ENG 125: Introduction to Literature
Instructor: Paul Wiltz
December 17, 2012
My Take on a Short Story and a Poem
There are certain elements to a poem or a short story that can capture a reader and draw them in. Whether it is an unforgettable setting, or a character that captures your imagination, every piece of literature shares some of the same elements. All literature is written differently and therefore interpreted differently. That is what is so great about literature, it allows the reader to use their imagination and develop their own take and what it means to them. While many short stories and poems may possess the same elements, such as plot, theme, tone, or point of view, they are not interpreted the same. What one person gets out of a short story or poem, may not be what another gets from it. I will talk about some of these elements and my take on them in the selections I have chosen. For this paper I have chosen a short story and a poem. The short story I have chosen is “I Used to Live Here Once” by Jean Rhys (1976). The poem I have chosen is “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good night” by Dylan Thomas (1952). While these selections share the same theme, they are different forms of writing. While short stories and poems share many similarities, they are also very different.
Throughout history, short stories have become a way to share human experiences. Short stories also have also become a way to tell readers about a culture and its way of life. While not all short stories are the same or written the same way, they do contain common elements that aid the shaping of the story. Some of these elements are: plot, setting, time frame, characters, point of view, and theme. There are also some stylistic elements that are also used that may vary depending on the author; like tone or symbolism. (Clugston, 2012) “I Used to Live Here Once”: My Take
Stories can be told in many different ways. It depends on the author or storyteller and how they choose to have the story told. The point of view of a piece of literature is a very important element of a story; it gives the reader an idea about the characters and the actions or feelings of these characters. The point of view in a short story may stay the same throughout the whole story, the author may choose to change the point of view to portray a different prospective in the story. (Baiz de Gelpi, 2007) This story is told in a third-person point of view. A third-person point of view the narrator of the story is not part of the story. In this story the narrator uses the word “she” to tell the actions the main character is making. Like in the very first line of the story: “She was standing by the river looking at the stepping stones and remembering each one” (Rhys, 1976). The storyteller or narrator is not part of the story, but they are sharing what another character is doing and the actions they are making. (Clugston, 2010) Another important part of a short story is setting and time frame. Every story has to take place somewhere during some time. The setting tells the reader where and when the story is taking place. In this story the setting is of an old house that is revisited by the main character in the story. I imagine it takes place somewhere in the country on a hot summer day. There is a river near this old house that she has to cross to get to the house. The narrator also talks of a road: “The road was much wider than it used to be but the work had been done carelessly. The felled trees had not been cleared away and the bushes looked trampled” (Rhys, 1976). In this story there are words and phrases that gives the reader clues as to where and when the story is taking place, allowing the reader to picture this place in their minds while they are reading this story. I can just picture the house in the country, near a river,...