Elements of Short Stories
Plot (what happens)
conflict (the basic opposition or tension that sets the plot of a short story in motion; it engages the reader, builds suspense or mystery, and arouses expectation for events to follow.) open-ended at both ends
exposition (background information, setting the scene, establishes situation, dates the action) rising action (complication) (develops and intensifies the conflict) climax (crisis) (the moment at which the plot reaches its point of greatest emotional intensity; it is also the turning point, directly precipitating the story's resolution.) falling action (the tension subsides and the plot moves toward its conclusion) conclusion (resolution or denoument--French for "unknotting" or "untying") (records the outcome of the conflict and establishes some new equilibrium.) foreshadowing (presentation of material in a work in such a way that later events are prepared for.) Analyzing Plot
1. What is the conflict (or conflicts) on which the plot turns? Is it external, internal, or some combination of the two? 2. What are the chief episodes or incidents that make up the plot? Is its development strictly chronological, or is the chronology rearranged in some way?
3. Compare the plot's beginning and end. What essential changes have taken place?
4. Describe the plot in terms of its exposition, rising action, climax, turning point, falling action, and resolution. 5. Is the plot unified? Do the individual episodes logically relate to one another? 6. Is the ending appropriate to and consistent with the rest of the plot? 7. Is the plot plausible What role, if any, do chance and coincidence play? 8. Contemplate the situation of the characters before the begining or after the end of the story.
_____________________________________________________________ Setting (where/when it happens)
1. What is the work's setting in space and time? 2. How does the author go about establishing setting? Does the author want the reader to see or feel the setting; or does the author want the reader to both see and feel it? What details of setting does the author isolate and describe?
3. Is the setting important? If so, what is its function? Is it used to reveal, reinforce, or influence character, plot, or theme? 4. Is the setting an appropriate one?
_____________________________________________________________ Character (who it happens to)
characterization (the creation of imaginary persons so that they seem lifelike.) protagonist-antagonist (the major or central character and that character's opponent, against whom the protagonist struggles or contends.) flat-round (Flat characters embody or represent a single characteristic, trait, or idea, or at least a small number of such qualities; they are not developed. Round characters are complex, multidimensional, and developed, embodying a number of qualities and traits.) static-dynamic (unchanging/changing)
foils (characters paired and intentionally set off against other characters to contrast their development or qualities) Analyzing Character
1. Who is the protagonist of the work and who (or what) is the antagonist? 2. What is the function of the work's minor characters? 3. Identify the characters in terms of whether they are flat or round, dynamic or static.
4. What methods does the author employ to...
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