How to Read a Short Story

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Short stories are ideal for reading in bed or on planes, and for those who love to read but can't seem to find the time to finish whole novels.

Things You'll Need

  • Dictionaries
  • Read the "blurbs" on the inside front cover or back cover to gather information about the author and his or her favorite subjects.

  • Look at the date of publication - it can often help you to set the scene or exclude a particular historical background.

  • Skim the table of contents if you are reading a complete collection of the author's works. Sometimes you can tell if short stories are meant to be read together just by looking at titles.

  • Examine the title of the story; you can often consider it a condensation of the essential point.

  • Read dialogue carefully. In many short stories, though not all, revelation of character comes mostly through conversation, since there is little time for action.

  • Expect a dramatic, surprising or even odd twist at the end of the story - you will have been set up for it quite carefully.

  • Re-examine the title and read the story again to identify the clues to the ending that you may have missed the first time through.

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