Six elements of fiction :plot, character, setting, point of view, voice and style, and theme. “The theme of a story abstracts its meaning from the concrete details of its plot, point of view, characterization, setting, and style” “Theme is a generalization about the meaning of a story. It is more than the subject of the story… [and] is also different from the plot. …Theme comes last in a discussion of the elements of fiction because it is the consequence of all the other elements in a story. The structure and theme of a story are fused like the body and soul of a reader…. Though the summary of a writer’s theme is no substitute for the story in its entirety, your attempt to state it can help you to understand the story better” Compare and contrast two of the four short stories listed below.
Begin your discussion of each story by stating what you think its theme is, and then describe how the other five elements identified by your editors contribute to articulating the theme. Use as many of the other five elements as you think are relevant in contributing to the theme; some elements will be more important than others, and one or two may not be relevant, depending upon your choice of stories. For example, point of view may be ‘neutral’ or non-judgmental, and voice (of the narrator/author) or style may also not be particularly relevant.
Do not simply recite how each element, by itself, is present in the story. Your discussion of the elements should be integrated and you don’t necessarily have to identify the elements by name—e.g., you can refer to what happens in a story without calling it the plot or summarizing the plot, and you can refer to a character’s trait or personality without constructing a full profile of the character. The same can be said for point of view, especially where it is in the third person and not omniscient. Conclude your essay by drawing whatever parallels or contrasts you see between the two stories you have chosen.
You should prepare by making an outline of the points you wish to make regarding the way each element contributes to a short story and then work from that outline. Be careful not to distort or overemphasize either story’s theme or any of its individual elements for the sake of drawing parallels or emphasizing differences between the two stories. Before ou finalize your essay, write a topic sentence outline of it and attach the outline to the paper. Your essay should be at least three pages, but only so long as is necessary to say what you have to say.
William Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily,” pp. 146-52.
Ernest Hemingway, “Hills Like White Elephants,” pp. 224-27.
James Joyce, “Araby,” pp. 264-68.
John Steinbeck, “The Chrysanthemums,” pp. 507-27.
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Topic: Outline for Araby and Hills
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