short stories. short story terms short story: a relatively brief make-believe story
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Short Story TermsShort Story: A relatively brief make-believe story.
CharacteristicsUsually less than 10,000 words, but more than 500Deals with a single event or problemUsually focuses on one main characterEvents in the story are usually told in a specific sequence or in chronological orderHas a definite beginning, middle and end
PLOTThe collection of events that take place in a story.Includes:IntroductionTrigger IncidentRising ActionClimaxResolution
Plot GraphIntroductionTriggerIncidentRising ActionClimaxResolution
IntroductionIntroduction: the beginning of the story where readers meet characters and establish the settingI was born with water on the brain (page 1)
Introduction: The readers are introduced to Arnold Spirit Jr.
Trigger IncidentTrigger Incident: the event or problem that starts the story
Trigger Incident: When Junior gets his geometry textbook and it is so old that his mother had it 30 years ago
And let me tell you, that old, old, old, decrepit geometry book hit my heart with the force of a nuclear bomb.(pg. 31)
Rising ActionRising Action: increasingly exciting and suspenseful events in the story
Rising Action: Junior goes to Reardan, Junior deals with Roger, Junior makes friends with Gordy, Junior goes to the school dance, Junior plays basketball etc.
ClimaxClimax: the most exciting and suspenseful moment in the story, near the end, a turning point for the main character
Climax: When Arnold finally wins the basketball game against WellpinitWe beat Wellpinit by 40 points. Absolutely destroyed them (pg. 194).
ResolutionResolution: the ending in which all loose ends are tied up
Resolution: Rowdy and Junior make up
I would always love Rowdy. And I would always miss him too. (pg. 230)
Major CharactersProtagonist: the main character in a story. He/she is often the hero, the leader, or the main cause of events. The reader identifies/sympathizes with him/her the most.
Major CharactersAntagonist: the character who opposes or is against the protagonist/main character. The antagonist usually tries to prevent the protagonist from reaching his/her goals.
Rowdy discourages Junior from going to a new school, knocks him out during the basketball game etc.
Minor Charactersthey interact with the Protagonist or Antagonist and reveal their characters
We can describe characters in different ways:How they lookWhat they doWhat others say about them or how others act towards them
Conflict1. Person VS. Person
Two people/ characters fighting or in opposition
Ex. Junior and Rowdy fight when Junior goes to Reardan
Conflict2. Person VS. Self
One character torn between 2 decisions or is fighting against him/herself
Ex. Junior has to figure out his identity (white vs. indian)
Conflict3. Person VS. Nature
A character trying to survive against the elements of nature
Ex. Junior is sometimes unable to go to school because it is too far
Conflict4. Person VS. Society
Main character fights against an organized group or institution
Ex. Everyone in Wellpinit is against Junior because they feel betrayed, so when Reardan goes to Wellpinit for the basketball game, the Indians all turn their backs on Junior.
SettingIncludes the location and the time, date or time period of the story
Ex. Wellpinit/ Reardan, Spokane. 30 years ago.
ForeshadowingIs a hint about what will happen later in the story
Ex. Yeah Dad is a drunk and Mom is an ex-drunk, but they dont want their kids to be drunks (pg. 46)Junior talks about his parents and how Indians are drunks, which is an early hint to the deaths of Eugene, grandma, and his sister.
FlashbackA replayed memory set in an earlier time
Ex. Junior remembers the time when he and Rowdy climbed the tree near the end of the novel
Point of ViewFirst Person: the story is told by one character, using I
Third Person Limited: the reader sees the actions of the characters and hears their words but not their thoughts
Omniscient: the reader sees the thoughts and actions of everybody
SuspenseA feeling of fear or excitement about what will happen next
Ex. Increasingly exciting when Juniors basketball team has a rematch against his home town team.
Atmosphere/MoodEmotion in a scene created by music (movie) or description (book)
Ex. Juniors mother holds him tightly after his sister died (sadness, grief) and then she tells him never to drink and slaps him (anger, grief)
SimileComparison using like or as
Ex. Im as serious as a tumor, (51)Junior is telling Rowdy that he is going to Reardan tomorrow and Rowdy does not believe him, so Junior uses a comparison to explain that he is positive he is going to Reardan.
MetaphorA comparison that does not use like or as
Ex. If those Andruss brothers had punched a hole in the aquarium of my skull, I might have flooded out the entire powwow, (21)After the Andruss brothers beat on Junior Rowdy makes sure that Junior did not get hit on his head because he has with hydrocephalus. Junior is creating a picture of what would happen if the water on his brain was drained out.
PersonificationGiving something inanimate (not alive) human or animal characteristics
Ex. Poverty only teaches you how to be poor, (pg.13)
ImageryUsing the senses of touch, taste, sight, sound and smell to describe something to a reader
Ex. Hell, he fought the weather. Hed throw punches at rain. (18)Ex. Rowdy stopped screaming with his mouth but he kept screaming with his eyes (pg.53).Ex. My nose bled like a firework (pg. 53).
SymbolsSomething solid (tangible) that represents something intangible (cant touch it)
Ex. The apple (Indian on the oustide but white on the inside.)Ex. the road between Wellpinit and Reardan (Juniors journey)
IronyWhen the opposite of what is expected happens
Ex. Plenty of drunken Indians have killed other drunken Indians. But my grandmother had never drunk alcohol in her life! (158)
Dramatic Irony: the reader or viewer knows something that a character doesnt
Ex. The reader knows why Arnold cannot pay for Penelope at the diner after the dance but since Penelope is in the story she does not know until he tells her