1. What are the chief episodes and incidents which compromise the story's plot? Does the
plot proceed dramatically and chronologically? To what extent, if any, does the author
employ such devices as flashbacks and foreshadowing?
2. What is the conflict (or conflicts) on which the plot turns?
3. Is the plot unified? Are the episodes and incidents logically related to one another?
What role does change and coincidence play?
4. Is the ending (resolution) appropriate to and consistent with the rest of the story? Does it
depend on a surprise or reversal of some kind?
5. Describe the plot in terms of its introduction, its complication or conflict, its crisis, its
climax, and its resolution.
1. Who is the story's protagonist or focal character? Who is the story's antagonist?
2. What methods does the author use to establish and reveal character (through action,
physical description, exposition, through the character's own thoughts)? To what extent
do point of view, plot, setting, and tone also contribute to establishing and developing
3. Are the characters simple or complex? Are they individualized or merely stock types?
Do the characters change and develop or remain static?
4. Are the actions of the characters properly motivated and consistent?
5. What is the function of the story's main character?
1. What is the story's setting in space and time?
2. How does the author go about establishing the setting? Is it vague or ill-defined? Is it
mimetic (realistic) or symbolic? What details of the setting does the author isolate and
3. Is the setting important? If so, what is its function? Is it used to reveal, reinforce, or
influence character, plot or theme?
POINT OF VIEW
1. What is the story's point of view? Is it consistent throughout the story or does it shift?
2. What information or knowledge does the point of view give the reader access to? What
information does it serve to conceal?
3. If the story is told from the point of view of one of the characters, is the narrator reliable?
Does the narrator's personality, character or intellect affect his/her ability to interpret the
events or the other characters correctly?
4. Is the point of view an appropriate and effective one? How would the story be different
if told from another point of view?
THEME OR MAJOR MESSAGE
1. Does the story have a theme? Is it stated or implied?
2. What generalization(s) or statement(s) about human experience does the story make?
3. What elements of the story contribute most heavily to the formulation of the theme?
4. Does the theme emerge organically and naturally (dramatically), or does the author force
the theme upon the story?
5. What is the value or significance of the story's theme?