The Five Elements of a Short Story

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The Five Elements and Insight
Elements are the structures that build a strong story. The five elements of a story are character, figure of speech, form, theme, and symbolism. Insight is ability to see clearly or intuitively in the elements of a story and the story itself. Both “The Tiger,” by Erick Gentry, and “A Lesson in Discipline,” by Teresa Foley, are short stories which contain these elements which each influence the insight that the reader develops. The insights I have gained insights I have attained from these two stories are that I must not assume that something is as always as it seems and that I must be prepared for what lies ahead. I believe that each element influences insight regarding not only itself but also that of the overall story as well. I shall prove this theory by demonstrating that meaning of each element and the effect it has on insight in “The Tiger” as well as “A Lesson in Discipline.”

The first of the elements is character, which in poems are the people around whom the author created his or her plot. Character in stories can influence insights in the plot in many ways. One way is how an event can occur which sets a uneasy tone in a story that shifts the reader’s focus on that character‘s personality. For example, in “The Tiger” the tiger’s relaxed personality calms the reader down during his first confrontation with Fatima. This is important because it allows the reader to focus on developing insight on Fatima’s personality instead of focusing on most tigers’ unpredictable nature. The protagonist character in “The Tiger” is very tranquil and predictable. The protagonist character in “A Lesson in Discipline” is also tranquil and predictable but also well prepared. This is important because it influences insight on the character’s personality as they experience unforeseen tragedy. Character is the people to whom the story is set upon which hold the capability to influence the insight developed by reader through events and personalities shifting focus.

The second element is figure of speech, which is when a poet uses words to create images of what he is describing. Figure of speech is responsible for a great deal of insight revealed to the reader throughout the story. For example, the author of “A Lesson in Discipline” illustrates Miss Barracombie as a strong person like a mountain and the students as inferior in strength as ants through saying “If she could be struck down, who was so tall, so erect, with all things under control, what would happen to the rest of us, who never had control on the inside, who had to be made to hold our shoulders up?” This is important because one gains insight on the student body’s confidence through such incredible contrast. Figure of speech is used in more freely in “The Tiger” when compared to “A Lesson in Discipline” in describing scenery and characters. However, “A Lesson in Discipline‘s” shortage of figure of speech is what makes the authors scarce illustrations so vivid and meaningful. This is important because it shows that the amount of figure of speech in a can desensitize the vivid effect and meaning it illustrates. Figure of speech illustrates an image through the author’s words which influences insight for the reader to develop in the form of visualization.

The third element is form, which is the basic structure of a poem which can either be closed form where a preset structure must be strictly followed or, open form where the author has no set structure and can write about whatever he or she wishes. The form in which a poem is written can affect the amount of insight the reader develops. For example, insight is more concentrated in closed form but the reader is exposed to it in very short sessions. This is important because it causes the reader to be more susceptible to overlook insight due to the concentrated form its written in. “The Tiger” is written in open form where it easy to develop a lot of insight through the readers first read as...
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