Short Story

Short Story – “Lifeguard”

1. Examine the diction used in the story, and write a well-developed paragraph about the diction.  Discuss specific words from throughout the story: why did the author choose these specific words rather than other, similar words?   What do these words connote that other words might not?  How does the author’s diction enhance the story and contribute to the tone of the story?  Be sure to use text evidence (quotes!) to support your analysis.

The diction in this short story is quite interesting, the author uses synonyms of the words that we know and cherish, however, some words were quite interesting thus forcing me to use a dictionary to look up each of these words, putting that aside lets now get to the fun part. Some of the words in this short story were quite interesting such as, hirsute, miasmic, chiaroscuro, unguents, antimacassar, and platitudinous but I will not necessarily cover all these words. Hirsute is a word that I did not expect to see in a short story, the author placed this word in a good spot, “My slightly narrow and gingerly hirsute but not necessarily unmanly chest becomes brown.” By using this word, the author shows us the image of a human with a somewhat shaggy “but not necessarily unmanly chest,” this word is an excellent choice because it doesn’t necessarily say “oh he has a hairy but not unmanly chest,” the author’s use of this word is good because it sounds more formal that saying that its hairy. Platitudinous is another word that somewhat caught me off-guard because I did not expect the author to place it before a word that does not deserve to be dull, “our most obvious possession, our most platitudinous blessing,” the author here is saying that to some people a blessing can mean nothing or that it’s just dull. Unguents is another word that is really one those words where only the most educated know, “true, a red cross, signifying bandages, splints, spirits of ammonia, and sunburn unguents.” At first when I read this part I was asking myself what “unguent” meant but as I looked it up on a dictionary, it literally meant a type of ointment or salve for wounds or sores, the author here made a good word choice because one might not expect unguent to replace the word sunscreen. This short story has excellent diction because the way the narrator is using these words gives the story a more formal style and mood.

2. Examine the punctuation and syntax (sentence structure) used in the story.  Choose a few (3-5) sentences with interesting punctuation and/or structure, and write a well-developed paragraph analyzing the usage and effect of the punctuation. Be sure to use text evidence (quotes!) to support your analysis.

The punctuation and syntax in this short story are quite interesting, such as the following sentence, ” Swimming offers a parable. We struggle and thrash, and drown; we succumb, even in despair, and float, and are saved.” This sentence is the quite an interesting one, due to the semicolon the sentence describes the before and after of being in the water, one that does not swim thrashes and struggles which leads to drowning, however, there is the part where the person succumbs in despair but saved at the last moment. The punctuation here is good because it joins together the two sentences that the narrator would’ve said had it not been for that semicolon. Another example of an interesting sentence would be, ” Young as I am, I can hear myself the protein acids ticking; I wake at odd hours and in the shuddering darkness and silence feel my death rushing towards me like an express train.” The author’s use of punctuation here is good but it could’ve used more to give more suspense, but the use of punctuation here is enough because the narrator does not pause between “…silence feel my death…” and that gives an extra feeling of death being closer than one might expect. This story has many good sentences of which I will show such as, “Is it maiden, matron, or crone that the females will be eternalized? What will they do without children to watch and gossip to exchange? What of the thousand deaths of memory and bodily change we endure – can each be redeemed at a final Adjustments Counter?” This sentence is another one the interesting ones, usually by the fact that the narrator is asking himself these questions about these young women that he sees earlier in the story, the punctuation here is very good because he is just asking himself these questions and ends with wondering if each woman can be saved. Overall the punctuation used in this short story is good though it could’ve been more interesting if there was more use of punctuation although the syntax of each sentence is fine, if this short story had more use of punctuation then it would’ve been even better.

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Short Story #3 – “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

1. Provide the title and author of your story.  Then write a well-developed paragraph in response to the story.  Some questions to think about: did you like it or not?  Why? How did the story make you feel? Does this make you want to read other stories by this author? Would you recommend this story to someone else? Why?

The  short story that I will be “ranting” about is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber. I honestly did enjoy this story because the transitions between Mitty’s fantasies and the real world just abruptly stop, afterwards the event or “trigger” that starts the fantasies are amazing such as a hospital, reading a book on Germany or any other casual thing that one might find. This story made feel somewhat invigorating because there were good fantasies that actually make the reader want more. If I had the opportunity to read more stories from this author I would most definitely read the other works from this author. I would totally recommend this to anyone whom also experiences such fantasies, enjoys a good fantasy, or in general a good story to read.

