Untitled: A Story
While scarcely a sentence, Hemingway's work of Flash Fiction “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” is indeed a story. It contains the expected attributes of a story, neatly wrapped up in a super compact form. After showing said work has a beginning, middle, end, setting, an array of characters and conflict, it becomes hard to deny its place among other stories.
Weighing in at a mere six words this truly is one short story. But, a story it is! It contains characters: the baby, the parents of the baby, and the shoes itself. The story also has the possibility of other characters such as, whoever the parents purchased the shoes from, and/or a potential buyer reading the for sale notice. It is this open ended aspect that makes the story magical. It forces the reader to use their own imagination, and accomplishes much with what was not said. For example: Expecting parents purchase a pair of shoes. Due to unforeseen circumstances said shoes are not needed. The parents are presented with conflict and forced to sell the shoes. This is a bare outline of but one possible plot showing a beginning, middle, and end. However, the details and many variations depend solely on the reader. Was it tragedy that forced the parents to sell, or were they expecting one gender but had the other?
As one can see from the proof above, Hemingway's single sentence is justifiably a story. It contains all the necessary attributes, none of the fluff. After all, a famous playwright once wrote “Brevity is the soul of wit.” With “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” it certainly shows!
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