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Elements of the Short Story

Elements of the Short Story

Author: Karen Hamilton

Upon successful completion of this lesson students will be able to identify the central idea of a short story, identify the major elements of a short story, and prepare a response to a short story.

This tutorial details the elements of a story and how to write a response to a story.

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Elements of the Short Story Lecture

View this slideshow for a quick overview of short story elements.

Source: Unknown

Elements of a Story video

Watch this video for a better understanding of the parts of a story.

Source: You Tube - Ms. Avila

Complete the short story analysis worksheet by answering the following questions on your own paper. You can copy the text below and paste it into your Word document.



TITLE OF STORY:_______________________________________________________


AUTHOR OF STORY:____________________________________________________



I.  THEME—The central idea that the author wishes to set forth in his or her writing.

To find the theme, ask yourself these questions:

 What is the story about?




 What is the central idea?




What observation(s) does the author make or imply about human nature or the state of society?




II.  PLOT—A series of related events that the author uses to develop the theme of a story. To identify the plot, ask yourself these questions:


 What happens in the beginning of the story?




 What happens in the middle of the story?




  What happens at the end of the story?



III. CHARACTER—The action of the story is centered around the characters in the story.  One central character usually dominates the story.


Describe the most important character in the story.





2.  Describe at least two other characters in the story.




IV. SETTING—The stage upon which the action of the story takes place.  The setting is to a story just as the background is to a painting.


Describe the setting of the story.  Where does the story take place?




In what year and time of year does the story take place?




3.  What is the mood in the story?



V.  POINT OF VIEW—The author’s choice of the teller of the story.  The point of view is important to the total structure and meaning of the short story.


Who is telling the story?



Why do you think the author made this choice?


VI.  FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE - metaphor, simile, personification, alliteration, imagery


List at least five instances of figurative language used in the story. You should have at least two different types. Be sure to cite the item and tell what kind of figurative language it is.


Figurative Language Example

Type of Figurative Language