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Elements of a

Short Story
• Identify elements of a short
• Define elements of a short story
• Demonstrate mastery of short
story elements
Short stories often contain structural and
character elements that should be familiar
to you.
These elements can be used as guides to
help you think about the actions,
themes, and contexts of the story.
• Theme • Plot
- exposition statement
• Setting
- rising action
• Characters - conflict
• Point of view - climax
- falling action
• Characterization
- resolution

• The main idea of a literary work,

usually expressed as a

• It usually contains some insight into

the human condition – telling
something about humans and life.

• The theme can be stated directly or

implied by the events and actions in
the story.

•The time and place in

which a work of literature

The setting is the place where the

story takes place. Setting includes
the following:
– The geographical location
• For example: Davao City, New York,
– The time/period
• For example: 1865, during WWII, today
The socio-economic
characteristics of the
•For example: wealthy suburbs

– The specific building, room

•For example: a prep school, a
log cabin, a bus, a military base
Can be used to tell readers about the

That evening Ella smelled

the air, her nostrils dilating
with the odor of the earth
under her feet. “It’s spring,”
she said, and there was
gladness rising in her voice
that filled us all with the
same feeling.

“Antaeus” by Borden Deal

Can be used to set the atmosphere for the story:
“During the whole of a dull,
dark, and soundless day in
the autumn of the year,
when the clouds hung
oppressively low in the
heavens, I had been passing
alone, on horseback,
through a singularly dreary
tract of country.”
“The Fall of the House of Usher”
by Edgar Allan Poe

• The people (or actors) in

the story.
• Protagonist: The main
character in a literary
work (for instance,
Cinderella or Snow
White in the fairy tales
named for their

The character who
opposes the protagonist
(for instance, the wicked
stepmothers or the
wicked witch in the fairy
• Round Characters are convincing,
true to life. Have many different
and sometimes even contradictory
personality traits.

• Dynamic Characters undergo

some type of change or
development in story, often
because of something that
happens to them
• Flat Characters are stereotyped,
shallow, and often symbolic. Have
only one or two personality traits

• Static Characters do not change in

the course of the story

The description of the

personalities of the
characters in the story
and the way in which an
author reveals their
Methods of Characterization

Direct Characterization: The

author develops the personality
of a character by direct
Direct Characterization
“Jack had been in basic training in
Florida and Dottie was there on
vacation with her parents. They’d
met on the beach and struck up a
conversation. Dottie was the
talker, the outgoing one – the
extrovert. Jack was too shy around
girls to say much at all.”

“Furlough – 1944” by Harry Mazer

Methods of Characterization

Indirect Characterization:
• Revealing a character’s
personality through:
•The character’s thoughts, words,
and actions
•The comments of other characters
•The character’s physical appearance
Indirect Characterization
- Jody ran up the stairs to her room, tears
streaming down her face and slammed the
door so loudly, hoping she would hear.

- “But, we can have lots of fun that is funny!”

- After cleaning his house, the cat went back

outside with a smile.

• The story teller from

whose point of view the
story is being told, the
First Person Point of
Told from the viewpoint of one of the
characters, using the first person
pronoun “I”.
“The thousands of injuries of Fortunato I
had borne as I best could, but when he
ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.
You, who so well know the nature of my
soul, will not suppose, however, that I
give utterance to a threat.”
“The Cask of Amontillado”
by Edgar Allan Poe
Second Person Point of
The main character in the
story is referred to using the
second person pronoun
Second Person Point of
“Rubbing your aching head, you take in the scene
around you. Nearby you see a narrow dirt road, and
beyond it a fast-running brook. The road disappears
into dense woods on either side of the field.

You hear the sound of hooves, and a strange

clanking noise. Someone is coming! You duck
behind a tree as two men on horseback ride toward
you. They are wearing shining metal armor. One of
them carries a white banner with a golden lion on it.
They must be knights! You watch as they rein in their
horses and dismount just a few yards away.”

Choose Your Own Adventure : The Forbidden Castle

by Edward Packard
Third Person Point of
The story is told using a narrator who is located
outside of the action of the story and uses third
person pronouns such as “he”, “she”, “his”, “her”,
“they” etc.

Third Person Point of View can be broken up into

three different types:
• Omniscient
• Limited Omniscient
• Objective
Omniscient Point of
The narrator has the power to show the
reader what is happening though a
number of characters’ eyes.
“Myrtle carried a short knobby stick. She struck
out at random at chickens she liked, and worked
out the beat of a song on the fence around the
pigpen. She felt light and good in the warm sun.
She was ten, and nothing existed for her but her
son, the stick she clutched in her dark brown
hand, and the tat-de-ta-ta-ta of
“The Flowers” by Alice Walker
Limited Omniscient Point
of View
Third person, told from the viewpoint of a
character in the story.
“They all laughed, and while they were laughing,
the quiet boy moved his bare foot on the
sidewalk and merely touched, brushed against a
number of red ants that were scurrying about on
the sidewalk.
Secretly his eyes shining, while his parents
chatted with the old man, he saw the ants
hesitate, quiver, and lie still on the cement. He
sensed they were cold now.”
“Fever Dream” by Ray Bradbury
Objective Point of View
Third person, told as if from a camera
that follows the characters. Only what is
said and done is recorded.
“Jennifer stirred in bed. The cotton sheet
clung to her body as she rolled to face the
nightstand. With eyes half open, she reached
over to switch the alarm clock off when the
man in the shadows reached out and grabbed
her arm.
Her scream pierced the quiet night and died
abruptly as she was forced violently back into
the dark oblivion.”
“Objective Point of View”
• The sequence or order of events in a story. The
plot includes:

- Exposition Statement - The part of the plot

that tells how the story begins.

- Rising Action - The action in the story

leading up to the climax.

- Conflict - Struggles or problems between

opposing forces.
- Climax - The point of crisis in the plot. It
may be the reader’s point of highest interest.

- Falling action - The action in the story after

the climax is revealed.

- Resolution - The part of the plot that reveals

the final outcome.


Man vs Self Man vs Man

Man vs Society
Man vs Nature
Man vs Supernatural
Man vs Circumstance

This is a writers’ technique in which the author

interrupts the plot of the story to recreate an
incident of an earlier time (goes back in time; like
giving the reader a memory). This device is often
used to provide additional information to the reader.
This is a writers’ technique
in which the author
provides clues or hints as
to what is going to happen
later in the story. It’s like
the music in a scary movie
when we know that
something bad is about to
A symbol represents an idea, quality,
or concept larger than itself.

• A journey can • A lion can be

symbolize life a symbol of

• Water may • A red rose

represent can
cleanliness represent
and renewal love.
Now that we have identified and defined the
elements of a short story, let us use the
elements to analyze the short story “How
My Brother Leon brought home a Wife by
Manuel E. Arguilla” Submit it on
Wednesday, September 21, 2016 through

Dinneen, K. Elements of the Short Story. Retrieved Jun.

19, 2003, from Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute:

Five Elements of a Story. Retrieved Jun. 19, 2003,

Guevin, D. Short Story Elements. Retrieved Jun. 19, 2003,