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Short Stories

Uploaded by chalice on Dec 10, 2001

Short stories are made up mainly of plot, setting and character. It is essential that one predominates- if the story deals with action, then the plot must be emphasised, and the characters remain simple figures within it. If the story deals with setting, then character and action must both have significance, but only in relation to the setting. If the story deals with character, then the characters must be emphasised and the plot focus on their most striking features and experiences. The portrayal of these experiences, if effective, can be applied to the reader’s own life experiences, helping them to understand them and their cause, therefor exploring ideas and views of human experience.

Literature, of course, makes explicit its relationship with narrative as a mode of analysis. And in the broad field of communications the structure of linear narrative drives theories of both interpersonal communication and media studies (Fisher 1985; Lucaites & Condit, 1985). That is to say that the interpretation of both media content and the way we relate to others is understood in terms of narrative construct. For instance, in their landmark book on the pragmatics of communication Watzlawick, Beavin and Jackson (1967) discuss how each member of a communication situation constructs the event's story and how these constructions may differ from person to person. Fiske and Hartley (1978), in another anchor text on understanding television, also discuss how television is contextualized as a cultural storyteller.

The characteristics of narrative have informed the content of the dominant media of this culture for some time. After a brief initial period during which the limits of the technology were being tested, film rapidly became a story telling medium. The same was true of much of early radio. Television, of course, has taken the narrative form to new heights (some might say depths) with soap operas, situation comedies, and dramas. Even program formats not immediately perceived as narratives demonstrate our cultural need to contextualize reality in this manner. Both talk shows and news shows are popular according to how interesting they are able to make the stories they tell. Before these electric media were our primary source of entertainment, traditional print was our constant narrative companion. Linear narrative form structures most of the important institutions in this culture, from politics and religion to education and commerce. These are all examples of narrative in its highly linear structure. Linearity and sequentiality, characteristics associated...

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Uploaded by:   chalice

Date:   12/10/2001

Category:   Literature

Length:   10 pages (2,257 words)

Views:   1335

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