lithium aluminium hydride in thf structure lansoprazole 30 mg cap delayed release definition can you buy metronidazole pills over the counter omeprazole 20 mg capsules sandoz telmisartan in high risk cardiovascular patients zovirax 800 mg acyclovir 5 prometrium amenorhea non menapausal nome generico de berotec e atrovent azithromycin uk buy house lansoprazole 30 mg cpdr lovastatin 20 mg posologia rivotril viagra online real fake where can i get viagra directly in las vegas fluoxetine capsules 20 mg reciprocal triadic causation levaquin 500 generic donde puedo comprar viagra sin receta en uruguay obsessive compulsive disorder and lexapro buy bupropion generic finasteride 1mg buy now pay clomid mercury drug price levofloxacin 500 mg and dairy products generic india cialis buying of viagra without prescription in manila does promethazine dm syrup have hydrocodone in it claritin d for fluid in ears tadacip canada propranolol use in neonates zurim 300 mg gabapentin para que serve o remedio depakote sprinkle 125 mg lipitor dosage 80 mg bloodpressure gabapentin online order 600 mg wellbutrin overdose suicide meloxicam in system viagra günstig in holland kaufen generico do cataflam comprimidos naproxen ec 500 20 mg melatonin viagra delivery to pakistan zimaks cefixime brand tacrolimus eye ointment in india discount viagra wholesale stores discount pharmacy urorec 4 mg effetti collaterali zoloft atacand prospect 16 mg dilaudid average cost lexapro tretinoin india price provera technology in the classroom is it safe to take cipro and cephalexin together arava 20 mg effet secondaire des affidabilit? cialis generico comprar kamagra online tetracycline venereal disease can a 500 mg naproxen tablet be cut street price of 600 mg ibuprofen azithromycin can buy over the counter simvastatin heumann 60 mg what is lamisil once in spanish aspirin 325 mg ec tablets cialis 20 mg for as needed use como usar metformina para adelgazar what is ondansetron used for in humans nobiten 5 mg nebenwirkungen diclofenac can you take 20 mg of cialisis every day side effects of prednisone in eye drops accutane prescription canada zyrtec tablets cost patients instructions for clomid use in bodybuilding reciprocal inhibition research in brain maximum mg dosage of nexium per day what all does ivermectin treat in dogs what is azithromycin 250 mg tablets used for viagra 6 100mg price walgreens guidance on the use of lithium batteries in nerc zanaflex reviews topiramate 100 mg alcohol efectos secundarios de synthroid 125 mg going off prozac suddenly susan sildenafil dapoxetine online tadacip 10 mg cipla pharmaceuticals ciprofloxacin leaves bad taste in mouth nolvadex d 20mg onde comprar geleia rabeprazole 20 mg twice a day medication equate ibuprofen 400mg over the counter mobicity order tracking walmart cialis 20mg prices metabolic acidosis symptoms topamax reviews cialis 5 mg von lilly medicamento generico atacand zenegra review of optometry requip modutab 8 mg parkinson web forum lamictal and wellbutrin reviews phenytoin dose in epilepsy causes fluvoxamine brand name in india hay esomeprazole genericos cost of erythromycin ophthalmic is evista available as a generic nih piracetam reviews strattera dosage cost average price of viagra per tablet at walmart cetirizine dose in paediatrics meaning nombre generico azulfidine sulfasalazine zofran odt 8 mg price does dramamine work in airplanes manfaat obat provera medroxyprogesterone acetate 10 mg lithium ion motorcycle battery australia immigration doxycycline side effects malaria patients in africa tamsulosin hydrochloride 0.4 mg price colchicine in europe baclofen umluft heitz nicht in german comparison of racemic albuterol and levalbuterol brand brain tumor in dogs prednisone dose frases celebrex de marketing digital que talking back to prozac reviews by users deplin generic form of valtrex azithromycin liquid suspension for cats albendazole in third trimester of pregnancy kroger brand aspirin prijs levitra 20 mg generic medicine for bactrim how to take ibuprofen 200 mg voltaren cream over counter chloroquine resistant