons The Lottery,(1948). Whether overtly TALE VS. SHORT STORY mThe form of narration.First person or third? intriguing or disarmingly bland, the title is usually short narrative, and included everything from Short stories are doubtless the oldest narrative mThe ending.Does there seem to be a resolution important. form. The earliest stories probably grew out of THE SHORT STORY While it is often difficult to make a clear distinction fables(short animal stories with morals) to the of the major issues and conflicts in the story? if attempts to explain the world around us. Why parablesof Jesus (sophisticated narratives between a realistic short story and a fantastic tale, The short story tends to be grounded in everyday THE PLOT not, why not? the seasons changed, why thunder and lightning concerned with spiritual or moral issues). stories do generally fall within one of these two types: reality, and depicts individuals interacting mConsult a dictionary. See if there are meanings A plot simply consists of those causally related occurred, why people grew old: The 14th Century saw the realistically, in situations that the reader can easily embedded in the names of persons, places, or series of events within the story that occur over a THE TALE stories provided explanations that emergence of such masters of see could take place, given the storys premises. things that might prove helpful. period of time. usually involved beings such as gods The tale is clearly fanciful and makes no attempt short narratives as Giovanni mSpeculate.Why does some information or animals, with supernatural The images and symbols will Most, but not all, short stories to present the reader with slices of everyday Boccaccio (The Decameron)and seem to have been left out? What was powers. tend to be easily recognizable have a plot, but not all are told reality, or employ logical or believable Geoffrey Chaucer (The the authors reason for withholding Originally, these stories were chronologically (i.e., in strict objects from the real world. sequences of events. Canterbury Tales). These works seemingly crucial facts? recited, often in verse form, to a temporal sequence). In this kind of story we do not consist of a number of short Fairy tales are a good example of this largely, if not entirely, illiterate THE TITLE Most stories employ flashbacks, normally expect to see tales set within a larger fictional type of short fiction. The situations audience. Such stories eventually together with anticipations and Look at the title of the story for its fantastic elements, although frame. The Canterbury Talesis a described are of a purely fantastic nature, became the basis of myths(from foreshadowing, where the possible relevance. Henry James vaguely ghost and horror stories, as story of a group of pilgrims and we would never expect such events or mythos: the Greek word for narrator will tell a story much as unsettling title, The Turn of the Screw, telling stories, as they travel, to well as much science fiction, story). characters to be encountered in the real world. we would, mentioning events in forces us to question its meaning. Does amuse themselves. can be placed in settings that The passage of time saw the Many 20th century authors, such order of their importance, for it refer to simply turning a screw, or is do not violate the conventions It was not until the 19th Century development of different kinds of as Franz Kafka and Juan Luis Borges, example, rather than in the there a hint of the thumbscrew, the of logical and psychological that recognizably modern fall into this group. order they occurred. instrument of torture? short stories appeared. realism. 20072012 Mindsource Technologies Inc. 20072012 Mindsource Technologies Inc. 20072012 Mindsource Technologies Inc. 20072012 Mindsource Technologies Inc. 20072012 Mindsource Technologies Inc. 20072012 Mindsource Technologies Inc.
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