by John Ellis
(If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read Part One first. You can do so by clicking here.)
What Is a Story?
If someone were to ask you to explain what makes a story a story, what would you say?
I have taught the following definition of story to my kids, and I believe that it provides the foundation for sound literary analysis and ultimately discovering authorial intent:
In a story, someone wants something. That someone is called the protagonist. However, someone or something is standing in the protagonist’s way. That someone or something is called the antagonist. The story is what the protagonist does to overcome the antagonist and achieve his or her objective. If the protagonist succeeds, the story is a comedy (in the classical sense). If the protagonist fails, the story is a tragedy (in the classical sense).