SHORT STORY ELEMENTS:

contemporary
living or happening in the same period of time

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eerie
weird, uncanny

incident
a single happening in a story

novel
a long fictional story with complex plot and many events and characters

omniscient
knowing all things

point of view
the position from which the author presents the story (usually first person or third person)

prose fiction
imaginary story written in ordinary language, without rhyme or meter

Read the following phrases and decide which ones could be used as a basis for a short story.
2. a championship basketball game in which a new player is the star
3. a family mix-up over selecting a birthday present for Dad.
6. the mysterious disappearance of a cake from the pantry

Read the following description of a setting for a short story and check what you can tell about the story.

In dreams I return each night to the cottage and smell again its sun-drenched pine walls and finger the shells left by the children long ago on the old porch table and listen once more to the sea.

about a person who likes to dwell in the past

Read the following description of a setting for a short story and check what you can tell about the story (Mark all that apply.).

There was no nonsense about Miss Madigan’s office. In one corner was an olive-drab metal file; and on the desk was a black telephone, a note pad, and one sharp pencil. On the wall was a district map with red and green push pins. One of the red pins was at our house, 238 Mill Street.

Something will occur involving the narrator’s house.
Miss Madigan is meticulous and organized.

Read the following description of a setting for a short story and check what you can tell about the story (Mark all that apply.).

Gregory opened the door on a scene of wild confusion. Apparently he would be living with a roommate who enjoyed books, marshmallows, hamsters, open cupboard doors, weightlifting, loud music, and photography, but not peace, order, and quiet study.

Gregory and his roommate will have difficulty adjusting to each other.
Gregory may have to learn to adjust and compromise.

Read the following description of a character and check what you think the person is like (Mark all that apply.).

In five minutes Grandmother had hugged us, carried her own bags upstairs, straightened my blouse, sent Roger to wash his hands, whisked the dirty dishes off the table, and started to sing as she washed them.

Grandmother is _____.

loving
energetic
bossy
cheerful

Read the following description of a character and check what you think the person is like (Mark all that apply.).

The young man jogged past the stand of eucalyptus trees, his whites quickly shedding the patterns of leafy shadows. A season of sunshine had gently warmed his tan complexion and had brightened his rich auburn hair. Passing by the slatted benches, he smiled encouragement to the elderly men eager to collect the memories of less weary days. As he approached the courts, his shouted greeting was answered by the high wave of his partner’s racquet.

The young man is _____.

friendly
active

Read the following description of a character and check what you think the person is like (Mark all that apply.).

“I’m not sure I can do this,” said Lonnie, “I’ve never even been to a banquet. And I got a D in public speaking, and even that was a–” He stopped in despair and stared hopelessly at his broken shoelace.

Lonnie is _____.

discouraged
shy

Classify the stated conflict.

A man works hard on a pioneer farm, only to have his first crop threatened by grasshoppers.

external

Classify the stated conflict.

A young woman has to choose between two careers.

internal

Classify the stated conflict.

A boy blinded in an accident is afraid to go out alone.

internal

Identify the person of the following sentence.

Mason Bloom was a very old man when he first visited London.

third person

Identify the person of the following sentence.

I saw the bird crash into my windshield as I swerved the car.

first person

Identify the person of the following sentence.

The purpose of diplomacy is the protection of a nation’s interests abroad.

third person

“THE CELEBRATED JUMPING FROG OF CALAVERRAS COUNTY”:

What is Jim Smiley’s main interest in life?
hustling and gambling

What had Jim Smiley taught his dog to do in a fight?
Jim Smiley taught his dog to bite the other dogs jest and hang on to it.

What is the conflict in the frame story?
between the narrator and Wheeler

Is the conflict in the story an internal or external one?
external

How did the stranger get Smiley to leave him alone with the frog?
He said he had no frog

As soon as he got the money, the stranger ran off without a word.
True
False
False

After he discovered that the frog had been weighted, Smiley forced the stranger to give back the money.
True
False
False

How does Twain complete the frame story (Mark all that apply.)?
The narrator refers again to Leonidas W. Smiley.
The narrator escapes before Wheeler can tell another long story.

Twain’s lively writing contains many examples of figures of speech; that is, he uses words in an unusual and imaginative way to give vivid pictures. The simile is one figure of speech that compares one thing to another, using the words like or as. When Twain writes, “His underjaw would stick out like the fo’castle of a steamboat,” he is using a simile. Familiar expressions such as “as cool as a cucumber,” “spread like wildfire,” and “cross as a bear” are all similes.

Find two other similes in Twain’s story.

1.) His teeth would uncover, and shine savage like the furnaces.
2.) He’d give him a little punch behind, and the next minute you’d see that frog whirling in the air like a doughnut.

In another figure of speech, the metaphor, the writer suggests a comparison without using like or as.

Examples: A torrent of words (compares the speech to a swift river)
Spectators flocked in (crowd is compared to a flock of sheep)

In the expression “He blockaded me with his chair,” Wheeler’s movements are being described in terms of what?

Wheeler’s movements are being described in the terms of being blocked away from wherever he was heading in the direction to. The chair was blocking that person.

A third figure of speech Twain uses to good effect is personification. When you represent a thing, quality, or idea as if it were a human person, you are using personification. Familiar examples are Mother Nature, Jack Frost, and Uncle Sam. This story contains good examples of personification in the description of Andrew Jackson, the dog, and Dan’l Webster, the frog. Both are given some human qualities.

List one example from the descriptions of these animals that shows them to be human, at least in Simon Wheeler’s opinion.

An example would be, “Smiley said all a frog wanted was education, and he could do most anything–and I believe him.”

