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What Works in a Short Story
Identify your favorite short story--written by you or someone else--and describe one quality that makes it work, making specific references to the text.
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Article posted October 19, 2011 at 04:03 PM •
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My favorite short story is probably _The Ransom of Red Chief_ by William Porter, or O Henry. It is about two crooks who kidnap a little boy of a rich person so that they could ransom him for a lot of money. The funny part of the story is that after they kidnap him, they find out that he is the most annoying and child in the world! He hits the crooks. Then, when they call for the ransom because they want to get rid of the boy, the rich man refuses saying that he wants money from THEM for the boy to eb returned which id really funny because that is not something the crooks expected. They followed through with the agreement and got rid of the boy. I like it because I think it is a funny story that portrays two men who think they have a genius plot on their hands, and it gets turned on it’s head.
Comment Posted on October 23, 2011 at 03:23 PM by
Although I only read a section of it,my favorite short story is Hop-Frog by Edgar Allen Poe. It is about a king and his jester,whom he calls Hop-Frog,becasue he is a midget.Hop-Frog doesn't like being made fun of and abused for others amusement,so he plots his revenge. The king throws a party and Hop-Frog joins.He knows he shouldn't have wine,but he takes a cup.He goes insane,and kills everyone there.He stands proud and happy he got revenge,but realizes what he did, and has to live with it for all his life. It is a good story i believe because it shows real emotions used in a dark way.You aren't sure weather to feel happy for Hop-Frog or bad for everyone else. That is up to the reader.
1 day late
Comment Posted on October 21, 2011 at 11:05 PM by
My favorite short story of all time is Robin Hood. This story was written by Walker McSpadden. This man traveled across the land of King Harry of England the Second with his band of outlaws stealing money from the rich, then giving it to the poor. I liked this book since I was a little kid, and I thought it was a good thing that he stole from the rich and gave to the poor. I think that everyone either has read the book about Robin Hood or seen the Movie.
Comment Posted on October 21, 2011 at 08:08 AM by
My favorite short story is an English fairy tale, 'Cap O' Rushes'. It's about a king who loves his daughters very much, buying them beautiful dresses and jewels and pampering them endlessly. When the king asks them just how much they love him, the first two reply with similar answers: "Oh, father, I love you as much as all the stars in the sky!" "More than all the fish in the sea, and then some!". But the third daughter smiles faintly and simply replies "I love you as much as meat loves salt." The king casts her out from the castle in a rage, claiming that she doesn't love him at all even after all that he's done.
Time passes, and the two older daughters have stolen a good portion of their father's wealth and moved away, cutting off contact. The king is growing old and is very lonely, and decides to throw a feast for the nobles and nearing royal family. Meanwhile, the youngest daughter has been living as a poor woman in the nearby village. One day, she walks up to the castle (where she used to live) and asks for work. Seeing how young this girl is, the servants take her in, putting her to work in the kitchens.
On the night of the great feast, the princess reveals herself as who she really is in the kitchens, and the servants all bow down before her, asking her if there's anything that they can do for her. She gives them specific instructions to prepare two meals: one lacking in a specific ingredient, and one with everything included. They do as she wishes, and soon, the first meal is sent out.
It looks and smells delicious- everyone starts to dig in, but soon they all throw down their forks in disgust. The food is bland and flavorless- it tastes terrible! Just as people are starting to leave, the second meal is sent out- the one /with/ salt. Just as everyone's finishing up, the princess comes out of the kitchen and reveals herself to the king, and explains to him that what she meant was that her life would be bland and without excitement. He immediately hugs her and apologizes, and everyone's happy again.apologizes.
I like this story because it's quick and heartwarming.
Comment Posted on October 21, 2011 at 08:01 AM by
My favorite short story is The Dinner Party. It is about a group of people in India (both men and woman) at a dinner party. all of the men are talking about how woman are always scared of everything and scream at the sight of even a tiny mouse. Then one of the woman tells a servant to open the door and put out milk on the porch and when the servant does a giant snake slithers outside. One of the men later asked how she knew it was there and she simply replies that it slithered across her foot.
I love this story because it shows how not all woman a scaredy cats. It also showed the men that they were wrong and kind of embarrassed them in front of everyone. Even though woman can be scared of things, men can be just as much if not more. I really love this story and think more people would like to read it.
Comment Posted on October 21, 2011 at 07:57 AM by
My favortie Short Story is The Ransom of Red Cheif by O'Henry. It is a good story because it doesnt have gaps in its plot. The plot is very easy to recognize. Most short storys have gaps in their plot. Sometimes the whole plot isnt even conveyed. Most short storys are very serious or boring almost. this book is very funny. It makes a very bland genre of writing fun.
