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Elements of a Short Story

Identify and define elements of a short story Demonstrate mastery of short story elements by creating story grammar
Elements of a Short Story

A is similar to your dish. It needs the best ingredients for you to enjoy its delectable taste. Stories are made up of four important elements:

Short Story

Setting Characters, Plot, and Theme

Elements of a Short Story

Tells the reader where and when the story takes place.

Characters and
The people, and in some stories, the animals that take part in the story. The description of the personalities of the characters in the story and the way in which an author reveals their personalities.

Static or flat characters they are characters who do not have flesh and blood qualities. They normally do not undergo changes throughout the story. Example: A driver who appears in the story remains a driver until the end.

Dynamic (full or rounded) characters they are characters who live lives of sorrow and joy, sinking or swimming in the visible tides of life very much like us. They are capable of undergoing changes. Example: A beggar whom the major character helped before becomes a rich man who will help the major character in return.

Two Identifications of Characters

1. Protagonist
the hero of the story

2. Antagonist
the villain in the story who is always opposing the protagonist

Methods of Characterization
Creating Believable Characters

physical appearance

the narrators direct comments about a character

speech, thoughts, feelings, or actions of the character

speech, thoughts, feelings, or actions of other characters

The chain of related events that take place in a story. Built around conflict, which is a struggle between opposing forces.

Exposition Statement Rising Action Conflict

The plot is the sequence or order of events in a story. The plot includes:

The part of the plot that tells how the story begins.


The action in the story leading up to the climax.


The struggles or problems between opposing forces. The point of crisis in the plot. It may be the readers point of highest interest.


Falling action

The action in the story after the climax is revealed. Exposition The part of the plot that reveals the final outcome.


Types of Conflict

-Man vs. Man

-Man vs. Nature

-Man vs. Obstacle or Society

- Man vs. Supernatural Being -Man vs. Himself

is essential to the plot It is the struggle between two or more opposing forces which is the nucleus of the plot

1.Human vs. human (physical)

the leading character struggles with his physical strength against other men.

This scene from Spider Man 3 clearly depicts the concept of human vs. human - Spider Man punches Sand Man in a battle scene.

2. Human vs. society (social)

the leading character struggles against ideas, practices, or customs of other people

Quasimodo of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a clear example of a character that experienced this kind of

3. Human vs. nature

the leading character struggles the forces of nature.

This scene from the sci-fi movie 2012 clearly shows how horrible it is to face nature as an opponent.

4. Human vs. God or Supreme Being

the leading character struggles against supernatural forces.

This scene is from the War of the Worlds movie in 2005. This clearly shows how struggle against the forces of a supreme being.

5. Human vs. self (psychological)

the leading character struggles with himself/herself; with his/her own soul, ideas of right or wrong, physical limitations, choices among others.

In the movie Ironman, Tony Stark has to choose between saving the world and keeping his powers for himself.

Point of View
is defined as the angle or perspective from which the story is told. There are several kinds of point of view:

Elements of a Short Story

First Person
the story is told by the protagonist or another character that interacts closely with the protagonist or other characters (using first person pronouns I, me, we, for instance). The reader sees the story through this persons eyes as he/she experiences it and only knows what he/she knows or feels.
Elements of a Short Story

Innocent Eyes
the story is told through the eyes of a child (his/her judgment being different from that of an adult).
Elements of a Short Story

Stream of Consciousness
the story is told so that the reader feels as if they are inside the head of one character and knows all their thoughts and reactions.
Elements of a Short Story

Second Person
this is used rarely. The main character in the story is referred to using the second person pronoun you. The second person is most often used in training manuals and roleplaying games.
Elements of a Short Story

Third Person
the story is told using a narrator who is located outside the action of the story and uses third person pronouns such as he, she, his, her, they, for example. The third person point of view can be broken up into three different types:
Elements of a Short Story

1) Omniscient literally means all knowing. Using the third person omniscient point of view, the narrator can move from character to character, event to event, having free access to the thoughts, feelings and motivations of any character and can introduce information where and when he or she chooses.

2) Limited Omniscient the story is told by a third person narrator but from the viewpoint of a character in the story, usually the main character or protagonist. The reader has access to the thoughts and feelings of only one character.

3) Objective the author tells the story in the third person. It appears as though a camera is following the characters, going anywhere, and recording only what is seen and heard. There is no comment on the characters or their thoughts. No interpretations are offered. The reader is placed in the position of spectator without the author there to explain. The reader has to interpret events in his or her own.

The main idea of a story. It is not a moral, lesson, or a rule for living.

Love Family Feud

Themes from The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

Now that we have identified and defined the elements of a short story, let us use the

elements to analyze a Short

Story. You may use your notes from the PowerPoint presentation.

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,