How do you write a critical analysis of the short story?
Editor's note: Since no specific story is named, I'm assuming the question is about general strategies for doing a critical analysis of a short story.
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A critical analysis differs from a summary of a story in that it should be organized around thematic and critical questions rather than simply moving sequentially through the story and paraphrasing plot elements. There are several standard elements you should cover in an analysis of a story.
Narrator: Who tells the story? Is it told in the first, second or third person? Is the narrator a participant in the story or someone watching from afar? What sort of information does the narrator have access to? One point of view or many? Characters' internal states or only external events? Finally, is the narrator intrusive (does the narrator directly address the reader?)
Plot: What is the main action of the story?
Characters: Who are the major characters and what are their roles in advancing the plot?
Genre: Is this literary or genre fiction? Comic or tragic? Satiric, magical, or naturalistic? Roman a clef? Bildungsroman? Is there an ideological point to the story (feminist, pro or anti-war, etc.)
Style and language; What sort of language is used by the narrator? The characters? Are their any distinctive figures of speech?
Also address themes, allusions, and symbols.
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