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'a Short Story Tells Us Only One Thing And That Intensely' How Far Do You Agree With His Assertion.

912 words - 4 pages

The Short StoryV.S Pritchett said: '...the short story tells us only one thing, and that, intensely.' I do not agree with this assertion and believe that whilst this might be true to some short stories, this cannot be applied to them all. To show this I will look at two short stories. 'A Very Short Story' (Ernest Hemingway) which I believe does conform to Pritchett's claim, and 'The Selfish Giant' (Oscar Wilde) which does not.There are many themes in 'The Selfish Giant' (SG): religion, love and first impressions. However they are not all made clear straight away, although you can see the theme of love running throughout the story, religion and first impressions do not become quite as obvious until the end.'The Selfish Giant' is written as a fairytale, with the Giant being characterised very much as a typical 'fairytale giant'. By this I mean that he conforms to the usual actions carried out by giants in this genre. He dislikes children and so drives them away, 'what are you doing there?' he cried in a very gruff voice, and the children ran away.' However this giant differs slightly as he is really kind at heart, which is proven when he helps the boy into the tree. The story is set in a garden, which reflects the giant's change of heart as it becomes beautiful when the giant becomes kind but frosty when the giant is being selfish.Throughout the story there is a fair amount of alliteration, 'rattled on the roof' and personification, 'The only people who were pleased were the Snow and the Frost' this works very well in creating a fairytale image and adds to the simplistic, childlike tone. The language in the beginning and the end is very uncomplicated and childlike, again in accordance with the typical fairytale genre and so leading us to believe that it is intended as a child's story. However, in the last section of the story the tone and language become much more biblical, 'Who art thou? Said the Giant, and a strange awe fell on him, and he knelt before the little child'. It is here that the other themes of religion and first impressions become apparent. The oversimplified description of the child's stigmata wounds adds to the effect that the last section has on the reader.The structure of the story is vital in the overall effect in allowing us to see what the story is actually trying to tell us. It is simple in the beginning and middle and then the tone and language changes in the end to emphasise its point that things are not always what they seem. The way we read...

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