The Short Story Source:

The Short Story
A short story is a short piece of fiction
Learn the elements of short stories
through the classic “Cinderella”
• Setting is the time and place of the
story’s action. Setting includes ideas,
customs, values, and beliefs.
The setting in “Cinderella”
• The story takes place a long time ago in
a land ruled by a king and a queen.
• Characters are the actors in a story’s
plot. They can be people, animals, or
whatever the writer chooses.
• The protagonist is the main character.
• The antagonist is the person in conflict
with the main character. Not all stories
have antagonists.
Characters in “Cinderella”
• The main characters are Cinderella, the
stepsisters, their mother, the fairy
godmother, and the prince.
• Protagonist: Cinderella
• Antagonist: the stepsisters, their mother
Point of View
• Point of view refers to the relationship of the
narrator, or storyteller, to the story.
• In first-person point of view, the narrator is a
character in the story, referred to as “I.”
• In third-person limited point of view, the narrator
reveals the thoughts of only one character, referring
to that character as “he” or “she.”
• In third-person omniscient point of view, the
narrator knows everything about the story’s events
and reveals the thoughts of all the characters.
Cinderella is told through
the third-person omniscient
point of view.
• Theme is the central idea or
message of a story, often a
perception about life or human
• Stated themes are directly
presented in a story.
• Implied themes must be inferred
by considering all the elements of
a story and asking what message
about life is conveyed.
• The theme of “Cinderella” is
implied. The reader can infer the
message that if you are in a bad
situation, you should do the best
that you can. In the end, things
will work out for you.
• Plot is the sequence of events in a story.
Each event causes or leads to the next. Plot
is often created through conflict, a struggle
between opposing forces.
• An external conflict is one between a
character and an outside force, such as
another character, nature, society, or fate.
• An internal conflict takes place within the
mind of a character who is torn between
opposing feelings or between different
courses of action.
Problem and Conflict in
• Problem: Cinderella wants to go to the ball,
but her stepsisters prevent her from going.
• Conflict: The conflict is external—Cinderella
versus the stepsisters and their mother.
Types of Conflict
• Conflict is generally categorized in the
following ways:
– Man versus Man: this is an external struggle
between two characters
– Man versus Society: this is an external struggle
between a character and a social force or condition
produced by society, such as poverty, political
revolution, or a set of values
– Man versus Nature: this is an external struggle
between a character and some natural obstacle or
natural condition
– Man versus Self: this is an internal struggle within a
character, where aspects of his or her personality
may struggle for dominance. These aspects may be
emotional, intellectual, or moral.
The Five Stages of Plot
• Exposition introduces the story’s characters,
setting, and conflict.
• Rising action occurs as complications, twists,
or intensifications of the conflict occur.
• Climax is the emotional high point of the
• Falling action is the logical result of the
• Resolution presents the final outcome of the
The 5 Stages of
plot in
Cinderella A fairy
Cinderella lives
with her stepsisters
and their mother.
they make her wear
rags and do all the
hard work.
to the ball
appears and
with clothes,
a coach, and
Cinderella dances
with the prince,
but leaves hurriedly
at midnight; losing a
goes to the
go to the
The stepsisters
try to force their
feet into the slipper.
It fits Cinderella.
The prince
says he
will marry
the woman
whom the
slipper fits.
Cinderella and
the prince marry.
They live happily
ever after.