Comment Posted on October 21, 2011 at 07:56 AM by
My favorite short story is Necklace by Guy de Maupassant. I liked this story because it showed me a valuble lesson. The main character lost her friend's diamond necklace so she went out to buy another one to replace it. In the end the main character bought the neckalcebut had to work to pay off the price of the necklace. 10 years later she met up with her friend and found out the neckalace she had lost was fake and only worth a little bit of money. This taught me to tell the truth before I get into more trouble than its worth. Also the author used a lot of figurative language so I felt like I was actually in the story.
Comment Posted on October 21, 2011 at 07:17 AM by
My favorite short story is "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, which we read in Ms.Goutsmiedl's class last year, from the Junior Great books. I really liked this story because it made you think of the future and the next generation. What will it be like, good or bad? The author had a very creative mind and wrote about all kinds of wierd stuff, which had one goal, to make everyone equal in the story. For example, if there was a person way prettier than other people, he/she had to cover his/her face with a mask, in order to not make other people feel bad about themselves. I think the quality that made the story very intereseting was how great the author could build suspense and how colorful he painted the story with his huge immagination.
Comment Posted on October 21, 2011 at 06:43 AM by
Edgar Allen Poe was a genius when it came to mysteries. I'd have to say my favorite short story would also be the purloined letter. Mr. Poe drops little red herrings all through the story to make you suspect or think one way to lead you off the trail of the real criminal. The British police had checked the suspect’s house thoroughly for the stolen letter that had considerable importance, then Mr.Dupin found the letter disguised as an old unimportant piece of paper. Edgar Allen Poe builds this story up with great suspense and ends it with a clever resolution. This is definitely my favorite short story.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 10:52 PM by
My favorite short story was a mystery that we read in Ms. Gutsmeidl called "The Purloined Letter" by Edgar Allan Poe. One quality that made the short story work is that they make it very suspenseful because Poe tells you everything except for where the letter was hidden.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 10:18 PM by
My favorite short story is one called, "Camera Shy." I love this story because of how it is meant to unnerve or shock you, and it does that so well. The story takes an emotion that we all feel, the feeling we are being followed or watched which is often referred to as the actual human sixth sense, and puts a new view on it, a view as if it isn’t just a chill down your spine but it is actually someone following you, just out of the range of your peripheral vision. The next time you have the feeling you are being watched you relate to what happened here and will freeze and tense up and either be too frightened to look behind you or frantically look around trying to not let your guard down. It adds a sense of extreme paranoia to the common world around you.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 10:14 PM by
My favorite short story is "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. In this story, a small village has a ritual called "The Lottery" where everyone gathers to draw a name in order to kill off one of the villagers by beating that person with stones. The only thing is, the story does not even explain what The Lottery is or what happens if you win until the very end of the story. This short story is similar to the book "The Hunger Games" where someone is also chosen to get killed, but in a series of fights. But The Lottery has a good trait of leaving the reader suspenseful until the very end. The whole time youre wondering what is going on and have no idea if youre even reading the short story right, but Shirley Jackson really had the good idea of striking the reader right at the very end. I really liked this short story.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 10:11 PM by
There are many versions of "Pandora's Box". I, however, prefer the arrangement by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire in "d'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths", which is described in the comment below.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 09:54 PM by
There are many versions of
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 09:47 PM by
Greek mythology answers many of life's questions from a unique perspective. Therefore, because I have always been fascinated by their lore, I settled on the classic "Pandora's Box" as my favorite short story. The odd personalities and gifts of the gods play their role as they shape Pandora. Hephaestus (also known as Vulcan in Roman mythology), the god of fire and smiths, crafts Pandora out of marble, rubies, and sapphires. Aphrodite (also known as Venus is Roman mythology), the goddess of love, and Athena (also known as Minerva in Roman mythology), the goddess of wisdom, architecture, and strategic warfare, gave her stunning beauty and exquisite jewelry and clothing. Zeus (also known as Jupiter in Roman mythology), the god of the sky, thunder, and supreme leader of the gods, gave her unstable curiosity. Zeus intended the first woman to walk the Earth to be a punishment, releasing the evils of the world from a forbidden box due to her overwhelming curiosity. Overall, the personalities of each god and Pandora herself shaped (and for some of the gods, quite literally) the story because of Pandora's features. The personalities of each are also applied into the text of the story, giving in greater detail and meaning, helping the reader understand why each character was acting the way they were and the results of their actions that ultimately created the story. Through this story, the Greeks also believed they had answered why we have suffering, lies, death, etc.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 09:46 PM by
