Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Short Story Month 2017-part 10: Short Story Writers on Thematic Significance

Short Story Month 2017-part 10: Short Story Writers on Thematic Significance

V. S. Pritchett: The short story wakes the reader up. "It answers the primitive craving for art, the wit, paradox and beauty of shape, the longing to see a dramatic pattern and significance in our experience, the desire for the electric shock."

Sherwood Anderson: “The life of reality is confused, disorderly, almost always without apparent purpose, whereas in the artist’s imaginative life…there is determination to give the tale form—to make it real to the theme, not to life.  Often the better the job is done, the greater the confusion.

C., S. Lewis:  To be stories at all they must be series of events: but it must be understood that this series…s only really a net whereby to catch something else.  The real theme may be and perhaps usually is, something that has no sequence in it, something other than a process and much more like a state of quality… It may be asked why anyone should be encouraged to write a form in which the means are apparently so often at war with the end…. I suggest that the internal tension in the heart of every story between the theme and the plot constitutes, after all, its chief resemblance to life. . In real life, as in a story, something must happen.  That is just the trouble.  We grasp at a state and fond only a succession of events in which the state is never quite embodied.

Frank O’Connor:  The greatest essential of a short story is a theme, a story to tell.  A theme is something that is worth something to everybody. You grab somebody and say, “Look, an extraordinary thing happened to me yesterday—I met a man—he said this to me—”and that, to me, is a theme. The moment you grab somebody by the lapels and you've got something to tell, that's a real story.  The moment you say this, you're committed

Raymond Carver:  It is possible, in a poem or a short story, to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language, and to endow those things--a chair, a window curtain, a fork, a stone, a woman’s earring--with immense, even startling power.

No comments: