The Short Story


TheShort Story


Plot and structure are crucial elements of a short story since theyreveal the themes of the narrative. In particular, a plot is thedomineering force that captures the essence of a story (Cureton,2004). On the other hand, structure refers to the arrangement ofevents that comprise the story (Cureton, 2004).

Guests of the Nation by Frank O’Connor is laid out inepisodes that have different literary functions. For example, thefirst episode serves as the exposition where the writer introducesall characters and reveals their relationships with each other. Theauthor shows the bonds between Irish rebels and their interactionwith English prisoners. In the second episode, conflict arisesbetween Jeremiah Donovan and Bonaparte (DiYanni, 2008). Also, Nobeland Bonaparte encounter a moral complication as they contemplate thepossible execution of English soldiers. The rising action is capturedin the third episode when it is confirmed that British forces haveslain four Irish rebels. Consequently, Donovan orders Bonaparte andNoble to kill the two British hostages, Belcher and Hawkins (DiYanni,2008). The fourth episode epitomizes the climax when Bonaparte andDonovan lead the captives into the woods and shoot them despite theprisoners’ pleas for mercy (DiYanni, 2008). Subsequently, thefalling point occurs when the dead soldiers are buried near the bog(DiYanni, 2008). Furthermore, the falling action is clearly portrayedwhen Bonaparte and Donovan return to the rebels’ camp after theirmurderous excursion.

In Happy Endings, Margaret Atwood uses arbitrary sketches toportray a metafiction. In this regard, Atwood outlines six scenarioswith similar characters. Moreover, all scenes have differentbeginnings with the same conclusion. Sadly, all the charactersexperience eventual death. Customarily, writers use plot andstructure to show the progressive effects of characters’ actions.However, Atwood plays with plot and structure by using similarcharacters in all six scenes and yet have different storylines.


Cureton, R. (2004). Temporal poetics: Rhythmic process as truth. TheAntioch Review, 62(1), 113-121. Retrieved April 26, 2010 fromJSTOR database.

DiYanni, R. (2008). Literature: Approaches to fiction, poetry, anddrama (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.