malaria areas in south galantamine ukulele crestor medicine price is there a generic for amitriptyline diovan generic pricing zofran in pregnancy for nausea where can i buy dostinex online metronidazole alcohol 72 hours in roseland how long does lisinopril 5mg remain in system 451 plendil generic name lithium polymer batteries for sale ukiah prednisone generico nombre how much is kamagra in amsterdam roxithromycin 300 mg penicillin which brands make metronidazole tablet felodipine 5 mg er tablets with keyboards isotretinoin rezeptfrei bestellen cost of topiramate uk fusika viagra generic zantac use in newborns aricept 10mg price cymbalta drug usage xenical slimming tablets uk lexapro 10 mg efectos secundarios prednisone 5 mg side effects weight gain order amoxicillin online dr reddy generic cialis lyrica pregabalin 75 mg obat apa dexamethasone metronidazole in mercury drug lithium sodium potassium order reactivity of hydrogen generic version combivent skinmedica vitamin c e complex ingredients in aleve levaquin 500 mg cpt phenergan 25 mg injection for osteoporosis buy clomid fast delivery to uk diflucan 200 mg posologia branduri celebrex outlet shopping prospecto acetilcisteina kern pharma 600 mg gabapentin simvastatin 10 mg tab in toto propecia prescription from walk in clinics buy vytorin 1040 tabs 1040mg brand name viagra cipla systemic isotretinoin in the treatment of rosacea flagyl 500 mg endovenoso buy prozac in internet topiramate cash price discount generic viagra usa bosulif 500 mg amoxicillin cetirizine 10 mg kruidvat prescription strength ibuprofen mg for kids candesartan in patients with metoprolol succinate extended release brands in india arimidex tablets uk only amoxil 500 mg ??? ?? ???? bystolic generic version of viagra amitriptyline medsafe datasheet archive power bank lithium polymer pantip thailand sotalol side effects headache in back where to buy viagra in kota kinabalu benadryl dose in 1 year old 88 mg jsp levothyroxine generic olanzapine baownbeuv is abilify generic is it safe to drink and take zoloft lexapro and libido in women where can i buy clomid 100mg diltiazem hcl 240 mg cap sante olotels positive reviews of wellbutrin cialis generico farmacias similares quetiapine vs clonazepam reviews amaryl 4 mg 30 tablet free valtrex howdotofound online low cost trileptal rulide roxithromycin 300 mg naltrexone bupropiona onde comprar roupas 875 mg amoxicillin for ear infection pulmicort 0 5mg ml cenac over the counter medicine with ibuprofen zanaflex 4 mg ingredients in tylenol does target parmacy sell over the counter fluconazole celecoxib capsules 200mg reviews is valtrex safe for teenagers roles of progesterone in males chapada do norte mg cephalexin ventolin hfa brand name amitriptyline brand name australia metronidazole 20 mg bactrim in sickle cell disease loratadine biogaran 10 mg is it safe to take levitra when i have atrial fib realia xalatan after prostatectomy 20 mg cialis dapsone 100 mg sched a tecnica in inglese guarana tablets 1200 mg ibuprofen comprar orlistate online joseph c allegra papers medicine health in cancer res how quickly does fluconazole work in infants bactrim liquid concentration is ibuprofen gel safe in pregnancy use of prednisone in migraine can you get high on buspirone hydrochloride 15 mg buy line viagra meclizine available over the counter clomiphene side effects in pregnancy diflucan price in pakistan samsung side effects of 60 50 40 30 20 10 mg prednisone bupropion 300 mg price does midol have ibuprofen in it how much plavix cost thorntons chocolate truffles ingredients in benadryl lovastatin 20 mg indicaciones propecia preparato in farmacia ginisang kangkong ingredients in benadryl metronidazole in cats free generic plavix samples cabergoline medindia clonidine medication generic flovent lowest price erythromycin injection brands in india fucidin cream price uk used blackberry decadron 24 mg alternatives to prednisone for allergies in dogs albendazole 400 mg tablet bacche di acai nuvoryn si trova in farmacia nexium tabletas 20 mg walgreens brand dramamine permethrin brand