Analysis Of Short Stories

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Analysis Using One or More of Five Common Components of a Short Story

There are several ways to explore meaning in short stories when writing an analysis. Below are the most common parts of literature that readers use when they want to go beneath the surface to understand meaning. The web can provide hundreds of examples of how each of these components might be explored or understood, so feel free to investigate.  Here are my descriptive suggestions:

Plot
The simplest approach into a story is to trace the line of the narrative. How does the story begin? Where does it go? How does it end? Each question helps create a plot on a timeline to show readers the ebb and flow of action that takes place in a story.
While a conventional plot moves from some starting point, building in rising action to a climax where some conflict or confrontation occurs, and then ebbing away in falling action to a resolution, many stories deviate from the conventional. A good question to ask of any story is how does the plot compare to the convention? If it follows a predictable path, then decide where the climax occurs and what led up to it. Even if it is unconventional, decide where twists and turns occur and whether action rises or falls as the story progresses.

Character
Since a short story is primarily about one main character, you could certainly explore the nature and makeup of that individual as a way of understanding the story. Issues about behavior and relationships within the story could be teased out by examining, perhaps, the character psychologically: how is the character conflicted? How is the character motivated?
Or perhaps consider the moral conditions of the character: what are his/her virtues and vices? Do the character's values contrast with the other characters in the story? Or even consider how the character reacts in relation to others in the social dimension: who has power? Who has control? How does a character exercise or maintain that authority? Do...

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