Kenny Caufield

Prof. A. Shultz
Eng 221X
How Fictional Elements help us Understand a Short Story
The Fictional Elements of most short stories help the reader grasp a
better meaning of the theme. Some Fictional elements are the character,
setting, point of view and symbolism. In this essay I will show how these
fictional elements help readers develop a better understanding of the theme
in a short story. Each element is important in there own ways, but yet
still linked to each other to complete the story. In Tarzan of the Apes by
Edgar Rice Burroughs and A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner the elements
help us understand what is going on in the story. It helps the reader look
deeper into the story and to see what the author wants us to get out of it.

Each element helps the reader differently, for instance In Tarzan of
the Apes
The main character is described as a man who is different then any normal
man. This man was extraordinary because his senses were so perfect that
they could be used for survival anywhere he went. He was a man brought up
by apes, and was taught differently then normal people. Do to the fact that
Tarzan was brought up by apes he acted differently then other people. He
dressed different and thought differently. This man was a beast trapped in
a jungle. Tarzan did not know anything about life, but how to survive in a
wild environment. This is ironic to me how the description of Tarzan fits
in with the setting of the story. A wild man who knows no better, but how
to survive in a wild environment is trapped in a jungle. The jungle fitting
the description of Tarzan meaning the jungle has wild elements, wild
animals, and a wild atmosphere. Tarzan knows no other environment, but the
jungle. The jungle to Tarzan is a safe zone because that is the place that
comforts him most. Since the author describes the setting as being a jungle
we can get the feel on what kind of person the character is. This also
works in vice versa meaning the description of Tarzan tells us on how wild
the jungle could be.

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The point of view in every story effects what the reader will be able
to view in that story. Everything that we know about the story comes from
the author and how he wants to tell it. In Tarzan the story was told to us
in the third person narrator, meaning the person telling the story does not
take place in the story. In Tarzan of the apes the narrator shows us the
feeling of Tarzan and Jane’s inner feeling towards each other.

He did what no red-blooded man needs lessons in doing. He took his
woman in his arms and smothered her upturned, panting lips with
kisses.

For a moment Jane lay there with half-closed eyes. For a moment—-
the first in her young life—-she knew the meaning of love. (69)
Since we the readers don’t know how the character feels the author or
narrator has to describe it to us and let us the readers know what is going
on. We can get a feeling by the setting or by the way the character is
described, but we don’t know enough to really know how the character really
feels. The way the narrator tells us this story it makes us feel like we
know exactly what he is talking about. The way the story is told helps us
get a better visually appearance of the setting, characters, and the
feeling of characters.

Symbolism is sometimes hard to detect is short stories or even any
story, but it could be sometimes an important asset to a story. It could
help give better meaning to a story. While reading the story a Rose for
Emily I discovered that the author used symbolism when Emily’s hair was on
the pillow the Homer was lying down next too. This told us that at one
point Emily was lying down next to Homer. It told us that maybe Emily
actually killed Homer and didn’t want Homer ever to leave her. The Author
told us all this information without actually writing it on paper, but just
by a certain symbol. Using symbolism helps us sometimes understand a
charter and the setting better. It could give us a better description
without actually telling us the description.

Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a
head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward,
that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw
a long strand of iron-gray hair. (81)
This excerpt in the book leaves us thinking what actually happen to Homer
and it tells us at some point Emily was lying down sleeping there. To me it
is very difficult to pick out symbolism in a story and to understand it
completely. Sometimes for me to pick up the meaning of the symbolism I have
to read the story more then once. In this story it took me a few times and
a class discussion to understand the meaning of the piece of hair.


Throughout the essay there is evidence on how all these elements link
together. There is a case that each element links to each other and helps
one specific element stand out more then it would have. Do to the fact that
all these stories are fictional it makes it easier to understand and link
all these elements together. Fictional elements gives the author more to
play with and lets the aouthor make the story more intristing while giving
it a crazy twist all at once.