2. Conflict Analysis.  What is the central conflict of this short story, how does the author create tension or suspense surrounding this conflict, and how is it resolved?  Use text evidence (quotes!) to support your response.  Your response should be a well-developed paragraph.

The central conflict of this story, that I would say, would be that Mitty cannot focus enough to do tasks in the real world, he constantly haves these fantasies that occasionally end in him getting into trouble. Whats even more suspenseful is that the reader does not know what is going on in the real world, for all we know Mitty could be in the middle of a fire or almost falling off a bridge. For example, “Not so fast! You’re driving too fast!” said Mrs. Mitty. “What are you driving so fast for?” “Hmm?” said Walter Mitty. He looked at his wife, in the seat beside him, with shocked astonishment.” In the scene before this, Mitty was a pilot of a Navy hydroplane of which causes Mitty to be driving over 55 instead of 40. Another sample of his reckless fantasies would be when Mitty becomes a surgeon in a one-of-a-kind surgery, in which afterwards he nearly crashes with a Buick. “Back it up, Mac! Look out for that Buick!” Walter Mitty jammed on the brakes. “Wrong lane, Mac,” said the parking-lot attendant, looking at Mitty closely.” However, there is one fantasy ended with “Puppy biscuit,” said Walter Mitty.”  The fantasy that made this happen, had Mitty as an assassin testifying in a court in which ends with him saying puppy biscuit due to the District Attorney saying “You miserable cur!” and being a laughed at by a passing woman. The way that I think the way that the story resolves itself is that Walter Mitty accepts the fact that no one can change him by having the last fantasy be him facing “the firing squad; erect and motionless, proud and disdainful, Walter Mitty the Undefeated, inscrutable to the last.”

3. Compare and Contrast.  Pick two of your short stories (and be sure to tell me which ones!).  In a well-developed paragraph, compare and contrast the authors’ styles.  Things you might consider: diction, syntax, tone, setting, genre, etc.  Be sure to use text evidence!!!

The two stories that I will be comparing and contrasting would be “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “The Most Dangerous Game.” I would say that the story “The Most Dangerous Game” is more of a serious style due to the mood the story sets, such as the conversation between Rainsford and General Zaroff, ” “But no animal can reason,” objected Rainsford. “My dear fellow,” said the general, “there is one that can.” “But you can’t mean–” gasped Rainsford. “And why not?” ” I can’t believe you are serious, General Zaroff. This is a grisly joke.” By this conversation, we can assume that the rest of the story is going to have a more serious tone and setting. On the other hand, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” has more of a cheerful tone and setting, the following example sets the mood…at the end of the story, however, it on were to read it again the story is cheerful, “Then, with that faint, fleeting smile playing about his lips, he faced….Walter Mitty the Undefeated, inscrutable to the last.” The diction also sets them apart because “The Most Dangerous Game” has a more eerie word choice such as the following, “The, as he stepped forward, his foot sank into the ooze. He tried to wrench it back, but the muck sucked viciously at his foot as if it were a giant leech.” However, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is the opposite of such word choice, there may be some words that one would not understand but its better than the other story, such as, ” The crew bending…looked at each other and grinned. ‘The Old Man’ll get us through,’ they said to one another. ‘The Old Man ain’t afraid of Hell!” “The Most Dangerous Game” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” are both similar and different in their own ways in that one is more serious than the other, the word choice of the authors helped determine that style, and that both are exiting to the reader.

Short Story #2 – “The Very Old Man With Enormous Wings”

1. Provide the title and author of your story.  Then write a well-developed paragraph in response to the story.  Some questions to think about: did you like it or not?  Why? How did the story make you feel? Does this make you want to read other stories by this author? Would you recommend this story to someone else? Why?

The short story I will be discussing is “The Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I did not like this story because I didn’t expect it to be somewhat descriptive and moody, the story was somewhat okay but it would’ve been better if there was more to this story. This story didn’t make me have deep emotions, as I read through the story my first initial reaction was “oh, how strange and confusing.” If I had the opportunity to read more stories from this author I would give it another go, it may have been me or the story but everything deserves a second chance. I would recommend this story to others if they had the guts to interpret this story, read through some pages to get to some of the “interesting” parts, and read (what I think) the most strangest ending to a short story ever.