During the reading of the story, you may have found passages that were too good to keep to yourself. You wanted to make someone else laugh at them, too. Twain’s sense of the ridiculous, quick wit, and humorous exaggerations remain popular even today; and he is frequently quoted.

Copy three sentences or parts of sentences that you found particularly funny and would like to share with someone else.

“Flies, Dan’l, flies!” and quicker’n you could wink, he’d spring straight up, and snake a fly off’n the counter there, and flop down on the floor again as solid as a gob of mud, and fall to scratching the side of his head with his hind foot as indifferent as if he hadn’t no idea he’d been doin’ any more’n any frog might do.

You never see a frog so modest and straight for-ard as he was, for all he was so gifted.

And when it come to fair and square jumping on a dead level, he could get over more ground at one straddle than any animal of his breed you ever see.

THE LADY, OR THE TIGER:

tone
manner of speaking or writing that reveals a certain attitude of the author

If the door did not conceal a hungry tiger, what was behind it?
a beautiful woman to wed

What do the king’s subjects seem to think of his method of justice?
It is entertaining.

What was the crime the young man committed?
loving the princess

The princess managed to find out what was behind each door.
True
False
True

The young man hopes she will _____.
signal him the door with the lady

What two emotions is the princess torn between?
love
jealousy

Answer the following question and find an instance in the story that you believe supports your answer.

I believe that the _____ (lady, tiger) came out of the door the young man opened because _____.

I believe that the lady came out of the door the young man opened because the princess felt as though she lost him while she saw the priest and everyone come out to perform the wedding.

QUIZ 1: SHORT STORY ELEMENTS:

speeches made by characters in a story
dialogue

point of highest interest or excitement
climax

struggle within one person’s mind
internal conflict

most important person in a story
protagonist

all-seeing, all-knowing
omniscient

the story introducing another story
frame

a single happening in a story
incident

If the protagonist tells the story himself, it is told in _____ person.
first

If the author tells the story but does not take part, it is told in _____ person.
third

When a speaker uses the words you, yours, yourself, he is using _____ person.
second

The one story in this section that uses first person is “_____.”
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

Select the author which the characteristic describes.

wrote a famous story without a resolution

Frank R. Stockton

Jim Smiley was more interested in betting than in anything else.
True
False
True

Madame Forestier was a popular guest at the ball.
True
False
False

plot
what happens

theme
the “meaning” of a story

setting
when and where

point of view
perspective of the storyteller

character
participant in a story

denouement
resolution

The princess had the power of life and death over her lover.
True
False
True

The frog contest took place on a steamboat on the Mississippi.
True
False
False

Monsieur and Madame Loisel borrowed more money than was needed to pay for the lost necklace because Madame Forestier insisted on it.
True
False
False

a naturalistic writer
Guy de Maupassant

liked to use dialect in his stories
Mark Twain

barbarian
savage

contemporary
present-day

riviere
necklace

obsequious
submissive

garrulous
talkative

eerie
weird

wrote about Paris society
Guy de Maupassant

Because the length of his story is limited, short-story writers typically do these things (Mark all that apply.): _____.
introduce few characters.
have a single plot.
introduce only needed details about setting.
limit descriptions.
plunge quickly into action.

Her face lit up with pleasure as quickly as a light flashing on.
simile

Fame is not always kind; sometimes she tramples on the deserving and shouts the praises of the unworthy.
personification

The students stampeded into the classroom.
metaphor

WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE:

discern
to see, understand

periodical
magazine or other publication issued on a regular schedule

prospective
possible in future

The author grew up in the small town he uses for a setting.
fact

Although I have never liked puns, I must admit this story includes many clever ones.
opinion

The story takes place in a steel mill in Pittsburgh.
fact

The author makes the reader feel the discomfort of the dirty, drab, noisy steel mill where the story takes place.
opinion

The heroine, a girl of seventeen, has never been out of her village.
fact

The author fails to make the hero seem courageous; instead, he seems cruel and unfeeling.
opinion

WRITING A LITERARY CRITIQUE:

anthology
collection of poems, stories, etc

copyright
right to publish and sell a literary or artistic work

critique
written evaluation of a literary or artistic effort

delete
to remove, omit, cross out

draft
rough or preliminary copy of a piece of writing

exotic
strikingly unusual

intrigue
a secret or underhanded plot or scheme

proofread
to check for and correct mistakes, particularly in form

publisher
individual or firm that produces, issues, and sells a written work

recapitulate
review, restate, summarize

revision
act of rewriting or partial rewriting for improvement

summary
brief restatement of the main points

trite
no longer fresh or original; overused

People should use their God-given talents as fully as possible.
to state theme

Two faithful and industrious servants increased the amount of money they had been given by their master, but a third hid his out of fear and accomplished nothing.
to describe plot

The Lord will help the faithful in their time of need.
to state theme

Because of the jealousy of Persian officials, Daniel was cast into a den of lions. He was delivered unharmed because of his trust in God.
to describe plot

A critic may comment on all elements of a short story.
True
False
True

A simile is a literary device.
True
False
True

The plot is an example of the theme in action.
True
False
True

The reviewer’s opinion should never enter into a review.
True
False
False

The reviewer’s personal reaction will affect the recommendation he makes to the reader.
True
False
True

It is impossible for any critic to not be influenced by his own beliefs, values, and prejudice.
True
False
True

The process of writing is called _____.
drafting

Before writing, it is important to organize your ideas in a process called _____.
outlining

To check spelling, grammar, and sense in their work, careful writers utilize a process called _____.
proofreading

The process of rewriting for clarity and error correction is called _____.
revising

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