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*FICTION SHORT STORY ELEMENTS*  

 

Fiction= Literature in which situations and characters are invented by the writer. Aspects of a fictional work might be based on fact or experience.

 

Setting= Time and place in which the events of a story, novel, or play occur. Setting includes the ideas, customs, and beliefs. Values of time and place often help create an atmosphere or mood.

 

Protagonist= Central character in a story, drama, or dramatic poem which the action usually revolves around, but he/she usually undergoes the main conflict.

 

Antagonist= A character or force that opposes the protagonist in a story or drama. The reader is generally meant not to sympathize with the antagonist.

 

First-person point of view= When a story or poem is written based upon the author’s personal experiences. This is written in the form in which the author uses the letter “I” in writing.

 

Third-person point of view= When the author writes in a form of using “he” or “she.” Third-person does not allow for self-expression.

 

Third-person omniscient narrator= A common form of third-person narration in which the author often appears to speak with the voice of the author himself, assumes an all-knowing (omniscient) perspective on the story.

 

Third-person limited narrator= When an author focalizes through a character and in which the narrator is no longer omniscient. The reader will not see or know as much about the situation as the third-person omniscient narrator.

 

Theme= the central message of a story, poem, novel, or play that the reader can apply to life. A stated theme is expressed directly and an implied theme is revealed gradually. Implied themes may be harder to reveal, but a reader may look upon the struggles of the main character and what that character learned from those experiences.

 

External conflict= Struggle between the protagonist and another character, against nature, or some other outside force.

 

Internal conflict= A struggle which takes place in the protagonist’s mind through which the character reaches a new understanding.

 

Exposition= an author’s introduction of the characters, setting, and situation at the beginning of a story, novel, or play.

 

Rising action= the events of a dramatic or narrative plot preceding the climax.

 

Climax= the point of the greatest emotional intensity, interest, or suspense in narrative. It is also called the turning point which usually comes near the end of a story and often presents a resolution to the conflict.

 

Falling action= the action that follows the climax. It may show results of the climax and also may include the resolution, or dénouement (a French word meaning “un-knotting,”) explaining the plot or unraveling the mystery.

 

Resolution= the part of a plot that concludes the falling action by revealing or suggesting the outcome of the conflict, sometimes called the dénouement.

 

 

 

                                                                       

 

 

*Here is an example of a shot story with story elements identified*

 