My favorite short story is Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. It was an inspiring story of a man named Harrison Bergeron who had to wear weights and other "handicaps" so he wouldn't be stronger or smarter than anyone else. It was inspiring because Harrisoon rebelled against the unfair ways and a dumbed down society. It reminds you that you have your own will.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 09:38 PM by
My favorite short story was one that we read last year in Mrs. Gutsmeidl's extended academics. It was called "The White Circle" and it was from the Junior Great books. I like it because its a very interesting and different kind of story that makes you question the main charactor, Tucker's, inoccence. Tucker tried to kill a bully named Anvil after he tried to take Tucker's apples from his special tree. It makes you think about the sentimental value and the importance of the little things in life. It also makes you ask yourself how far would you go in order to get something you wanted. In the end Anvil made the reason he took the apples clear: Tucker had everything and didn't share one bit of it with anyone less fortunate. So Anvil gave Tucker his apples back, and he got what he wanted but he felt terrible and greedy inside.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 09:22 PM by
My favorite short story is “Three Questions” by Leo Tolstoy. I like this story because it teaches you that there is no better time than the present and there is no way to determine your future. It really says that you have to work with the time that is now because it is the only time when we have power or control. A king tried to find how to do the right thing at the right time, who the necessary people were, and what the most important thing to do was. He found that he was not satisfied with various people’s answers so he went to an old wise hermit. There, he discovered there is no better time than the present.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 09:02 PM by
My favorite short story would have to be The Little Red Riding Hood. I like it so much because when I was younger, it taught me a great lesson. The moral of the story is to not trust strangers. When you’re young, it can sometimes hard to understand things like that, but when you have a story like this it’s easier to understand.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 08:58 PM by
I have read many short stories throughout the years, but none of them have really stood out. So, I decided to read “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. Ms. Roberts-Long had introduced this to us today and I was curious to see what it was about.
I thought it was a really good story that definitely kept my attention. One quality that kept my interest and made this short story work was the anticipation of the people in the crowd. They were all hoping they wouldn’t get the sheet of paper with the little black dot on it, because if they did, they would get stoned. They all hoped for the blank sheet of paper and this story just made me want to keep reading so I could find out who would get that evil little black dot of death. Shirley Jackson wrote this story well and I do wish to read more of her stories. I also encourage you to read her stories because just from reading this one, I realized they are exhilarating and very interesting.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 08:56 PM by
One of my favorite short stories is the Monkey's Paw. I really like this story because it shows how fate rules over people, and anything you do will come back to you. I think this is shown when Mr. and Mrs. White wish for 200 pounds, but they get 200 pounds for compensation for their dead son. They thought they were going to get rich, but because they were greedy, they got a very deep punishment. I know this story is really creepy, but I think it has a nice moral.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 08:43 PM by
My favorite short story is Scarlet Stockings by Louisa May Alcott. Throughout the story, I can imagine Belle Morgan walking past Lennox in her scarlet stockings, as he just looks on in admiration. I make a visual of it because in the passage, Lennox tells Kate that Belle's scarlet stockings are a "glimpse of color, life, and spirit," which makes me picture a black and white picture with only the stockings in color. That fact that there is a small amount of sensory details in the text, but the picture comes "alive" makes the short story work.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 08:31 PM by
One of my favorite short stories is one that my friend Jimmy wrote (and is still writing, he finishes a new chapter every week). It's about an outcast in a small New Jersey high school, who befriends a new kid that's 2 years younger than him. They turn out to have similar interests, and have just begun to become close friends and hang out outside of school.
