Analyzing a short story
The basic components of a short story
1. Plot (introduction, conflict, climax, resolution )
The sequence of events or incidents of which the story is composed. In the plot there may be diffferent kinds of conflicts (person agains person – person agains environment – person against him/herself). Artistic unity is essential to a good plot ; nothing irrelevant should be there that does not contribute to the total meaning. A good plot should not have any unjuustified or unexpected turns or twists, no false leads.
* In only a few sentences, what is the basic story line ? * What is the main conflict
* What are the minor conflicts ?
* How are the conflicts related ?
* How are the conflicts related ?
*What/Who caused the conflicts ?
* Are the conflicts internal or external ?
* How is the conflict resolved ?
* Where does the main climax occur ?
* Why does the main climax occur ?
* Is there more than one climax ?
* How does the story end ?
The character can be presented directly or indirectly. A flat character is known by one or two traits ; a round character is complex and many-sided ; a stock character is a stereotyped character ; a static character remains the same from the beginning of the plot to the end ; and a dynamic character undergoes permanent change. The protagonist is the central character. The forces working against him or her are called the antagonists.
About a specific character
* What is the character like ?
* How is X person characterized by the author ?
* What are his/her character traits ?
* Is he or she flat, round, dynamic or static ?
* What makes him or her complex (if he or she is) ? Does he/she change ? * How and why does he or she change ?
*What sort of self realization does he/she experience ?
Analyzing a short story (2)
About the characters in general
* Do the characters understand each other and themselves ? * Who is the protagonist ?
* Who (or what) is the antagonist ?
* What do the characters learn ?
* Does the author want us to compare one character to another ?
It is the controlling idea or central insight. It can be 1) a revelation of human character ; 2) may be stated briefly or at great length« 3) a theme is not the «moral» of the story. * What is the theme (what is this short story about) ? * What is the author trying to say about that subject ? * How does the author communicate this theme (how do you know what the theme is) ?
The setting and time
It is so to say the framework of the action, of the story. * Where does the action take place
* What time period, time of the day, time of year, erc. Does this action take place ? * How long does it take for the action to occur ? *What is the social environment of the place and time ? *How does this time and place affect the characters ? *How does it affect the reader’s perception of the characters ?
The point of view
The perspective from which the story is being told. Who is the narrator ? The point of view can be called ominscient (stroy told by the author himself who knows everything about the story and the characters), limited omniscient, objective….
* From who’s point of viewis the story told ?
* What is the narrator’s tone ?
* What are the narrator’s biases ?
Analyzing a short story (3)
A term with a ramge of meanings, all of them involving some sort of...
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