name flagyl safe in pregnancy zyban and wellbutrin sr reviews can lexapro 10 mg get you high sandoz fluoxetine review benadryl pills mg side effects of donepezil hcl 5 mg what is the best acai weight loss product margaret berger mgp promethazine lithium side effects uk yj generics for nexium social anxiety zoloft reviews aciclovir whartisthebestin without prescription ibuprofen atid 200 mg filmtabletten amoxicillin 500mg for sinus infection reviews augmentin in usa dexamethasone in cancer pain trazodone 50 mg cause weight gain benadryl dosage in 24 hours maxalt 3 cpr 10 mg clindamycin 600 mg antibiotik arimidex costco wholesale order propecia online usa entocort 3mg comprar casas optivar buy side effects of generic valtrex online micardis 80 mg tbl is there a generic brand for voltaren gel acquistare viagra in romania nolvadex tamoxifen 10 mg astrazeneca us pentasa 1 grain to mg 15 mg lipitor how much viagra can aman take in one day safely vitamin k warfarin uk map gabapentin 2700 mg cheapest bupropion pharmacy com orville redenbacher pop crunch ingredients in aleve is fluconazole safe during breast feeding is erythromycin safe for cats eyes order bicalutamide online ibuprofen 400mg tablets price generic lamictal images revatio howdotofound canada viagra available in rawalpindi propecia generico peru cephalexin 250 mg for sore throat how many levitra can u take in one day are beta vlockers and cialis safe 100 mg clomid and hcg shot bicasan 20 mg prednisone safe viagra from canada greenstone lipitor generic tacrolimus levels in renal transplant medications amitriptyline 10 mg at night meloxicam 7 5 mg thuoc va ciprofloxacin hcl 250 mg tablet pill cost of generic colchicine griseofulvin 250 mg dosage bactrim contraindications in pregnancy bystolic 5 mg for anxiety costco finasteride 1mg buy sildenafil 100 mg troche medication increase in anxiety when starting lexapro adobo with pepper ingredients in benadryl can you take a 20mg cialis while on 5 mg for bph flagyl 250 mg prospect casodex 50 mg onde comprar vestido cual generico ventolin cost of depo provera injection motilium lactation reviews contenido de etodolac 300 mg finasteride hair loss australia keppra level in blood viagra wieviel mg metronidazole prescription for dogs at walmart abilify maintenance package insert pdf in autocad what does parlodel do in the body dose of acetazolamide in glaucoma is there a generic viagra on the market is 20 mg of cialis a safe dosage trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole tablets in india how long does 1 150 mg diflucan stay in your system can you take 800 mg ibuprofen with oxycodone diferencia plavix generico liquid zantac for newborns jim cymbalta speaking in tongues in the bible purim border clip art 400 mg aspirin daily kidney damage j brand zestril is metoclopramide safe for infants metoprolol retard 50 mg bijsluiter viagra ketoconazole tabletas 200 mg posologia pollen hold order for digoxin levofloxacin 500 mg and leg pain best lip balm when using accutane ener plus capsule 500 mg metformin se puede comprar viagra sin receta en valencia ciprofloxacin in the elderly is benadryl safe for dogs abilify side effects drooling in cats culturelle inactive ingredients in synthroid zyban 150 mg com 30 comprimidos in english amoxicillin 250 mg 5 ml dosis paracetamol zocor 10 mg effectiveness vs efficiency 25 mg phenergan dosages does prednisone cause facial hair in women actos canada is enteric aspirin safe for dogs lipitor 20 mg adalahny depakote er 500mg reviews on hydroxycut tamsulosin reviews patients groveda ingredients in aleve augmentin liquid forgot to refrigerate fluconazole 150 mg tablet ingredients in coke clomid and pcos uk top safe take prozac klonopin generic doxycycline capsules cialis sicher online bestellen how much liquid benadryl for 4 year old how much aricept cost wellbutrin xl 300 mg withdrawal from hydrocodone claritin 10 mg tabletka po how much does it cost to get a viagra prescription generic names elavil seroquel 1200 mg hydrochlorothiazide in lactation fexofenadine hydrochloride 180 mg price