                  THE DEAD BOY AT YOUR WINDOW

                        Written by: Bruce Holland Rogers

In a distant country where the towns had improbable names, a woman looked upon the unmoving form of her newborn baby and refused to see what the midwife saw. This was her son. She had brought him forth in agony, and now he must suck. She pressed his lips to her breast.
          "But he is dead!" said the midwife.
          "No," his mother lied. "I felt him suck just now." Her lie was as milk to the baby, who really was dead but who now opened his dead eyes and began to kick his dead legs. "There, do you see?" And she made the midwife call the father in to know his son.
          The dead boy never did suck at his mother's breast. He sipped no water, never took food of any kind, so of course he never grew. But his father, who was handy with all things mechanical, built a rack for stretching him so that, year by year, he could be as tall as the other children. When he had seen six winters, his parents sent him to school. Though he was as tall as the other students, the dead boy was strange to look upon. His bald head was almost the right size, but the rest of him was thin as a piece of leather and dry as a stick. He tried to make up for his ugliness with diligence, and every night he was up late practicing his letters and numbers. His voice was like the rasping of dry leaves. Because it was so hard to hear him, the teacher made all the other students hold their breaths when he gave an answer. She called on him often, and he was always right.
          Naturally, the other children despised him. The bullies sometimes waited for him after school, but beating him, even with sticks, did him no harm. He wouldn't even cry out.
           One windy day, the bullies stole a ball of twine from their teacher's desk, and after school, they held the dead boy on the ground with his arms out so that he took the shape of a cross. They ran a stick in through his left shirt sleeve and out through the right. They stretched his shirt tails down to his ankles, tied everything in place, fastened the ball of twine to a buttonhole, and launched him. To their delight, the dead boy made an excellent kite. It only added to their pleasure to see that owing to the weight of his head, he flew upside down.
          When they were bored with watching the dead boy fly, they let go of the string. The dead boy did not drift back to earth, as any ordinary kite would do. He glided. He could steer a little, though he was mostly at the mercy of the winds. And he could not come down. Indeed, the wind blew him higher and higher.
          The sun set, and still the dead boy rode the wind. The moon rose and by its glow he saw the fields and forests drifting by. He saw mountain ranges pass beneath him, and oceans and continents. At last the winds gentled, then ceased, and he glided down to the ground in a strange country. The ground was bare. The moon and stars had vanished from the sky. The air seemed gray and shrouded. The dead boy leaned to one side and shook himself until the stick fell from his shirt. He wound up the twine that had trailed behind him and waited for the sun to rise. Hour after long hour, there was only the same grayness. So he began to wander.
          He encountered a man who looked much like himself, a bald head atop leathery limbs. "Where am I?" the dead boy asked.
          The man looked at the grayness all around. "Where?" The man said. His voice, like the dead boy's, sounded like the whisper of dead leaves stirring.
          A woman emerged from the grayness. Her head was bald, too, and her body dried out. "This!" she rasped, touching the dead boy's shirt. "I remember this!" She tugged on the dead boy's sleeve. "I had a thing like this!"
          "Clothes?" said the dead boy.
           "Clothes!" the woman cried. "That's what it is called!"
          More shriveled people came out of the grayness. They crowded close to see the strange dead boy who wore clothes. Now the dead boy knew where he was. "This is the land of the dead."
          "Why do you have clothes?" asked the dead woman. "We came here with nothing! Why do you have clothes?"
          "I have always been dead," said the dead boy, "but I spent six years among the living."
          "Six years!" said one of the dead. "And you have only just now come to us?"
          "Did you know my wife?" asked a dead man. "Is she still among the living?"
          "Give me news of my son!"
          "What about my sister?"
          The dead people crowded closer.
          The dead boy said, "What is your sister's name?" But the dead could not remember the names of their loved ones. They did not even remember their own names. Likewise, the names of the places where they had lived, the numbers given to their years, the manners or fashions of their times, all of these they had forgotten.
          "Well," said the dead boy, "in the town where I was born, there was a widow. Maybe she was your wife. I knew a boy whose mother had died, and an old woman who might have been your sister."
          "Are you going back?"
          "Of course not," said another dead person. "No one ever goes back."
          "I think I might," the dead boy said. He explained about his flying. "When next the wind blows...."
           "The wind never blows here," said a man so newly dead that he remembered wind.
          "Then you could run with my string."
           "Would that work?"
           "Take a message to my husband!" said a dead woman.
           "Tell my wife that I miss her!" said a dead man.
          "Let my sister know I haven't forgotten her!"
          "Say to my lover that I love him still!"
           They gave him their messages, not knowing whether or not their loved ones were themselves long dead. Indeed, dead lovers might well be standing next to one another in the land of the dead, giving messages for each other to the dead boy. Still, he memorized them all. Then the dead put the stick back inside his shirt sleeves, tied everything in place, and unwound his string. Running as fast as their leathery legs could manage, they pulled the dead boy back into the sky, let go of the string, and watched with their dead eyes as he glided away.
          He glided a long time over the gray stillness of death until at last a puff of wind blew him higher, until a breath of wind took him higher still, until a gust of wind carried him up above the grayness to where he could see the moon and the stars. Below he saw moonlight reflected in the ocean. In the distance rose mountain peaks. The dead boy came to earth in a little village.
          He knew no one here, but he went to the first house he came to and rapped on the bedroom shutters. To the woman who answered, he said, "A message from the land of the dead," and gave her one of the messages. The woman wept, and gave him a message in return.
          House by house, he delivered the messages. House by house, he collected messages for the dead. In the morning, he found some boys to fly him, to give him back to the wind's mercy so he could carry these new messages back to the land of the dead.
          So it has been ever since. On any night, head full of messages; he may rap upon any window to remind someone - to remind you, perhaps - of love that outlives memory, of love that needs no names.

Copyright 1998 Bruce Holland Rogers

 

10 story elements identified by sample story…

1.     The setting of this story takes place at the dead boy’s house, at school where the bullies mistreat the boy, then at the place for the dead because he goes there to hear the messages dead people send to their loved ones. Then, he goes back to the living, and so on. This is where the story mainly takes place.

2.     The protagonist in this story is the dead boy, because the story is mainly about him and the things he goes through.

3.     The antagonist in this story may be the bullies because they were the ones against the dead boy, which is the central character. This is also true because in the story, it stated how they were mean to the dead boy, which never once made feel sympathy fro them, and the reader is meant not to feel it towards the antagonist.

4.     When the bullies stole the twine and held the dead boy down to make him into a kite, this kind of gave a sense of a rising action to the story, because it makes the reader just want to know what’s going to happen next. It gave me the want to keep on reading on to figure it all out.

5.     This story is written in the form of a third-person limited narrator, because the story does not have to deal with the author at all, but he focuses through the dead boy, but at the same time, he doesn’t seem to know exactly everything that goes on, since the author doesn’t try to speak in a form as if he were the dead boy.

