Intro to Short Stories PPT

Elements Include:
 Character
 Plot
 Setting
 Theme
 Definition: An individual represented in a work of
literature. Characters are defined by:
 what the narrator says
 what others say
 what the character him/herself says.
 Thoughts
 Actions
 Protagonist: The main character in the story; from the
Greek: “first actor; the protagonist usually is trying to
achieve something.
 Antagonist: The character against which the
protagonist struggles or contends; blocks the desires of
the protagonist.
 Foil: A character that serves by contrast to highlight or
emphasize opposing traits in another character
Characters are Static or
 Characters that are static do not grow or change over
the course of the story.
 Dynamic characters do grow over the course of the
Characters are Flat or
 Round characters are complex and life-like, drawn with
 Flat characters are built around a single idea or
 Conflict is defined as the opposition between two
characters, between two large groups of people, or
between the protagonist and a larger problem such as
forces of nature, ideas, public mores, and so on.
Conflict may also be completely internal, such as the
protagonist making a decision or coming to terms with
 Internal Conflict occurs inside a character: i.e. making
a choice, coming to terms with something, or
overcoming a personal problem.
 Janie can’t decide what shoes to put on this morning.
 Nadine is torn between applying early decision to Yale
or Brown.
 External Conflict: between two individuals, between
the individual and society, between the individual and
a force of nature.
 Nathan wants to watch Toy Story; Simone wants Care
 Simone likes to keep her toys safe; Nathan likes to
break them.
 Exposition: also called basic situation
 Complication (inciting incident)
 Rising action
 Climax
 Falling action
 Resolution (Denouement)
 Also called “situation”
 The introduction of the materials in the story: the main
characters, the setting, and the hint of conflict
 Example from Everyday Use?
Inciting Incident
 The onset and development of the major conflict.
 The complication is introduced by the inciting
incident, and is developed by the rising action.
 Example from Everyday Use?
Rising action
 The onset and development of tension as the conflict
 Example from Everyday Use?
 A character makes a decision, a discovery, or a decisive
action which resolves the conflict
 Example from Everyday Use?
Falling Action
 Events that occur immediately after the climax
 Example from Everyday Use?
Resolution / Denouement
 Loose ends are tied up; conflict is fully resolved
 Example from Everyday Use?
 When and where a story is taking place
 Includes cultural beliefs and assumptions
 “Setting is fate.”
Functions of setting:
 Setting reveals character
 Establishes mood or atmosphere
 Causes / influences action
 Reveals theme
 A feeling, emotional state, or disposition of mind-especially the predominating atmosphere or tone of a
literary work.
 Established by diction, syntax, and descriptive phrases.
 Which stories that we have read have distinctive
 The main idea / message of the text
 In great works of literature, theme is sometimes
ambiguous (supporting divergent perspectives)
 A theme statement is…
 Universal
 A complete sentence
 Supported by the text
A symbol is an object, a setting, an event, an animal, or a
person that stands for something greater than itself,
usually something abstract.
Examples from the stories that we have read?
Point of View
 Omniscient
 First person
 Limited third person
 From what perspective is the story told?
 What is revealed? What is hidden by the narrative voice?
 Omniscient means “all knowing”. The omniscient
narrator is a godlike observer who knows everything
that happens in the story and can see into all of the
characters’ minds.
First person
 Told from the perspective of an “I” who usually
participates in the action.
 The first person POV draws us directly into the story as
if we are talking to a friend.
Third person limited
 The story is told by an outside observer, but the
narrator is not able to see into all characters’ thoughts
and feelings. The narrator might be able to see into
one or more characters’ thoughts and feelings.
 How life-like is the story? How similar is it to the
reality that we know? Verisimilitude (realism) is what
makes us connect to the story and want to read.
 Tone refers to the speaker’s attitude toward the subject
 Tone is revealed through denotation and connotation
 Denotation: the literal, dictionary definition of the
 Connotation: the cultural associations that we make
connected to the word.
“The opposite of what you would expect”
In its original Greek sense, means the pretense of
ignorance in order to ridicule a person or to
expose the truth.
 Situational
 Dramatic
 Cosmic
 Verbal
Situational Irony
 An occurrence in the story’s plot that is the opposite of
what the reader might expect.
Verbal Irony
 When a character says one thing but means another.
 Sarcasm (Gr. to tear flesh) is a type of verbal irony that
uses words in a particularly harsh and cruel way.
Dramatic Irony
 When the reader knows something that a character
does not know.
 Known as “Dramatic” because it is often used on
Cosmic Irony
 Based on the belief that a greater power is toying with
us, that there is no divine empathy for our pain.
 “Man cries, god laughs.”