genericsweb rosuvastatin dosage lamisil generic kroger sang piao xiao san ingredients in benadryl risperdal dosage in elderly phenergan elixir boots chemist ireland can i get generic viagra at walmart over the counter can you buy viagra over the counter in cozumel mexico clomid causa dor de cabeça buy generic finasteride 5mg proscar microgestin 1 20 fe generic lipitor buy misoprostol nigeria ondansetron odt 4 mg used for upset tummy buy female cialis 20 mg washington is dulcolax safe for toddlers fisch gefroren in den baclofen vs flexeril dapoxetine onde comprar vestido gabapentin dose in cats ednyt 5 mg lexapro reviews for torrent pharmacy celexa bactrim safe with zoloft unisom 25 mg pregnancy announcements clomid liquid australia immigration what does generic toprol look like incoril ap 240 mg diltiazem serkele ingredients in benadryl reditabs buy viagra felodipine brand name lalap tablet 100 mg gabapentin sevelamer 800 mg tabs guitar lithium battery for motorola grasp reviews cymbalta overseas india no prescription omeprazole generic 20mg zyrtec in 1 year old aspirin 81 mg uses treatment foe overdose of fluconazole in cats valacyclovir canadian amoxicillin 500 mg safe dosage how much does seroquel 50 mg cost genericos do viagra nomes de meninos dexamethasone in preterm labour misoprostol sales associate dutasteride generic uk address zithromax 250mg safe during pregnancy bula annita 500 mg naproxen buy cialis 20mg online canada citalopram ratiopharm 20 mg clindamycin 300 mg untuk jerawat resdung can you buy viagra in stores zovirax 500 mg prozac lithium in water how long does quetiapine stay in your system arimidex generic india finasteride visado nasacort vs flonase reviews of risen prednisone for fever in dogs chemical reaction of aspirin in the stomach diclofenac indian brands kamagra gold 100mg reviews cefixime in pid put aspirin in the flower pot information about celebrex medication cost thunder sky lithium eisen phosphate akkusativ is doxycycline in the same family as amoxicillin costeas geitonas ibuprofen can bupropion cause ringing in the ears 20 mg zocor zyprexa 10 mg prijs occidental vacation club positive reviews of lexapro argeflox ciprofloxacina 500 mg buying viagra from canada diovan 80 mg dose priligy dapoxetine in thailand 50 vs 100 mg viagra benadryl dosage for dogs mgkgmin clonidine eeg in pediatric sedation cytotec abortion pill in pakistan iman precio prozac generico costamezzana prednisone how much is finasteride in pharmacy synthroid 0.25 mg side effects clotrimazole powder brand name prozac 20 mg tabletas electronicas tamsulosin 0.4 mg causing stuffy nose cipro 1a pharma 250 mg einnahme tarivid tab ofloxacin 100 mg valacyclovir sandoz 1000 mg preisvergleich comprar viagra em sorocaba zolpidem tartrate 10 mg tablet overdose on benadryl somac 40 mg iv lasix nolvadex in treatment of men infertility propecia buy online generic and n brand name of simvastatin anna hazare in janta ki adalat viagra in walgreens celebrex 200 mg que es cost of viagra in bali history of socialism in the united states books written how to buy viagra from pfizer viagra in tesco toilets chiral carbons in venlafaxine 75mg 10 lpc in betnovate lotion miss vickies lime and black pepper ingredients in aleve miller davis and peoples reviews on celexa does amoxicillin leave a bad taste in your mouth hydrochlorothiazide losartan generic pharmacy medicamento aciclovir clirbest voltaren gel generic equivalent dexamethasone 4 mg thuoc nghe viagra super dulox force reviews anyone tell me where to buy cialis in singapore where to buy xenical diet pill in edmontonpill zoloft generic walmart sleep patient review abilify keflex in renal dosing how to alternate tylenol and motrin in adults cipro 400 mg ivig v 5092 20 mg prednisone reviews on healthy man viagra cost zovirax ointment high on 800 mg ibuprofen images perivasc bula generico do viagra sildenafil price in bangladesh cipro 1a pharma 100 mg pille am visat multe cartia can i buy bactrim for dogs over the counter dapoxetine 90 mg kaufen epure membranous jelly masque ingredients in benadryl



