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Short Story Analysis

Short Story Analysis

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Published by Roshan

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Published by: Roshan on Apr 16, 2010
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06/21/2011

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Short story analysisGeneral Questions for the Analysis & Evaluation of Short StoriesPLOT1.
Who is the Protagonist of the story? What are the conflicts? Are they physical, intellectual,moral or emotional? Is the main conflict between good and evil sharply differentiated, or is itmore subtle and complex?
2.
Does the plot have unity? Are all the episodes relevant to the total meaning or effect of thestory? Doeseach incident grow logically out of the preceding incident and lead naturally to the next? Is theending happy,unhappy, or undetermined? Is it fairly achieved?
3.
What use does the story make of chance and coincidence? Are these occurrences used toinitiate, tocomplicate, or to resolve the story? How improbable are they?
4.
How is the suspense created in the story? Is the interest confined to examples of mystery? Of dilemma?
5.
What use does the story make of surprise? Are the surprises achieved fairly? Do they serve asignificantpurpose? Do they divert the reader’s attention from weakness in the story?
6.
 To what extent is this a “formula” story?
CHARACTERS1.
What means does the author use to reveal characters? Are the characters sufficientlydramatized? What useis made of character contrast?
2.
Are the characters consistent in their actions? adequately motivated? plausible? Does theauthorsuccessfully avoid stock characters?
3.
Is each character developed enough to justify his role in the story? Are the main charactersround or flat?
4.
Are any of the characters a developing character? If so, is his/her change a large or small one?Is it aplausible change for him/her? Is he/she sufficiently motivated? Is she/he given sufficient time?
THEME1.
Does the story have a theme? What is it? Is it implicit or explicit?
2.
Does the theme reinforce or oppose popular notions of life? Does it furnish a new insight orrefresh ordeepen an old one?
POINT OF VIEW1.
What point of view does the story use? Is it consistent in its use of this point of view? If shiftsare made, arethey justified?
2.
What are the advantages of the chosen point of view? Does it furnish any clues as to thepurpose of the
 
story?
3.
If the point of view is that of one of the characters, does this character have any limitationsthat affect his/herinterpretation of events or persons?
4.
Does the author use point of view primarily to reveal or conceal? Does he/she unfairly withholdimportantinformation known to the focal character?
SYMBOLISM AND IRONY 1.
Does the meaning of the story make use of symbols? If so, do the symbols carry or merelyreinforce themeaning of the story?
2.
Does the story utilize irony of situation? dramatic irony? verbal irony? What functions do theironiesserve?
EMOTION AND HUMOUR1.
Does the story aim directly at an emotional effect, or is emotion merely its natural by-product?
2.
Is the emotion sufficiently dramatized? Is the author anywhere guilty of sentimentality?
FANTASY 1.
Does the story employ fantasy? If so, what is the initial assumption? Does the story operatelogically fromthis assumption?
2.
Is the fantasy employed for its own sake, or to express some human truth? If the latter, whattruth?
GENERAL1.
Is the primary interest of the story in the plot, character, theme, or some other element?
2.
What contribution to the story is made by the setting? Is the particular setting essential, orcould the storyhave happened anywhere?
3.
What are the characteristics of the author’s style? Are they appropriate to the nature of thestory?
4.
What light is thrown on the story by its title?
5.
Do all the elements of the story work together to support the central purpose? Is any partirrelevant orinappropriate?
6.
What do you conceive to be the story’s central purpose? How fully has the story achieved thatpurpose?
7.
Does the story chiefly offer escape or does it have greater significance? How lofty is the story’spurpose?
8.
Does the story gain or lose on a second reading?

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