by Vivien Alcock
Table of Contents
About Short Stories
Beyond The Text
Panel of Writers
Welcome to the World of Literature and to Short Stories!
We hope you will enjoy working with this guidebook, which has been specially designed to help you prepare your students enjoy the Literature Component of the KBSM English Language syllabus.
A brief explanation of the short story genre has been provided together with suggested activities, teaching steps and worksheets/handouts. An answer key with suggested answers has been provided at the ...view middle of the document...
What makes a good short story?
• A short story is a piece of prose fiction which can be read at a single sitting.
• It ought to combine matter-of-fact description with poetic atmosphere.
• It ought to present a unified impression of temper, tone, colour, and effect.
• It mostly shows a decisive moment of life.
• There is often little action, hardly any character development, but we get a snapshot of life.
• Its plot is not very complex (in contrast to the novel), but it creates a unified impression and leaves us with a vivid sensation rather than a number of remembered facts.
• There is a close connection between the short story and the poem as there is both a unique union of idea and structure.
Short Story Elements
Can you suggest some elements of a short story? Let’s find out in the section below.
Setting -- The time and location in which a story takes place is called the setting. For some stories the setting is very important, while for others it is not. There are several aspects of a story's setting to consider when examining how setting contributes to a story (some, or all, may be present in a story):
• Place - geographical location. Where is the action of the story taking place?
• Time - When is the story taking place? (historical period, time of day, year, etc)
• Weather conditions - Is it rainy, sunny, stormy, etc?
• Social conditions - What is the daily life of the characters like? Does the story contain local colour (writing that focuses on the speech, dress, mannerisms, customs, etc. of a particular place)?
• Mood or atmosphere - What feeling is created at the beginning of the story? Is it bright and cheerful or dark and frightening?
Plot -- The plot is how the author arranges events to develop his basic idea; It is the sequence of events in a story or play. The plot is a planned, logical series of events having a beginning, middle, and end. The short story usually has one plot so it can be read in one sitting. There are five essential parts of plot:
• Introduction /Orientation- The beginning of the story where the characters and the setting is revealed.
• Rising Action - This is where the events in the story become complicated and the conflict in the story is revealed (events between the introduction and climax).
• Climax - This is the highest point of interest and the turning point of the story. The reader wonders what will happen next; will the conflict be resolved or not?
• Falling action - The events and complications begin to resolve themselves. The reader knows what has happened next and if the conflict was resolved or not (events between climax and denouement).
• Resolution / Denouement - This is the final outcome or untangling of events in the story.
Generally, it is helpful to consider the climax as a three-fold phenomenon:
• the main character receives new information
• accepts this...