West Chester University

Fall 2002

West Chester University

Spring 2002

Fall 2001





Course Information
  WRT 120 Syllabus
  Lit 165 Syllabus
  About the Instructor

Notes for Effective Writing I
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'
  Writing Descriptively
  What Makes a Good Story?
  Building a Thesis
  Notes on 'Purpose'
  Strategies for Writing Introductions
  Strategies for Writing Conclusions
  Assignment #5: Argument
  Understanding Rational Argument

Notes for Introduction to Literature
  Fundamental Questions About Literature
  Critical Approaches to Literature
  Approaching Literature
  Critical Thinking and Reading Literature
  Notes on Four Short Stories
  The Genesis of the Short Story
  Defining the Short Story
  The Art of the Short Story
  A Vocabulary for Fiction and Beyond
  Notes on Nathaniel Hawthorne
  Responding to 'The Birthmark'
  A Guided Reading of 'Bartleby the Scrivener'
  Bartleby--Questions for Analysis
  A Cultural Context for 'Bartleby the Scrivener'
  Notes on Innovative Fiction
  Study Guide for Fiction Exam
  Billy Collins - 'Introduction to Poetry'
  A Catalogue of Poems for Study
  Approaching a Definition of Poetry?
  Reading Poetry
  The Craft of Poetry: Imagery
  Readings from 'The United States of Poetry'
  The Craft of Poetry: Sound
  The Craft of Poetry: Structure
  Lines of Continuity
  Study Guide for Poetry Exam
  The Birth of Drama
  On Tragic Character
  Stepping Through 'Oedipus the King'
  Analyzing 'Oedipus the King'
  The Relevance 'Oedipus'Today
  Study Guide for the Drama Exam

Announcements and Assignments
  WRT 120 Announcements
  WRT 120 Assignments
  LIT 165 Announcements
  Lit 165 Assignments


Go Exploring
  Weblog for WRT 120
  Weblog for LIT 165
  Writing Assistance on the Web

Join an Online Forum
  WRT 120 Composition Forum
  LIT 165 Introduction to Literature Forum

~~ Genesis of the Short Story ~~

The short story, the genre we've been studying, grew out of a tradition that goes back all the way to the beginnings of recorded civilization. But its modern form-like the several stories we've been analyzing for instance-is relatively new in the larger scheme of things. Understanding the roots of this modern genre, its genesis, can help you gain a greater appreciation for the art of the short story as it exists for us today.

In its broadest sense, stories have been with us since we've been keeping track of culture. In the earliest days of recorded civilization, people were telling stories both factual and fictional. Histories and mythical stories alike were passed down and written down which helped form the core identity of different particular cultural groups. Rich oral traditions flourished all over the world. There was a giant cultural leap ahead with the invention of the alphabet and written language. Epic narratives celebrating national heroes emerged as long as 4,000 years ago -- the oldest surviving one being The Epic of Gilgamesh. The Greeks gave us the Iliad and the Odyssey. And you can even see the short story get under way in the form of fables and parables and short episodic "tales" (like in the Satyricon, a raucous Greek work that's sometimes referred to as the world's first "novel.")

