help with learning activity Worksheet for Fiction Analysis
While reading each story, you might want to jot down answers to these questions to help develop
While reading each story, you might want to jot down answers to these questions to help develop an interpretation and analysis for the story.
Date of Publication:
1. PLOT SUMMARY (The arrangement of events in the story)
a. Tell in two or three short sentences what happens in the story.
b. Does the story progress in chronological order, or does it begin in the middle or at the end? Is the plot cyclical? Is there any foreshadowing in events? In tone?
2. CHARACTERS (The people, animals, or forces that inhabit the story and interact in the conflict)
a. Who is the protagonist (major character)? Give name, chief character trait at the beginning, chief character trait at the end, and the way he/she is changed (if at all) by the outcome of the action.
b. Who is the antagonist (most important minor character–a story may have several antagonists)? What kind of person is the antagonist contrasted to the protagonist?
c. Other important minor characters. Give name, character traits, importance to story.
d. Do the names of the characters reflect their role in the story? Do the minor characters serve as foils to the major character?
3. CONFLICT (A series of problems or obstacles with which the protagonist must contend)
a. What is the central conflict (usually internal)? State the opposing forces as specifically as possible (? vs. ?). Remember, the central conflict is usually the beginning key trait vs. the ending key trait or some opposing trait.
b. What are the important minor conflicts (usually external)?
c. What is the climax (the specific plot event at which the reader becomes aware who wins the central conflict)?
d. What is the resolution or new state of affairs? What is the result of the outcome of the conflict?
4. SETTING (The place and time, era, season, atmosphere, climate, “world” in which the action occurs)
a. What are the time and place of the story?
b. Does setting affect the action or influence characters’ behavior?
c. Is the setting symbolic or ironic?
5. POINT OF VIEW (The voice or persona the author creates to tell the story)
a. What specific type of point of view is used (first person; third-person limited, omniscient, objective)?
b. Is the narrator a participant in the story? Major or minor participant?
c. Does point of view affect characterization? Is the point of view biased or unreliable?
6. FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE (The use of literary devices or figures of speech to produce a secondary level of meaning in the story)
a. Does the author use imagery or strong sensory language? What effect does the imagery have on tone or characterization?
b. Does the author use symbols? Identify the literal object, action, or person and its symbolic meaning.
c. Does the author use irony? What is the discrepancy between expectation and reality?
d. Does the author use allusions? Explain the significance.
e. What secondary meaning does figurative language produce in the story?
7. TONE (The author’s emotional attitude toward the major character and his/her situation, as gauged by the reader’s emotional response, or mood, at the end of the story)
a. Identify the tone of the opening paragraph.
b. Identify the dominant tone (reader’s emotional reaction as a result of the outcome of the conflict). Ask yourself: How do I feel about the character at the end of the story?
c. Identify two or three dominant elements (those elements of fiction most instrumental in producing the tone).
d. Does the author make a deceptive use of tone to trick the reader and heighten the impact of the outcome?
8. CENTRAL IDEA (Dominant idea or theme implicit in the story; central idea goes beyond a specific statement of the action to express a general idea about the subject of the story.)
a. Assemble the facts of the story.
1. Identify the general subject of the story.
2. Tell in one sentence what happens in the story, including outcome.
3. Reidentify the protagonist, including his dominant character trait and his change or lack of change as a result of the outcome of the conflict.
b. Put the three facts listed above into one statement.
c. Translate this specific statement into more general terms. Do not mention specific characters or events in your general statement of central idea