See Article History. You can learn more about this topic in the related articles below. This article was most recently revised and updated by Kathleen Kuiper , Senior Editor. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Henry , American short-story writer whose tales romanticized the commonplace—in particular the life of ordinary people in New York City.
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His stories expressed the effect…. American literature, the body of written works produced in the English language in the United States. Like other national literatures, American literature was shaped by the history of the country that produced it. For almost a century and a half, America was merely a group of colonies scattered….
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In the video above , those abilities converge to produce Vonnegut's eight bullet points for good short-story writing:. On his chalkboard he draws two axes, the horizontal representing time and the vertical representing the protagonist's happiness.
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In one possible story the protagonist begins slightly happier than average, gets into trouble a downward plunge in the story's curve , and then gets out of it again returning the curve to a higher point of happiness than where it began. The third and most complicated curve represents "the most popular story in Western civilization. That night she attends a ball where she dances with a prince, bringing the curve to its peak before it plunges back to the bottom at the stroke of midnight, when the fairy godmother's magical gifts expire.
In order to bring the curve back up, the prince must use the glass slipper she accidentally left behind at the ball to — oh, you've heard this one before?
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Vonnegut first explored the idea of story shapes in his master's thesis, rejected by the University of Chicago "because it was so simple and looked like too much fun. He would also keep clarifying his other ideas about writing and literature by explaining them in a variety of settings. Nobody could, or should try to, write just like Kurt Vonnegut, but all of us who write at all could do well to give our craft the kind of thought he did.
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To support Open Culture's continued operation, please consider making a donation. We thank you! Vonnegut wrote some excellent short stories.
Bradbury really made you feel things. Bradbury made me cry on numerous occasions. This is fraudulent. False quotes. Not Kurts voice in the vid. Name required.
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- The Last Leaf!
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