English Composition II
7 Dec. 2011
Cruel Endings are Trending
Countless Short stories are recognized throughout history, although the short story can sometimes be an underappreciated art form. Confined by the space of only a few pages, an author must create a story that is captivating, form characters the readers connect with and drive the story to its short lived conclusion. Although, some authors have mastered the art of short stories, turning compressed pieces of work into memorable art that lingers with reader long after they have finished the story can be difficult. This accomplishment can be difficult to achieve even for the greatest writers. Most of the stories provide specific tones that help to create the kind of story the author wishes to portray. Funny that more times than not a story that is recognized and captivates its reader usually has a sad and/or tragic ending. The tones help to do this by setting an ironic, depressed, chaotic, intense, sad and suspenseful depth to the story. Think about it in “The Rocking-Horse Winner” by D. H. Lawrence the little boy dies in the end. “The Pearl necklace” by Guy de Maupassant is another great example; Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is just the start. There are countless stories that give the reader the twist and unnerving ending they crave. It almost seems as though the story must have those qualifications to become famous. More times than not, short stories have the twisted sad and tragic endings people crave.
Where did the first true short story come from and who paved the way for the modern ones of our time? Short narratives have existed for eons in one form or alternative. Think to The Canterbury Tales, the Bible, subplots in plays and novels, satires, pamphlets, descriptive poems, and essays passed down through time. The honor of the first published short story might be said to go to Walter Scott’s story “The Two Drovers,” in 1827 and published by the Chronicles of the Canon Gate. Soon after there were also many great writers writing around the world like George Eliot, Balzac in France, Pushkin and Turgenev in Russia, Thomas Hardy, and Fennimore Cooper and Hawthorne in America. These writers continued to have an influence on writers all over the world. One in particular was Edgar Allen Poe. Poe read Hawthorne and stated the difference between a novel that is written and a short story (A Short History of The Short Story). Poe states the difference of the two in an article written by William Boyd in Prospect Magazine, “can be read at one sitting (A Short History of The Short Story).” Where did the first dramatic and depressing endings come from? No one really knows but it can possibly attribute to some of the greatest writers of all time. Writers such as Geoffrey Chaucer who died before writing everything he had in mind to stories from the lips of Shakespeare tell us their tales. Most of their stories having morals to learn, depressing ones where there is love and lives to be lost, and twisted ones where the characters motives are too cruel to think of. The stories paved way for many like them to come. There are now thousands of narratives with dramatic, tragic, and twisted endings (A Short History of The Short Story). Psychology of a Readers Brain
It is a well-known fact that sex sells. The next top best seller might be bad news. People love to hear about bad news. In an article from Psychology Today written by Hara Estroff Marano a study was done at Ohio State University by psychologist John T. Cacioppo, Ph.D. people’s brains are built with a bigger sensitivity to upsetting news. In the study the people were shown pictures of different objects and were recorded by their brain activity on the impact it had. Objects such as pizza had positive reactions, things like hair dryers and plates were neutral, but when shown a dead cat or a mutated face they showed that the brain reacts more strongly to a stimulus that is...
Cited: All my stories have sad endings. Retrieved on December 2, 2011 from http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=4894
Chopin, Kate. Desiree’s Baby. Retrieved on December 5, 2011 from http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/DesiBaby.shtml
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins
Jackson, Shirley. The Lottery. Retrieved on December 5, 2011 from http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/lotry.html
Maupassant, Guy de
Marano, Hara Estroff. The bias of negative news over positive. May 27, 2003. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200305/why-we-love-bad-news
Poe’s Life: Who is Edgar Allen Poe?. Retrieved on December 2, 2011 from www.poemuseum.org/life.php
"The Rocking-Horse Winner: Introduction." Short Stories for Students. Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 1998. eNotes.com. January 2006. 5 December 2011. .
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