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The Short Story . What is a Short Story?. A short fictional narrative; the plots are generally brief and uncomplicated. What is the Plot?. Plot: Series of related events that make up a story (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution). Characterization.

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What is a short story
What is a Short Story?

  • A short fictional narrative; the plots are generally brief and uncomplicated.

What is the plot
What is the Plot?

  • Plot: Series of related events that make up a story (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution)


  • The creation and development of a character(s); often the reader learns about the character through description, dialogue, actions, or reactions


  • Direct Characterization

    • The author directly tells/stateswhat the character’s personality is like or what the character looks like. Example: cruel, kind

  • Indirect Characterization

    • The author showsa character’s personality through his/her actions, thoughts, feelings, words, appearance or other character’s observations or reactions


  • Character – a person in a story, poem, or play

    • Main Character- the most important character in a story, often called the protagonist

    • Minor Character- the other characters in a story who interact with the main character and help move the story along


  • Types of Characters:

    • Round- a character who is fully developed, has many different character traits (dynamic)

    • Flat- a character who is often stereotyped, one-dimensional, few traits (static)

    • Static – a character who does not change (flat)

    • Dynamic– a character who changes as a result of the story's events (round)


  • Types of Characters (continued):

    • Stock- a type of flat character who falls into an immediate recognizable category or type (absent-minded professor, dumb blonde)

    • Secondary- a supporting character; while not prominent the character is important to the events in the story

    • Tragic- a character who posses a flaw or commits an error in judgment which leads to his or her downfall or reversal of fortune


  • The hero or main character of the story; he or she will often go through a change- death is not a change

    • the most important character

    • changes and grows because of experiences in the story


  • A major character who opposes the protagonist

    • the antagonist does not change

  • Types of antagonists:

    • people

    • nature

    • society


  • Section of a story which introduces the characters, the setting, and the conflict(s)


  • A struggle between two opposing forces. It produces tension and drives the action of the plot

  • Types

    • Internal – takes place within a character

      • 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. Supernatural


  • When and where a story takes place

Rising action
Rising Action

  • A series of complications which reveals the problem or conflict in a story

  • These occur when the main characters take action to resolve their problems and are met with further problems:

    • Fear

    • Hostility

    • Threatening situation


  • The turning point in the story: the high point of interest and/or suspense


Rising Action or Complications

Falling Action

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.


  • The end of the central conflict: it shows how the situation turns out and ties up loose ends

  • Also called the Denoument

Point of view
Point of View

  • Vantage point from which a story is told

    • First person- Told by a narrator who is a character in the story and uses the pronoun “I”

    • First person unreliable- a narrator who is biased and doesn’t give an accurate picture of the events due to youth, madness, or inexperience

    • Second person- Rarely used, the story is told using the pronoun “you,” which casts the reader as a character in the story

Point of view1
Point of View

  • Third person limited- Told by the narrator who uses third person pronouns (he, she, it). This narrator usually is privy to the thoughts and actions of one character

  • Third person omniscient- told by the narrator using third person pronouns. This narrator is privy to the thoughts and actions of all the characters

  • Objective narrator- a narrator/character who recounts only what characters say and do offering no insight to their thinking or analysis of events


  • The central idea or lesson about life that an author conveys in a piece of literature; sometimes the them is obvious, in most stories the them is not directly stated. It is conveyed through the character’s thoughts, actions, or sequence of events.


  • A scene in a narrative that is set in the present but is interrupted to a previous time. Allows the reader to see actions that occurred in the past that may or may not have effected a character’s behavior.


  • A plot device in which future events are hinted at

  • The writer puts clues in the story to give the reader a hint of what is to come


  • An object, person, or event that functions as itself, but also stands for something more than itself

    • Example: A scales function is to weigh things,

      but they are also a symbol

      of our justice system

Figurative language
Figurative Language

  • Involves some imaginative comparison between two unlike things:

    • Simile – comparing two unlike things using like or as

      • “I wandered lonely as a cloud”

    • Metaphor – comparing two unlike things (not using like or as)

      • Life is a roller coaster, it has lots of ups and downs

Figurative language1
Figurative Language

  • Personification – Giving human qualities to non-human things

    • “The wind howled”


  • A contrast between appearances and reality- usually one in which reality is the opposite of what is expected; to say one thing but mean another


  • Verbal Irony – occurs when a speaker says one thing but means something else; sarcasm

  • Situational Irony – A contradiction between what we expect to happen and what really does happen in a story

  • Dramatic Irony – occurs when the reader knows something important that the characters in the story do not know


  • A reference in a story or poem to another work of literature, art, history, current event, famous person, or place.


  • A literary device that uses tension to make the plot more exciting; uncertainty or anxiety the reader feels about what is going to happen next in a story


  • Language that appeals to the senses, a mental picture

    • Touch

    • Taste

    • Sight

    • Sound

    • Smell