How to Discuss A Short Story

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to
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sA
Short
Story
A mini-workshop for Student Support Services participants
Troy University
SPRING 2010
Short Story . . . What is it?
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Tells about a single event or experience
Fictional (not true)
500 to 15,000 words in length
Has a beginning, middle, and end
Creates an impression on the reader
Prose (Written in sentence and paragraph form,
not in verse)
Slide Source:
http://www.worldofteaching.com/powerpoints/english/how%20to%20write%20a%20short%20story.ppt#257,2,Definition of
a Short Story
Keys to Discussing a Short Story
• Learn the Lexicon
(Language,
Vocabulary).
• Learn about the
author’s background
and motivations.
• Make the story (even
fiction) relevant to
real life.
The Main Literary Elements of a Story . . .
1.Setting
Click on the
video link
2.Plot
3.Character
4.Conflict
5.Point of
View
BELOW for
an audio
PowerPoint
about Five
Aspects of any
Story:
http://www.yout
be.com/watch?
v=ADFCzrseP4o
&feature=relate
d
Memorable Short Stories
make an important thematic statement.
The theme, another
key element of a
Short Story . . . Is
• The story’s main ideas.
• The “message” the
writer intends to
communicate by telling
the story.
Slide Source:
http://www.worldofteaching.com/powerpoints/english/how
%20to%20write%20a%20short%20story.ppt#263,10,Short
Story Vocabulary
Ambition
Jealousy
Family
Beauty
Loneliness
Race/Ethnicity
Key terms in some
common
Betrayal
Love
Religion
Spirituality
Literary Themes
Courage
Loyalty
Coming of Age
(Rites of Passage)
Duty/honor
Perseverance
Change
Fear
Prejudice
Life
Freedom/
Liberty
Suffering
Death
Happiness/Joy
Truth
Identity
Apply the Literary Lexicon to. . .
A Discussion of "The Story of An Hour" by Kate Chopin (1894)
Here is a List of the Major and Supporting Characters:
• Mrs. Mallard (“Louise Mallard”) -- Main Character and Protagonist)
• Josephine – Louise Mallard’s very concerned sister
• Brently Mallard – Louise Mallard’s husband
• Richards – Brently Mallard’s friend who delivers the tragic news
Kate Chopin (1850-1904)
Kate Chopin . . . an American author of short
stories and novels, is often viewed as an early
feminist writer. Strong women were often the
protagonists in her stories. Note that Chopin’s
grandmother was one of the first women in
Missouri to ever file and receive a writ of divorce.1
Chopin significantly wrote about identify and race.
The New Orleans’ Creole culture of the Southern
U. S. influence her writings.
1. Source: http://www.lpb.org/programs/enhanced_kc/transcripts/trans2b.htm
Images: yahoo.com
Summary of “The Story of an Hour”
"The Story of An Hour" is a short story by Kate Chopin, published in 1894.
It is an ironic story about one-hour of time in the life of Mrs. Louise Mallard, a
woman with a serious heart ailment. Readers learn about the heart problem at
the beginning of the story and learn also of the central conflict of the story. Note
that Louise is married to Brently Mallard who has reported as among the dead
following a train wreck. Josephine, who is Louise’s sister, and Brently’s friend,
Richards, become quite worried about Louise after Richards tells Louise that
Brently has been killed in a train accident.
Audio of the Story
• Now, Listen to an audio
rendition of "The Story of An
Hour" / Kate Chopin (1894) at
LibriVox.org, while reading the
accompanying text.
at http://librivox.org/short-storycollection-003/
google images
Apply these Five Elements to Chopin’s
“The Story of an Hour”
1. Setting -- When and Where (A) Time, (B) Place, (C) Environmental Descriptions,
(D) Social/Historical Context
2. Plot -- The sequence of events – (A) Introduction; (B) Rising Action or
complication; (C) Climax; (D) Falling Action; (E) Conclusion/Denouement
3. Character – Main Characters; Supporting Characters; Protagonist; Antagonist;
Author’s Characterization of the Characters (Dialogue; Actions; Visual Descriptions)
4. Conflict (What is the Protagonist Battling?) – What is the purpose of the Story
5. Point of View (Who is the narrator?) (A) First person?; (B) Third Person Omniscient;
(C) Third Person Limited Omniscient?
THEME
Now, what Theme(s) can you deduce from your reading of
the story?
Think about these Thematic Topics or Subjects and then
come up with sentences in which you use each one of
these words as the focus of a theme: (A) Freedom, (B)
Life, (C) Death, (D) Change, (E) Love, (F) Joy
What is the “Joy that Kills”?
• What do you think that the author means
when she writes “A joy that kills” as the last
phrase in the story?
THE END
• Please complete the academic seminar evaluation
form to receive your workshop credit.
• Return form to SSS staff in 109 Shackelford Hall
Annex.
• Please recommend workshop ideas.
• Thank you for your participation.
Rebecca Money, SPR 2010

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