6.     In this story, an internal conflict happens within the mind of, not the protagonist, but his mother. This is because when she wants to keep on believing that her son is alive when he isn’t, she just keeps on trying to fight the real fact and she doesn’t want to accept the reality that her son isn’t like them, and alive.

7.     The climax in this story is when the boy blows away to the place of the dead, because no one knows whether he could return back to the living or whether he’s going to have to stay there. At his point, it creates suspense in the story.

8.     A theme in this story may be one that’s implied, because it’s not straight out stated, but more difficult to find out. One may be that people should not ever treat others not like them in a rude manner, because they may bring good to other people. I believe this is one, because the bullies mistreated the dead boy maybe because they thought he was no good, but at the end he actually was able to do good in his part for the living and dead people.

9.     The resolution of this story occurs when everything is over with, and the dead boy now becomes the messenger to living people from dead people and to dead people from living people.

10.                  This story is classified as fiction, because the characters were all invented by the author, and it is probably based on something that he experienced, but not necessarily true.

Click on these links to view some examples of short stories found in our Literature Red Book.

www.angelfire.com/in4/englishlit/1st story.htm

 

www.angelfire.com/in4/englishlit/2nd story.htm

 

 

 

 

 

Click on these links to view some examples of short stories from websites, from different countries. The links below them show information about the author’s of each story.

 

                                         

www.angelfire.com/in4/englishlit/3rd story.htm

www.angelfire.com/in4/englishlit/authorof3rdstory.htm

 

www.anglefire.com/in4/englishlit/4th story.htm

www.angelfire.com/in4/englishlit/authorof4thstory.htm

 

www.angelfire.com/in4/englishlit/5th story.htm

www.angelfire.com/in4/englishlit/authorof5thstory.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Vision Quest”

1.     It can be determined by the story that the voice that talked to the young man wanted him to:

a)     become a medicine man also

b)     leave and stop disturbing them

c)     have a vision

2.     When he got the voice mad, what came tumbling down on him from the mountainside?

a)     A large pipe

b)     a piece of wood from the trees around

c)     a huge boulder

3.     The story suggests that the ground shook itself like:

a)     a wet dog coming out of its steam

b)     a volcano about to erupt

c)     an earthquake occurring

4.     All of the following were ways his people got him ready or helped him for his quest, EXCEPT:

a)     fed him wasna, corn, and meat

b)     having ancient ways to pray for him

c)     by thinking he had the power to achieve his goal

5.     What is the best theme to represent this story?

a)     Go for what you really want, and even if you don’t get exactly that, you will earn some knowledge from it.

b)     If you do not give up on what you want, you can always get it. 

c)     If you have faith in one another, you can help someone achieve their main goal

 

“What I Have Been Doing Lately”

1.     In what kind of perspective is his story written in?

a)     Third-person perspective

b)     First-person perspective

c)     Third-person omniscient narrator

2.     The author uses a simile when she compares herself to:

a)     an old suitcase

b)     a hole

c)     rain

3.     A part of the last paragraph can be considered a type of what to paragraph one?

a)     flashback

b)     Sonnet

c)     Symbol

4.     When the author makes the following statement: “I must have walked for a long time because my feet hurt and felt as if they would drop off,” it can be considered a type of what?

a)     A figure of speech

b)     A hyperbole

c)     A Wit

5.     The following: “I stuck out my tongue and the drizzle or the damp dust tasted like government school ink,” is what type of figurative language?

a)     A metaphor

b)     Personification

c)     A simile

 

“David’s Haircut”

1.     The story suggests that David loves the barbershop, what may be a main reason for this?

a)     The smell of hair oil, of men, and of cigarettes. 

b)     Because Mr. Samuel is always there.

c)     Because the fact that his father goes along with him every time.

2.     In what kind of form is this story written in?

a)     First-person point of view

b)     Third-person omniscient narrator

c)     Third-person point of view

3.  What does the story suggest is something that annoys David?

          a) That he can’t make each step of the stairs creak like his dad does

          b) The other customers waiting before him

          c) The smell of the cigarettes in the barbershop  

4.   What has going to get a haircut at Mr. Samuel’s barbershop become to David and his father?

          a) A daily routine

          b) A habit that they go there together whenever David needs a haircut

          c) A weekly routine

5.   At the end of the story, what does David find in his dad’s palm?

          a) A lock of his dad’s hair

          b) A lock of hair he just picked up

          c) A lock of his own hair

 

“Walking Upside Down”