There's 3 reasons I really like this story: 1) I love the way Jimmy explains everything in exquisite detail. Everything in the story is always detailed to the point that you really understand it and feel like you're there. 2) I also like how the dialogue is more than "How's it going?" or "Nice weather, eh?". It's got conversations that really help you to connect to the characters and understand how their lifestyles are. 3) The last thing I really like is how each chapter leaves you hanging and itching for more. By the end of each one, I'm ready for the next chapter. It's just a really fantastic story, and I always look forward to reading more and more. I just stay interested throughout each week.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 08:11 PM by
My favorite short story is The Tortoise and the Hare by Janet Stevens. I really like this short story because of the really strong message that it sends to people. The fact that it gives more than one moral that people may not know, makes it work. One moral,"slow and steady wins the race", we all may know this one to connect to this story but another one that may not be to obvious is,"actions speak louder than words." We may all know this saying but you would never connect it to the story unless you were to really think about it.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 07:31 PM by
My favorite short story is "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry. I love this story because of the foreshadowing. In the tenth paragraph, O. Henry writes about the couple's prized possessions and goes into great detail about their significance. Della has long and beautiful hair, while Jim has his inherited gold watch. In the 37th paragraph, the author clearly states that a foreshadowing is present, when he says "This dark assertion will be illuminated later on." That simple statement leaves you hooked into reading on to see what happens next. In the end, you discover that both the man and the woman sold their prized possessions to give each other a gift. Della cuts off her hair to pay for Jim’s watch chain, and Jim sells his watch to pay for Della’s expensive hair combs. I think that this story is detailed and rich, with beautiful themes. However, if the foreshadowing wasn’t present, the entire plot would not be the same and you wouldn’t feel the same connections. O. Henry had put this foreshadowing to good use, which had overall made the story that much better.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 07:19 PM by
I don't have many favorite short stories, but if I had to pick one, it would be "The Dark Trail" by Sarah Zampino. It's just so dark, and I can almost feel the hurt and misery of the narrator. The author describes the emotions of the character very well.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 07:01 PM by
My favorite short story is Buttermilk Hill by Ruth White. I loved it because the main character doesn't have many material possessions or strong family ties, but she does have her best friend that always finds a way to make sure no one harms either of them. White says things in a way that makes it easy for the reader to infer certain information about the characters. For example, the author never outright says that the girl is impoverished, but she persists to drop hints here and there. Also, at the beginning of every new section, she chose a poem that relates to that particular point in the story. In many ways, I have personal connections with all of the characters, which allows me to better understand the story.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 06:57 PM by
My favorite short story is The Possibility of Evil by Shirley Jackson. What I feel like makes this story so wonderful is the undeniably large amount of hypocracy going on in this book. Adela Strangeworth (mentally) complains about how much evil there is in the world, while she spends her nights writing mean letters anonymously to the people of town. She mails these letters to the people, because she thinks of it more as her duty to inform people of the evil and sneakiness found in this world, although she possesses evil herself. The ending is wonderful in this story, and I recommend this story to anyone.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 06:56 PM by
My favorite short- story is "The Giving Tree" because it explains how much uses you can get out of one item. I like how the tree lets the boy use its parts until the boy grew old. This is my favorite short-story because of how descriptive it turned out to be. The moral gave it a pretty good synopsis as well.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 06:09 PM by
My favorite short story is “The Tortoise and the Hare” by Janet Stevens. I know it might sound childish, but I feel like it gives teaches you an amazing lesson! As a kid, this story taught me how to take my time and how to be determined to get through what I need to get through. The hare was very quick and thought he had the winning title in the bag! As soon as he took that break, the tortoise took his time and was careful about not getting too tired. In the end, we all know the old saying “slow and steady always wins the race”. All in all it is my favorite because of the moral and the message that it sends people!
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 05:24 PM by
my favorite short story is i had trouble in getting in solla sollew by Dr. Seuss. This story works because when escaping his troubles, the protaganist just runs into more troubles at solla soll which is rumored to have no trobules. Then when the doorman invites him to travel to boola boo ball which never has any troubles ever, the protaganist declines the offer and decides to just face his troubles. This shows that it is impossible to achieve a utopia and that you should deal with your problems instead of running away from them. That is why this story works.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 05:22 PM by
My favorite short story would be A Turn of Curses by Melanie Nilles. I like this story because theres a good plot and the character descriptions are so vivid. The plot is interesting and complex despite it being a short story.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 05:20 PM by
My favorite short story is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. What makes this story work out so well is the descriptions of the characters and settings. The whole book is suspenseful and because I've seen the Disney adaption, of this story, I have a pretty good vision of the whole story in my head. Also, the idea that this is in the United States makes the story so much more realistic because you know where this story takes place. I am also a big fan of suspense and ghost stories.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 05:09 PM by
Last year in Ms. Gutsmiedl's extended, we read a short story that contained excerpts from The Diary of Anne Frank, and it was in one of the Junior Great Books. What made the piece interesting, was all of the history it incorporated, and since it was nonfiction, I learned a lot. Anne Frank used very proper English and the way she wrote was so sophisticated, that it was almost like a different language. She also incorporated a lot of emotion in her writing, which made it easy to connect with the story. Anne talked about her struggle to get along with her mom, and the fear of the Secret Annex being discovered, and the struggles she had to go through. It really makes the reader consider how different things are today from back then.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 05:06 PM by
My favorite short story is Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Dancing Men by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story is good because of the mysterious elements such as the code of the dancing men. This code seems impossible to decipher, but Holmes eventually does. The murder also seems impossible to solve with the lack of likely suspects, but th mysterious case is eventually solved. These elements that keep the reader guessing are the best part of the story.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 04:25 PM by
Last year in Mrs. Gutsmeidl's extended class, we read a short story called "Harison Bergeron"which was written by a man called Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. The book was about a futuristic world where everyone was equal. All the pretty people had to wear ugly masks to make the ugly people look normal and all the athletic people had to wear weights on their legs to make them unathletic and to make the unathletic people look normal. There ended up being a guy named Harrison Bergeron who stood up against the equality rule, recited a motivational speech, then he got shot with a shotgun. The story works because it has a person standing up for what they belive in.
