They should also examine what obstacles the characters face, how they deal with those obstacles and what their actions reveal about their values and beliefs.
The setting is the environment in which a story takes place and can include information about the geographical location, historical era, social and political conditions, weather, and time of day.
The conflict is a struggle between two characters, a character and himself, two forces, or a character and a force.
For example, a writer could argue that in "To Build a Fire," there is a conflict between the protagonist (a character) and nature (a force).
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For example, Shirley Jackson's story "The Lottery" includes the themes of fear and cowardice, dangerous traditions, human violence, and the indoctrination of youth.
Often the essay's thesis statement is drawn from some aspect of a story's theme.
Soheila Battaglia is a published and award-winning author and filmmaker.
She holds an MA in literary cultures from New York University and a BA in ethnic studies from UC Berkeley.