English 2 Short Stories Unit Overview and Literary Terms Definitions Why have a whole unit about short stories? Readers need to practice using academic vocabulary in ways that deepen their understanding of how stories work. Emphasizing the connection between reading and writing gives readers the opportunity to apply the literary terminology related to plot structures to short stories that they read together and individually. But why do I have to learn literary terms? Literature is one of the domains that has its own vocabulary, and we all need to agree on the meaning of terms we use to talk about what we’re reading. Would you want a brain surgeon to operate on you who said, “Oh, I’m going to use this thingamajig to cut a hole in your whatchamacallit.” ? What does is this quote trying to teach us? “But always he lacked the essential tool without which the workman can never attain true mastery: he did not know the names of any of the parts he was building, and without the name he was artistically incomplete. It was not by accident that doctors and lawyers and butchers invented specific but secret names for the things they did; to possess the name was to know the secret. With correct names one entered into a new world of proficiency, became the member of an arcane brotherhood, a sharer of mysteries, and in the end a performer of merit. Without the names on remained a bumbler or, in the case of boatbuilding, a mere carpenter.” James Michener, Chesapeake Universal Themes A Universal Theme is a theme common in many books and is understood by a wide audience. Universal themes we will study in this unit: Life-altering choices Challenging expectations Expecting the unexpected Why do we consider essential questions? Essential questions help readers by stimulating thought provoking inquiry sparking more questions Over-riding essential question This is the question you should consider throughout the unit, and in truth, throughout life. Remember EVERY story has a motivation behind it… “How does an author’s purpose affect the story he or she tells?” Plot: The action in the story. Character Traits: The means by which an author establishes character. An author may directly describe the appearance and personality of character or show it through action or dialogue. Round character A character who has many traits and feels like “real” Flat character A character who has only one or two character traits and doesn’t inspire an emotional reaction Static character A character who remains the same despite the action that occurs in the story Dynamic character A character who changes as a result of the action in the story First-person narrator: The point of view of writing which the narrator refers to himself or herself as “I.” Third-Person Limited Narrator: The narrator, who plays no part in the story, zooms in on the thoughts and feelings of just one character. With this point of view, we observe the action through the eyes and with the feelings of this one character. Foreshadowing: A technique in which an author gives clues about something that will happen later in the story. Theme: The central idea of a work. Setting: The time and place in which a story occurs. Unreliable Narrator: An unreliable narrator does not always know what is happening in the story, or he or she might be lying or telling us only part of the story. Irony: Irony occurs when something is said or happens that is not what is meant or expected. Dramatic Irony When the reader or audience knows something about which the character or characters are unaware Romeo, WAIT!!! She isn’t really dead!!! Situational Irony When something happens that is opposite of what we would have expected Verbal Irony When something is said that is contrary to what is meant She’s really ACTIVE! Ambiguity Symbolism The use of concrete objects to stand for abstract ideas Third-Person Omniscient Narrator: The person telling the story knows everything there is to know about the characters and their problems. This allknowing narrator can tell us about the past, the present, and the future of all the characters. He or she can even tell us what the characters are thinking. The omniscient narrator is like a god telling the story. Allegory: A story in which all of the elements represent abstract qualities or ideas. A work that makes fun of something or someone. Protagonist: The main character who faces the central conflict. Antagonist: The person or force working against the main character (protagonist) Exposition: A literary device used to introduce background information about events, settings, characters etc. to the audience or readers. Rising action: A worsening of the conflict until the climax of the work. Climax: The most emotionally tense part of the plot. Falling action: Events that take place after the climax and lead to the resolution. Resolution: The result of the conflict. Point of view: The view point from which the story is told.