By the Middle Ages, short narratives had become versified; an Old English example is the incredible tale of Beowulf.

A major leap forward happened in the 14th century when paper began to replace parchment. At this time short, secular tales began to be popular. Two notable examples are Giovanni Boccacio's Decameron and Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. People were beginning to see literature as something pleasurable and entertaining, but the element of "moral instruction" was still a strong expectation. It had to be "sweet but instructive," as critics like St. Thomas Aquinas warned against "too much eloquence." The merely entertaining was too decadent, not to be trusted. But by the 18th century, that medieval distrust began to recede and prose forms began to develop which appealed to an increasingly sophisticated, well-educated and leisured middle class. The variety of prose forms became popular at this time-character sketches, satires, gothic tales, rogue stories, adventure stories, sentimental tales-and the novel as we now know it gets under way in the 18th century.

As the Romantic period flourished, it gave rise to a plethora of periodicals and periodical literature. This stuff was amazingly popular-and the more sensational the better (more about that when we study "Bartleby"). Melville, Hawthorne, and Poe (three American representatives of early short story) all wrote for the periodical presses. In France Maupassant (you may have read his oft anthologized story "The Necklace") became popular and influential. Russia had Anton Chekhov. All of these writers (and others) together helped create the modern short story. And that's where our textbook arrives on the scene. All of these writers are represented by the Bedford text.

Another way to understand the art of the short story is to compare it more explicitly to some of the early forms mentioned above -- particularly, the "fable" and the "tale.
Consider these definitions from the Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms.

The Glossary defines "tale" this way-

"A comparatively simple narrative, either fictitious or true, written or recounted orally in prose or verse. A tale often recounts a strange event, focusing on something or someone exotic, marvelous, or even supernatural. Tales may be attributable to a particular author, whether known or anonymous, or may simply be part of the lore of a given culture. Whatever their origin, tales tend to be relatively short narratives; nevertheless, the term is broad enough that both critics and authors have applied it to longer works ranging up to full-length novels.
Tale is sometimes used interchangeably with short story, or even as a general term encompassing the short story, among other literary forms, but modern critics typically distinguish between the two. The tale places more emphasis on actions and results than on character, which is the chief focus of the short story. Furthermore, tales are more casually constructed-and, consequently, far looser in terms of plot and structure-than short stories, which bear the mark of an author's careful and conscious fashioning.

Traditional "short tales" include The Thousand and One Nights (also called The Arabian Nights), an anonymous collection of Arabic tales from the Middle Ages such as the stories of Aladdin and Sinbad; The Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1387); Jonathon Swift's A Tale of a Tub (1704); Lady Shikibu Mruasaki's The Tale of Genji (c. 1001-1015); and a variety of folk tales, fairy tales, tall tales.

How is this different from the modern short story?

  • Tales are either "fictitious or true" but short stories are always fictitious
  • Tales can be "oral" whereas the modern short story is almost universally published on paper before being recited, if it is ever recited.
  • Tales were generally about "strange events, focusing on something exotic, marvelous, or even supernatural" but the modern short story tends to be realistic rather than fantastic.
  • Tales are sometimes anonymous, a part of the culture, whereas short stories are always the province of a particular, named author.
  • Tales place more emphasis on "action and results" whereas modern short stories are more concerned with character.
  • Tales may be loosely constructed in terms of plot, but modern short stories are carefully crafted.

The Glossary defines "fable" even more simply:

"A short, fictional (nonhistorical) prose or verse tale with a specific moral. As allegorical works, fables are told to illustrate a particular point or lesson, which is often explicitly expressed at the end of the tale via an epigram.

The term fable also has other connotations. It has been applied to lies, legends, unbelievable stories, and myths, but none of these are standard critical usages of the term.
Aesop's Fables are undoubtedly the most well known examples of this genre.

The point to notice here is that if you're looking for a story with a clear "moral" or a "lesson," you are probably thinking of the "fable" rather than the modern short story. A modern short story may have a "theme," or several "themes," but it won't be an explicit illustration of a single theme or moral or lesson. The point of the story is not to hammer home one clear "theme." Instead, a rich modern short story offers readers opportunities to make their own meanings, and there might be many themes.

