By Johnny Anderson,2014-06-14 21:27
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    The short story (fiction)

    Origin and history

    Devices and elements

    Part One: Origin

     Folktales, ballads, fables, myths and legends of all nations and all cultures

     Oral tradition

     Printed in the 15th cent.

     as a literary genre all its own ,in the early decades of the 19th cent.

     the short fiction (simple, straightforward narratives in prose or verse) and short

    story (consciously organized, highly unified piece of literary craftsmanship) Part Two: Elements of fiction

    I. elements:




     Point of view






    II The virtue of the elements

     Working tools of authors, critics and intelligent readers.

     The common ground for discussing, describing, studying, and ultimately

    appreciating a literary work

     For the readers to organize their responses to a work and to share them with


    III. Plot

     Definition: the deliberately arranged sequence of interrelated events that

    makes up its basic narrative structure.

    Beginning, middle and end

    Five distinct sections or stages:

     Exposition: background information, the scene, the situation, action, the

    character and the conflict.: Face to Face with Hurricane Camille

     Complication: the rising action that develops and intensifies the conflict

     Crisis: the climax where the plot reaches its point of greatest emotional


    intensity; the turning point of the plot which precipitating its resolution.

     Falling action: once the crisis being reached, the tension subsides and the plot moves toward the conclusion

     Resolution: the final section of the plot; it is also referred to as the

    conclusion or the denouement (unknotting or untying)

     Exceptions: Epiphany: the crisis in the form of a sudden illumination: Everyday Use by Alice Walker; Araby by James Joyce, the falling action and the

    resolution are dispensed with almost entirely.

     Exposition and complication can also be omitted in favor of a plot that begins in medias re (in the midst of things)

    The tendency of modern fiction

     Plotless: the author s emphasis is shifted to characters or ideas

     The plot consists of a slice of life. e.g. Hills Like White Elephants by

    Earnest Hemingway; Kew Gardens by Virginia Woolf

     The author eliminates the traditional beginning, but also the ending in order to

    focus our attention on a more limited moment of time; limited description and

    almost no action; conflict and complication are only revealed, the situation and

    the story are to be understood and completed through the active participation

    of the reader.

     Chronological plotting: ordering the episodes or events in the order of their

    occurrence in time

     Flashback: device that interrupts the flow of a chronologically ordered plot

     A Rose for Emily: the shift of the chronology backward and forward in time to

    establish an atmosphere of unreality, build mystery and suspense. Evaluating plot

     Effectiveness: the unity: how does each episode related logically ? Plausibility: are the events and their resolution guilty of violating our sense of

    the probable or plausible? (Chance and coincidence)

     Chance: events that occur without apparent cause or sufficient preparation) Coincidence: the accidental occurrence of two events that have a certain


    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? 3. Is it development strictly chorological, or is the chronology rearranged in

    some way?

    4. Compare the plots beginning and end. What essential changes have taken


    5. Describe the plot in terms of its exposition, complication, crisis, falling

    action, and resolution.

    6. Is the plot unified? Do the individual episodes logically related to one



    7. Is the ending appropriate to and consistent with the rest of the plot 8. Is the plot plausible? What role, if any, do chance and coincidence play?

    IV. Conflict: (oppositions) the catalyst to generate a sequence of events ; The basic opposition or tension that sets the plot of a short story in motion; it

    engages the reader, builds the suspense or the mystery of the work, and

    arouses expectation for the events that are to follow

    ; External conflict :oppositions between the protagonist (Or hero or the focal

    character) and some object or force outside him

    ; Man and nature: The Old Man and the Sea; Man and society: Daisy Miller;

    man and man: (protagonist and antagonist): detective stories. ; Internal conflict: (the issue to be resolved within the protagonist himself)

    Focusing on two or more elements within the protagonists own character:

    Joseph Conrads Heart of Darknes

    V. Point of View

     Narrative voice, a storyteller

     The method of narration that determines the position, or angle of vision, from

    which the story is told.

     Importance: shaping the way in which everything is presented and perceived The change of the point of view means te change of the story

    4 basic types

     Omniscient point of view:

     limited omniscient (third-person)

     first-person point of view

     Dramatic point of view:

    Omniscient point of view

     An all-knowing narrator, not a character in the story and is not involved in

    the plot

     Retaining full control over the narrative;

     Enjoys the freedom and flexibility to dramatize or summarizes, to interpret,

    speculate, philosophize, moralize, or judge

     Identification with the authors voice, revealing the authors values and


    Limited omniscient point of view

     A single focal character acting as the center of revelation ( Henry James) The reader can either have direct access to this focal characters own voice

    and thoughts, insofar as these are reproduced through dialogue or presented

    dramatically through monologue or stream of consciousness.


     The narrators voice is somewhere on the sidelines, the reader become more

    directly involved in the task of interpretation

     A minor character who functions in the role of an on-looker, watching,


     Henry James refers to the narrator as the reflector, or mirroring

    consciousness. through whose conscious mind, the story is filtered and

    reflected: Young Goodman Brown: Evil is the nature of mankind. Things

    appear to be-rather than the way that things actually are.

    First-person point of view

     Limited information

     Subjective, always subject to hidden bias and prejudices The sense of immediacy, credibility, and psychological realism,


     Involved into events of the plot: Sammys growth and maturation, John

    Updikes A&P

     In retrospective views: James Joyces Araby: looking backward at his own

    adolescent romanticism

     Telling some one elses story : Bartelby the Scrivener

    Dramatic point of view

     Objective, impersonal

     the disappearance of the narrator.

     The story is allowed to present itself dramatically through action and dialogue Telling is replaced by showing

     The reader is a direct and immediate witness to an unfolding drama without a

    narrator to serve as a guide or mentor

     Appeals to many modern and contemporary writers

     Descriptive details at the beginning og the work

     The readers responsibility for analysis and interpretation

     Hemingways short story: the psychological and emotional detachment and

    self-control to cope with the reality of experience

    Analyzing Point of View

    1. What is the point of view: who talks to the reader? Is the point of view

    consistent throughout the work or does it shift in some way? 2.