1.     What is considered a good dream for this author?

a)     When he dreams of Mim forever doing handstands

b)     When he dreams about him being upside down

c)     When both him and Mimi are doing handstands

2.     What does the author compare Mim’s dress to? What type of figurative language is this?

a)     A bell, a metaphor

b)     A green bell, personification

c)     A green bell, a simile

3.     What does the author state the letter “V” is for?

a)     Victory

b)     Vicious

c)     Violent

4.     Who remind the author of Mim?

a)     Just his dreams

b)     Nurse Mary O’ Connor

c)     Nurse Mary Mim O’ Connor

5.     Which of the following statements can be supported by the story?

a)     It has been 10 years since he has seen Mim.

b)     Mim was an old girlfriend of the author but he’s over her.

c)     It has been along time since he author has seen Mim and he still thinks of her even after all the years have passed by and misses her.

 

“Shortcut to Terror”

1.     Around that strange town, what is considered a crime?

a)     Passing through the town

b)     Being a stranger

c)     Talking back to Sam

2.     Who is the protagonist in this story?

a)     Jim

b)     Sam

c)     Ellie

3.     What does Sam suggest as the consequence for Jim hitting Jake?

a)     Having to be banned from their town

b)     Having to be eaten alive by them

c)     Having to be hung to death

4.     What kind of comeback is it considered as Jim says: “Of course you are and I’m the tooth fairy,” after Ellie tells them that they are all werewolves?

a)     A simile

b)     A wit

c)     A flashback

5.     At the end of the story, what does Jim decide not to do anymore?

a)     Not to take shortcuts anymore, and just go through the Interstate

b)     Not take short cuts anymore, and just go home

c)     Not to travel around anymore at all 

 

 

 

***Answer Key***

“The Vision Quest”

1)    B

2)    C

3)    A

4)    C

5)    A

 

“What I Have Been Doing Lately”

1)    B

2)    A

3)    A

4)    B

5)    C

 

“David’s Haircut”

1)    A

2)    B

3)    A

4)    B

5)    C

 

“Walking Upside Down”

1)    A

2)    C

3)    A

4)    B

5)    C

 

“Shortcut to Terror”

1)    B

2)    A

3)    C

4)    B

5)    A

 

 

 

*Twenty-five-question test over all stories*

*Knowledge*

1.      List the major character, and identify the main idea of “The Vision Quest”

2.      What does the author say she does right before that doorbell rang in “What I Have Been Doing Lately?”

3.      Name the owner of the barbershop in “David’s Haircut.”

4.      The author of “Walking Upside Down” says that Mim left him and went where?

5.      What were the names of the two people that help Jim escape in “Shortcut to Terror?” What were they really?

*Comprehension*

6.       What was the meaning of the word “hanbleceya,” in “The Vision Quest?”

7.       Recall what the author of “What I Have Been Doing Lately” says about her falling.

8.       In “David’s Haircut,” recall what the story said why David loved the barbershop.

9.       In “Walking Upside Down,” who does the author say used to be his postman?

10.   Recall the name of the town where the story of “Shortcut to Terror” takes place.

*Application*

11.   The theme of “The Vision Quest” can be classified as what kind of theme? Why?

12.   “What I Have Been Doing Lately” can also be called a what? And why?

13.   What information in “David’s Haircut” tells the reader that David and his dad have a close bond?

14.   Modify the meaning of “buttresses,” and the author uses it in “Walking upside Down.”

15.   What kind of fiction can “Shortcut to Terror” be classified under?

*Analysis*

16.   In “The Vision Quest,” it says that the young man was raised by good people. Explain why this might have gave the young boy and his people faith in believing that he can actually get a vision.

17.   In “What I Have Been Doing Lately,” the word “verandah” means what?

18.   In “David’s Haircut,” it can be inferred that the other customers in the barbershop what, when Mr. Samuel’s makes the statement about kids not staying young for long?

19.   From “Walking Upside Down,” what can be inferred about the author’ dreams?

20.   In “Shortcut to Terror,” what can be inferred about Jim?

*Synthesis/Evaluation*

21.    Summarize the lesson that the young man learned in “The Vision Quest.” What can be concluded about the young man?

22.   Summarize the first paragraph in “What I Have Been Doing Lately.”

23.   What can be concluded what would happen next in “David’s Haircut?”

24.   In “Walking Upside Down,” it can be concluded that his memories of Mim are what?

25.   In “Shortcut to Terror,” it can be concluded that Jim would never do what again?

 

*Rubric for 25 questions*

20= All answers answered

50=Effort put in into answering questions, answers are clear and have to deal with the question

20= Neat Handwriting

10= Reasons put into answers (when asked why)

(100 points possible)

 

***Answer Key***

1.       The major character is the young man, the main idea is that he tries to go get a vision, because he believes he can be great among his people but the only thing he lacks is a vision.

