Skip to main content

Summarizing a Short Story

 

Also known as a synopsis, precis, or abstract, a summary is a shortened version of a longer piece of reading (text) that highpoints its key contents. Clee and Clee (1999) state that the main objective of a summary is to "give an accurate, objective representation of what the work says." Thus, "you should not include your own ideas or interpretations." In other words, you should include only information from the story itself. A summary, however, is not a restatement of all ideas of the story. It does not tell every event occurring in it. A summary just relates the main events without extraneous detail. It condenses the short story's main points in your own words. Therefore, you should not include quotes from the original story.

A summary is usually written in a solid paragraph of about up to 10 sentences. The first sentence includes the short story title, author, and subject matter. The next sentences include the main supporting events or actions. Thus, they answer the question words: who, what, when, where, why, and how.  These supporting events begin with the introduction scene (exposition) written in 1 to 2 sentences. The exposition is followed by one or two main rising actions written in 2 or 3 sentences. The next sentence describes the climax (the event that indicates the outcome). After that, in 2 to 3 sentences, the falling action (action leading to the end) and the resolution (the story ending) are presented. The summary is ended with a sentence repeating the subject matter.

A summary typically uses present tenses to indicate that the events are taking place currently. Thus, although the short story you are summarizing tells a story in the past, summarize it by employing present tenses.

Graphically, a summary can be illustrated in this way:








To write a good short story summary, you need to go through these six steps. 

  1. Read the story to get a general impression. 
  2. Go to the story again, read it carefully. Make sure you fully understand the story. Check your dictionary to get the meaning of unfamiliar words, if any. While reading, underline or jot down the key events. 
  3. Organize the key events into a storyline employed in the short story. Make sure you put the correct events functioning as the exposition, rising events, climax, falling actions, and resolution. 
  4. Using your own words, write these materials in a united and coherent paragraph. Don’t forget you should use present tenses in the summary. 
  5. Compare your summary with the original story to ascertain that your summary just condenses the story without changing the meaning. 
  6. Revise and edit the summary to avoid any grammatical or typing errors.


To see how these steps are applied, look at the following summary of “A Long walk Home”.

Boccaro’s “A Long Walk Home” is a short story that tells how a teen with a delinquent tendency receives an unforgettable lesson from his father. It begins when one morning the teen, Jackson, is asked by his father to have his car repaired in a garage 18 miles away from their home. When the car is finished, Jackson should pick his father at 4 p.m. After dropping off the car in the garage, he watches some movies up to 6 p.m. To avoid his father from getting angry, Jackson says that it takes longer to repair the car without realizing that his father has phoned the garage and knows there’s no problem with the car. Jackson’s lie makes his father angry with himself for his failure to educate his son. So he refuses to get into the car and walks home. This makes Jackson very regretful and decides not to lie to his father again. It is a painful experience but provides Jackson an essential lesson.

 

Reference

Clee, P. & Clee, V. (1999). American Dreams. California: Mayfield Pub Co


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Types and Functions of Plot

Type of Plots  The plot used in fictions can be differentiated into four types: linear, episodic, parallel, and flashback. The most common plot employed in short stories is the linear plot. Some short stories, though quite rarely, also use flashback plot. The episodic and parallel plots, however, are found only in long fiction, i.e. novels. Short storied do not use episodic and parallel plots because short stories normally concentrate on a single event with a very limited number of characters, while episodic and parallel plots include a series of events or more than one plot. The following section describes each plot briefly. The Linear Plot The linear plot (sometimes is also called dramatic or progressive plot) presents action or occurrences chronologically. It typically starts with an exposition (or introduction to the setting and characters) and the conflict. After that, the rising action follows which leads to a climax. Soon after the climax, falling action emerges which brings

Esensi Umpan Balik dalam Pembelajaran Daring

Untuk mengoptimalkan pembelajaran daring (online learning), komitmen untuk bertukar umpan balik merupakan keharusan. Bertukar umpan balik tidak hanya mengatasi perasaan terisolasi, kesulitan berkonsentrasi, dan kesulitan untuk terlibat dalam pembelajaran tetapi juga meningkatkan capaian pembelajaran dan mengembangkan 4C. Sebagai bagian dari upaya mencegah penyebaran virus corona, sekolah-sekolah di semua jenjang pendidikan di hampir seluruh dunia telah ditutup. Pada tanggal 30 April 2020, lebih dari 1,2 miliar siswa di 182 negara ditugaskan belajar dari rumah. Sebagian besar menerapkan pembelajaran daring (dalam jaringan), dan sebagian lagi menggunakan pembelajaran luring (luar jaringan). Pembelajaran daring pada dasarnya bukan praktik baru. Begitu mulai digunakan pada akhir 1980-an, jumlah pelajar, khususnya di perguruan tinggi, yang mengikuti pembelajaran daring terus meningkat. Pada tahun 2018, lebih dari seperempat mahasiswa di AS mengambil kelas daring. Sebelum COVID 19 mere

An Analysis of the Theme of Hemingway’s “Old Man at the Bridge”

  An Analysis of the Theme of Hemingway’s “Old Man at the Bridge” Introduction The theme is one of the most interesting elements of fiction, including a short story. It refers to the central idea or meaning that the author wants to convey to the readers. Some stories convey a single theme, but some other stories have several themes. Since short stories are related to human life, Alternbend and Lewis (1966, p. 78) define theme as “The general vision of life or the more explicit proposition about human experience that literature conveys”. In relation to this, one of the easiest ways to determine the theme of a short story is by asking ourselves, “What does the story say about life? The theme of fiction is generally presented through the other elements of fiction, particularly the plot and characterization. This article is a venture to analyze the theme of Hemingway’s Old Man at the Bridge . This story is interesting to analyze due to two reasons. First, it is based on Hemingway’s exp