Comment Posted on October 20, 2011 at 03:33 PM by
Last year in Mrs. Gutsmiedl's class, we read a short story in the Junior Great Books called Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. It describes a world where everyone strives to be equal. However, people with more capabilities are handicapped to where they are as good as the people with little or no capabilities. This really "dumbs-down" the entire human race and soon, people start to forget many things. Human knowledge in general is about to fade away when Harrison Bergeron puts a stop to it.
This really makes you stop and think of how this really could happen in real life. In our world today, we say that we are striving for "equality." This gives us a look at a possible outcome and really makes you think a second-time about the subject of striving for equality. When we look at this book, we may even want to think of fine-tuning our definition of "equality." As they say, "Be careful of what you wish for!" With this in mind, we can strive for equality in only certain things as in everyone should get the same rights. We could exclude things like equal beauty, weight, strength, etc. as the book emphasizes these things. That is my favorite short story and what I think makes it work.
Comment Posted on October 19, 2011 at 08:55 PM by
My favorite short story probably has to be “The Ant and the Grasshopper”. When reading this as a kid I always felt sorry for the grasshopper and how he was forced to deal with the harsh winter even though he didn’t work hard before the winter. Now as I read, I know better than to feel sorry for the lazy excuse of a grasshopper in this story. As I read this story now, I realize that the moral that this story sends out probably has to be the most practical and useful of all of the moral stories that I’ve ever read. If you work hard now, things are bound to go in your favor. You’ll be successful and happy. Whereas if you don’t work hard now there are bound to be consequences. You’ll struggle in life. If you have ever procrastinated then you know that this moral is extremely practical. I constantly tend to postpone things that I should probably do 1 or 2 weeks in advance, but instead I do things 1 or 2 hours in advance. I am a horrible procrastinator and when I procrastinate things tend to not go in my favor. I rush my assignments, do mediocre jobs, get bad grades on that assignment, and I put unnecessary stress and pressure on myself.
Comment Posted on October 19, 2011 at 08:43 PM by
I think last year, in ms Gutsmiedl's class we read, Ransom of the Red Chief. The story from the first line was very ironic. Also from the name of the town, Summit, (a very flat town), to the part where a fat guy outruns the skinny narrarator, and through the whole story, what the narrator anticipated never really does happen. The story is the total opposite of what you would have expected it to be.
Comment Posted on October 19, 2011 at 08:29 PM by
Sorry that I didn't finish my describing the characteristics, so about the Telltale Heart, the suspense is described with the quickening of the old mans heart and the loudening of his heart. After the old man was dead when the beating got louder and when the narrator could not take it anymore.
Comment Posted on October 19, 2011 at 08:04 PM by
I was going to say basically the same thing as Shaya.
So, I guess that I will just write about another one that I like. I've been looking for the title, but I'm sorry to say that I can't find it. It's about the little girl on Venus that gets locked in the closet and misses the sun for another five years. I want to say that it's by Rudyard Kipling, but I can't find it, so I don't know.
What I really like about the story is that the ending is left open. The reader gets to figure out what happened, but the author doesn't make it seem like he's taking the easy way out with it. He does it in a way that makes the already creative plot more touching in the fact that you just don't know. I also like the symbolism in the sun that he uses.
Comment Posted on October 19, 2011 at 05:08 PM by
The Telltale Heart is my favorite short story. The suspence filled into the story makes it work as well as the insanity of the narrator. This was written by Edgar Allan Poe.
Comment Posted on October 19, 2011 at 05:01 PM by
Make sure you type up your comment here and choose one primary characteristic to describe. This is just a test for me that this is working.
Comment Posted on October 19, 2011 at 04:18 PM by
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Ms. Roberts-Long is a National Board Certified Teacher with a Master's degree in English and a Bachelor's in English Education who is certified in gifted, journalism, and English. This is her 15th year of teaching, and she loves it.