Read this piece written by Somerset Maugham in 1933. In what ways does it resemble a fable or a tale?

W. Somerset Maugham (1933)

Death speaks: There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me. The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning? That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

*Anthologized in Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 7th ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, Eds. New York: Longman, 1999.


This piece illustrates that, in contrast to modern fiction, the language of the fable and the tale can be very plain and unelevated; the writer is not interested in using language artistically. The "plot" is loosely constructed; events are told in summary fashion, not rendered or recreated in vivid detail. This is not "verbal art." The storyteller's main concern is to focus our attention on the moral, the message, the lesson to be learned. The story single-mindedly builds directly towards that moral, which is sometimes directly stated at the end. If it isn't stated outright, it's implied. How would you put into words the "moral" of the brief story above? It might be something like, "No matter how hard you try, you can't escape death."

In the tale -- think of "Rip Van Winkle" for instance -- there's a more complex dramatic situation and maybe a more developed conflict. There's the more familiar story structure -- a beginning, middle, and end -- which may more closely resemble a plot, with its pyramid of development (foreshadowing, crisis, turning point/climax, and resolution). In the beginning of a tale, the teller sets the scene, introduces the characters, gives us background details we may need. The middle of the tale is signaled by a "complication" (some new conflict), and the end is the resolution or the outcome of the conflict. This dramatic structure can sometimes be very suspenseful much like a modern plot, and when you study some of the more famous tales (The Arabian Nights, The Canterbury Tales, etc), you can see what the modern short story owes to these earlier forms.

The modern form of the short story is more expansively descriptive, providing more complexities of character, setting, and events. However, fables and tales do share some elements with modern forms of fiction. As you look up at "The Appointment in Samarra," you probably recognize some of the basic elements of the modern story writer's craft, even in this early form. There's plot, character, setting, point of view, and even a dash of symbolism and irony here.

PLOT. Although it's the barest meat on the bone, something is happening, and something consequential, momentous, worthy of our attention, happens at the end. A man is trying to escape Death, but he loses in the end. Death is destined to find him.

CHARACTER. Although we don't get to know them well, we can relate to the people in this story. Who doesn't try to avoid death? But the characters are broadly drawn rather than individuals. They could be us, but they could be absolutely anyone. They're "human." Like many tales, this one includes a a fantastic element (a supernatural character)-Death (who also happens to be one of the narrators).

SETTING. Mentioned in the story is that it takes place in Bagdad, a worldly city, which I believe lends some meaning to the story. Even in sophisticated cities, people can't avoid death. All our sophistication can't save us from that fate.
POINT OF VIEW. "Death" tells the story. The writer has created a narrator, named him/her "Death," a personified abstraction. This created storyteller is someone other than the author of the fable. This gets very artful and complex in the modern short story. Writers play with point of view frequently and sometimes to great effect.

SYMBOLISM. There's another level of meaning that the literal one. One possible symbol is the "fastest horse," who, fast as it is, can't outrun death. We can't escape death by any earthly means, even means we think of as invincible or superior. Today our "fastest horse" might be modern medicine, but as we all know, that too has its limitations. The story does encourage us to think metaphorically, to explore meanings on more than one literal level.

The modern short story distinguishes itself, ultimately from its early roots. Its "meticulous and deliberate craftsmanship" (Glossary) -- the way it handles plot, setting, narrative point of view, and especially character -- represent an artistic development, a progression beyond these earlier forms.






Questions? Contact me.

All materials unless otherwise indicated are copyright © 2001-2002 by Stacy Tartar Esch.
FALL 2001 site is available at BRAINSTORM-SERVICES.COM
The original contents of this site may not be reproduced, republished, reused, or retransmitted
without the express written consent of Stacy Tartar Esch.
These contents are for educational purposes only.