How to Analyze a Short Story | Introduction to Literature

 

analyze a short story

Analyze a Short Story Analyzing a Short Story is easy with help from Paper Masters' specific guidelines, including an outline that shows you how to analyze a short story. Paper Masters has analyzed countless short stories throughout our 18 year history. Jun 25,  · Writing a critical analysis of a short story is a way to expand on simply reading the story. It is also a place to express your ideas and thoughts about the author and story. A critical analysis suggests that the short story's "hidden" message can be decoded by an outside source. It also determines if that message was clearly conveyed to the reader. Analyzing a story's plot involves examining the ways its events unfold and the devices the author uses to advance them. Because a short story must be brief enough to read in one sitting, the plot is often compact, with only a few major characters and expert management of time and pacing.


Analyzing a Short Story - Guidelines and Outline


Show less Start by trying to summarize what the story is about, then look more closely at aspects of the story such as context, setting, plot, characterization, analyze a short story, themes, and style.

Tie it all together with a thoughtful critique and summary of what you think the author was trying to accomplish. This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD. Categories: Studying Literature. How to Analyze a Short Story. There are 25 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Gather basic information about the story. Summarizing the story analyze a short story help you organize your thoughts and ensure that you have a basic understanding of the story.

The date of publication. Where the story was originally published e. Identify the major characters. Most short stories are character-driven. Take a few moments to determine who the major characters are in your story, and write them down. Give a brief outline of the plot. Understanding the context of a short story can give you a lot of insight into why the story was written the way it was.

Learning about who the author was and what conventions they were familiar with is a major part of putting any story in context. Wodehouse was a Classically educated author who grew up in late Victorian and Edwardian England, analyze a short story. During the s, he lived and worked in New York as an author, lyricist, and playwright.

His stories combine references to classic Western literature with references to contemporary British and American pop culture, analyze a short story. Major cultural and political shifts are often reflected in short stories, analyze a short story, whether purposefully or in a more subtle context. It plays on humorous American stereotypes of the English aristocracy while avoiding references to contemporary historical events.

Determine the intended audience. For example, a story written for children will probably have a different tone, themes, and vocabulary level from a story aimed at adults. As you analyze the story, consider for whom the author was writing. The story was designed to appeal to an adult, middle class American audience. Identify the physical setting. The setting of a story provides atmosphere and helps the action feel more grounded and real.

It can also play a significant role in how the plot of the analyze a short story plays out. Try to identify where, specifically, the story is set, and think about how the author creates the setting.

Wodehouse does not describe the setting in great detail, but creates an impression by offering minor details in passing e. Look at the historical setting. The time when a story is set can also be very significant, analyze a short story.

While the author may not specify exactly when the story is taking place, you can usually get a good idea by looking at clues like the language that the characters use, references to historical events or popular culture, and even descriptions of costume and technology. Some stories may have historical settings that are changed or interrupted in the narrative structure. In these instances, look at what effect the fractured or non-linear setting might create.

Assess how the setting affects the story. One way to approach this is to think about how the story might be different if it were in a different setting.

Would the tone of the story feel the same? Would the events and themes of the story fit in another setting? How are the characters and their beliefs and actions influenced by their historical, cultural, and geographical context? List the most important event s in the plot. The plot is the sequence of related events that make up a story. Bertie steals the manuscript, but Florence's brother catches him in the act and tells the uncle. Jeeves takes the manuscript before Bertie's uncle can find it.

Bertie thinks Jeeves is keeping the manuscript safe, but he has actually sent it on to the publisher. Florence breaks off the engagement when she finds out the memoirs have been published. Bertie is angry at first, but Jeeves convinces him that he would have been unhappy married to Florence. Identify the main conflict. Most plots revolve around a major conflict, analyze a short story. Conflict in a story is a dramatic struggle between 2 opposing forces. This could take the form of a dispute between 2 characters external conflictanalyze a short story, or a struggle between opposing desires within a single character internal conflict.

The 2 characters engage in a power struggle that starts out small e. Look for exposition. Many plots incorporate exposition, or background information that helps set the scene and allows the reader to more easily understand what is happening. This sets the stage for the rest of the story.

Divide the plot into its main parts. Short stories often end on their climaxes, giving readers a sudden insight. Climax: Jeeves intercepts the manuscript and secretly sends it to the publisher, causing Florence to break the engagement. Falling action: Bertie is ready to fire Jeeves, but Jeeves convinces him that Florence was not a good match for him.

Pinpoint the resolution. While not all plots have a clear resolution, this is a common element of many short stories. Analyze the structure of the plot. Is it presented in chronological analyze a short story, or does it jump around in time?

Does the story begin before the main action starts, or does it open in the middle of the action in media res? Is it left open-ended, or is there a tidy resolution to the story? Then, think about why the author structured their plot that way, and what effect or meaning could be derived from the structure.

Evaluate the point of view of the story. Point of view is an important aspect of a story, since it provides the lens through which you interpret the events, characters, and themes of the story. You could even imagine what the story would be like with a different point of view, and what effect that would have on your reading experience.

When reading the story, consider: From whose point of view is the analyze a short story told? Is it one of the characters in the story, or an unnamed observer? The characters are the lifeblood of most short stories. The plot develops from their actions.

As you read the story, think about what defines each of the characters analyze a short story you, and why you think the author gave them these traits. Character traits could include things like: [12] Physical appearance e. Personality traits such as kindness, creativity, cowardice, sense of humor.

Speaking style slangy, formal, terse, poetic. Other traits, such as age, profession, analyze a short story, or social status. Determine what role each character plays in the story. Analyze a short story character should play some part in moving the story along.

You might define their role in terms of how they relate to other characters, or how their actions set the events of the plot in motion. He is a stereotype designed to appeal to American audiences of the time. Assess the motivations of each character, analyze a short story. Motivations determine the way a character thinks, acts, and speaks. Sometimes, these motivations are explicitly spelled out, analyze a short story. In other cases, they may be hidden between the lines.

Think about why each character behaves as they do, and what analyze a short story are trying to accomplish. Examine how the characters change during the story, if at all. In some short stories, the characters experience some type of development as the plot progresses, such as discovering something new about themselves or undergoing a change in their beliefs or attitudes.

However, many other short stories show their characters remaining the same, with the author simply providing a picture of the analyze a short story rather than showing their full development, which is more common in novels. Determine what the major themes are in the story. Themes are the major ideas that the author attempts to convey or reflect on in the story through the events of the plot or the actions of the characters. Themes might include things like moral or ethical issues or ideas relating to society or human nature.

Themes in a short story may be obvious or subtle, and a story may deal with multiple themes. Examine the story for references and allusions. References and allusions help create powerful associations by linking events, characters, or objects in the story to other works or ideas that are familiar to the reader. References may be explicit e. Identify symbolism and imagery.

 

How to Write a Critical Analysis of a Short Story | Synonym

 

analyze a short story

 

When analyzing a novel or short story, you’ll need to consider elements such as the context, setting, characters, plot, literary devices, and themes. Remember that a literary analysis isn’t merely a summary or review, but rather an interpretation of the work and an argument about it based on the text. Jun 25,  · Writing a critical analysis of a short story is a way to expand on simply reading the story. It is also a place to express your ideas and thoughts about the author and story. A critical analysis suggests that the short story's "hidden" message can be decoded by an outside source. It also determines if that message was clearly conveyed to the reader. Analyze a Short Story Analyzing a Short Story is easy with help from Paper Masters' specific guidelines, including an outline that shows you how to analyze a short story. Paper Masters has analyzed countless short stories throughout our 18 year history.