2.       The author says she goes back to lie on her bed just before the doorbell rings.

3.       Mr. Samuel’s is the owner of the barbershop.

4.       In the story, it says Mim left to the city of London.

5.       Their names were Ellie and Jake, the nice werewolves.

6.       It means vision.

7.       She says that she does not like how falling makes her feel.

8.       It said that he loved the smell of men, of hair oil, and of cigarettes.

9.       He says that Nurse Mary O’ Connor’s father used to be his postman.

10.    The name of the town was Talbot

11.   The theme is an implied one, because it is harder to discover it, unlike a stated theme.

12.   A soliloquy, because she does not seem to address any person se may be talking to, she just talks to herself and reveals her thoughts and feelings too.

13.   When the story says that Mr. Samuel’s barbershop is where they always go, and always go together.

14.    Something that holds another thing in place.

15.   Under mystery, horror, or terror.

16.   Because he had the same qualities of the people that raised him, so he was honest, respective, and brought up to be a brave young man, that’s why they had faith in him.

17.   It means porch or balcony.

18.   That the other customers might have kids also, since they all nod in agreement when Mr. Samuel’s says that.

19.   That his dreams may be going on forever more and that they will never fade.

20.   That he was a very brave man for standing up to the nonsense of Sam’s words.

21.   He learned that even though he did not have a vision, he gained some knowledge; he didn’t need a vision to be great. He probably would become a medicine man himself and be great among his people.

22.   The doorbell rang, she found nobody there, and then she found herself walking north and then she fell into a hole, but then she reversed herself and closed the hole up.

23.   That they will just go home, but come back again whenever David need another haircut.

24.   That his memories of Mim are unforgettable, since he remembers little details like her dress too.

25.   That he would never again go through shortcuts and just have to deal with the discomforting of traveling by Interstates, because of what he encountered when he chose to take a shortcut to someplace.

 

 

*Project Options*

·        Make up your own fiction short story, and explain at least 10 short story elements using your story.

*Rubric*

10= Spelling and grammar checks are done so no errors done at the end

20= At least four illustrations of some sort that has to do with your story

40= The ten fiction short story elements thoroughly explained using your own story

30= The story is fiction. Identify under what kind of fiction it classifies under.

  • Make a time line of your life, including when you were born, and important or unforgettable events that happened in your life, till today, kind of like a historical fiction about your life. Explain why those events in your life were important to you and invent a future timeline for what you want to do in your future.

 10= Spelling and grammar correct, partial credit for few errors

50= Timeline is neat, and eligible, has correct dates and events in place together

20= Future timeline is correct, neat and dates with the correct events

20= Explanations on why you chose it

  • Make a scrapbook containing pictures, words, and illustrations about your life, and write al least 3 short stories to include in there about your childhood

10= Grammar and punctuation correct

20= Scrapbook is neat and contains at least 5 pictures or illustrations

50= all 3 stories are about past life, and neat

20= Words relate to what your theme of the scrapbook is about

 

 

 

 

* A writing Assignment with research option*

From reading the story, “The Vision Quest,” what do you think is their main belief and some cultures that the people on the story may have. Research at least 3 different beliefs and different cultures from different countries and thoroughly explain each one, and explain how it is the same or different from your own culture and beliefs.

*Rubric*

10= At least 2 pictures relating to the assignment.

10= Spelling and punctuation.

20= Words and thoughts flow together from the beginning till the end.

20= Typed in standards, or written eligibly.

40= Everything is well organized, everything is answered, and all research is correct with work cited page included.

 

*Click on the following links to learn how to read or write short stories*

http://www.writingclasses.com/CourseDescriptionPages/GenrePages.php/ClassGenreCode/FC

http://www.writers.com

 

http://www.searchwarp.com/swa2893.htm

 

http://www.cis.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1983/3/83.03.03.x.html

 

 

*Click on the following links to learn how teach short stories to others*

http://www.cswnet.com/~erin/fiction.htm

www.blitz21.com/creativeweb/shortstory.html

www.agsnet.com/static/a40101.asp

http://www.lessonplanspage.com/LACreativeWayToComprehendElementsOfShortStory48.htm

 

 

*Work Cited*

www://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/fictionindex.html

http://www.buzzle.com/chapters/escape-hatch_shortFixion.asp

http://wwww.shortshortshort.com

http://www.askjeeves.com

 

 

 

* Click below to go back to Main Page*

www.angelfire.com/in4/englishlit/fiction6.html