'A short story tells us only one thing and that intensely' How far do you agree with his assertion.

Essay by vkbabyB+, January 2004

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The Short Story

V.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...