2. Diction analysis.  Diction means “word choice”.  The denotation of a word is its dictionary definition; the connotation of a word is what the word implies or what readers tend to associate with the word.  Many words may have nearly identical denotations, but their connotations can be very different.  For example: frigid, chilly, brisk, and numbing all more or less have the same denotation of “cold”.  But their connotations are very different: chilly or brisk temperatures call for a jacket or sweater, but frigid temperatures probably indicate the need for a coat and a hat.  Examine the diction used in the story, and write a well-developed paragraph about the diction.  Choose a few words (maybe 5-8) and discuss them: why did the author choose these specific words rather than other, similar words?   What do these words connote that other words might not?  How does the author’s diction enhance the story?

Some of the words in the short story that I found interesting were magnanimous, myrrh, antiquarian, pilgrims, and heartrending. Magnanimous is a synonym of giving and kind, however, I think the author chose this word over other words because Pelayo and Elisenda decided to send him on a raft with supplies towards his fate, they felt considerate of the angel and tried to return him to where he came from, this is what magnanimous means; being generous by doing something. Myrrh is another word that is really intriguing, when the couple “burned tears of myrrh inside it every so often, it was not in homage to the angel but to drive away the dungheap stench that still hung everywhere,” myrrh is an excellent alternative to aroma or scent because most people are used to using aroma or scent but myrrh is just mysterious until someone finds the actual meaning. Antiquarian is another fancy word that I find amazing, first off, it describes when the angel “only lifted his antiquarian eyes and murmured something in his dialect.” Since the author is deciding to use antiquarian, it gives the feeling of something antique or primitive when looking into the angel’s eyes. Pilgrims though is somewhat used properly in this short story because the couple uses the angel as means of profits, they gained so much profit that “the line of pilgrims waiting their turn to enter still reached beyond the horizon.” These people are waiting in line just to see the angel and some are not actually pilgrims but more like having a pilgrimage to this place in hopes of finding something, thus earning them the names of pilgrims in the story. Most of all, the word heartrending is just a word that makes someone feel bad for something or someone such as the woman who got turned into a spider, who had “the sincere affliction with which she recounted the details of her misfortune.” The author just breaks the persons heart when the reader reaches the part about the spider woman’s misfortune. In general the author uses amazing diction to describe some of the details in the story, the story may have not captured my eye (plot wise) but the diction was the one thing that interested me.

Short Story #1 – “The Most Dangerous Game”

1. Provide the title and author of your story.  Then write a well-developed paragraph in response to the story.  Some questions to think about: did you like it or not?  Why? How did the story make you feel? Does this make you want to read other stories by this author? Would you recommend this story to someone else? Why?

The short story that I will be talking about is “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell. This story is a very good piece of literature, due to first, the protagonist (aka Sanger Rainsford) falling off a yacht and ending up in a mysterious island called Ship Trap Island by the sailors who pass by the island, another factor was that the hunting was not something I expected, instead of hunting the usual which would be animals, the hunted is man himself. This story currently makes me feel uncomfortable and sick at the same time, due to the fact the Rainsford is being hunted by a another man who enjoys “man hunts.” This story actually does make me intrigued to read more stories by this author to see if this author has any more creepy/interesting stories. I would recommend this story to anyone who is interested in a plot that seems to get darker as you keep reading the story, this story is quite a piece of literature in which the hunter has become the hunted, in which the hunted must survive on its given supplies and of course…nature itself.

2. Style analysis.  Examine the punctuation used in the story.  Choose 1 or 2 sentences with interesting punctuation, and write a well-developed paragraph analyzing the usage and effect of the punctuation.

The following sentence, I find very interesting. “Tonight,” said the general, “we will hunt–you and I.” This sentence is very interesting because of the way he speaks, he starts with “Tonight, we will hunt” but the interesting part about this sentence are the two hyphens after “we will hunt.” This gives an ominous feeling that the something is about to happen, especially when the general ends with “you and I.” The usage of this hyphen is very well because it gives a small pause then continues the story that gives an ominous feeling that something will occur if the two were to go “hunting.” By saying “we will hunt–you and I,” the general is implying that this hunt is no ordinary hunt, this is why the two hyphen’s after “we will hunt” are so perfectly placed, to give the reader a sense of dread and fear due to the general saying that the hunt will only compose of him and Rainsford.