5 Short Story Summaries

Hello class! These are my 5 Short Story Summaries:

  1. Classical Aristotelian:

A Cherokee Native American named Water Fox returns home from a three-year trip with the Light Horse Guard. He discovers his entire village is empty and finds evidence of federal soldiers being connected with the village disappearance.

This beginning will set the story off as Water Fox attempts to track and find his people along with those responsible for their disappearance. He will meet a variety of characters on his journey including other tribes of Native Americans, both friendly and hostile. Water Fox will recruit some of his friends from his Light Horse Guard to go along with him.

The middle of the story follows Water Fox finding his people in federal custody and in a much smaller number than he remembers three years prior. He will discover that the federal government took control of his people’s land and are relocating them to Oklahoma. In a surge of emotion and pain, Water Fox will seek out vengeance on the leaders responsible for carrying out the order to relocate his people.

Leading into the end of the story, Water Fox will find the leaders responsible for executing the migration order and will spare them as a show of mercy, knowing his people wouldn’t want more to die at the hands of this tragic event. This historical fiction takes place during the Trail of Tears, a dark period in Cherokee history where Native American tribes, including the Cherokee, were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands, and relocated to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). This tragedy resulted in the death of thousands of Native Americans and the loss of their homes and communities.


  1. Kishōtenketsu

This story takes place in a small town where a hardworking blacksmith named Fae and a creative florist named Mo reside. The town is divided in half, with one side displaying a passion for botany and the other displaying their love of metalworking and weaponry. Fae and Mo lead separate lives, each following their own routines, with Fae constructing magnificent buildings and Mo decorating the town with flowers from his vast garden. They’ve barely acknowledged each other, passing by one another day after day. However, one afternoon, Mo approaches Fae and asks her to build him a metal arch for his garden.

Fae and Mo work together to create the metal arch, but they soon find themselves at odds over their design vision. Mo wants the arch to symbolize tranquility, while Fae believes it should represent power. This conflict reflects the division within the town. They argue for many hours and even days, eventually discarding both of their project visions.

Years pass, and the two cross paths once again. To their surprise, they find that their project visions have combined over time. The metal arch is now covered with a mixture of metal and greenery, and both Fae and Mo realize that this is the perfect arch for the garden. They apologize to each other and express their gratitude and appreciation for each other’s passions.”


  1. Episodic Structure:

In the year 2570, the PNW Dominion is a technologically advanced society ruled by a corrupt band of leaders named P, N, and W. A band of rebels, consisting of the fearless leader Ana, the tech-savvy hacker Luka, the former government agent Jinn, and the skilled marksman Kai, sets out to overthrow the leaders.

Mini Plot 1: The rebels steal a military hovercraft and use it to infiltrate the government headquarters. They soon discover that the hovercraft is equipped with a self-destruct mechanism and face a race against time to disable it. With time running out and not wanting to blow their cover, Luka sacrifices himself to ensure the mission continues by flying the hovercraft out of blast range.

Mini Plot 2: During their infiltration, Jinn is confronted with a dilemma when they come face to face with his former colleagues who have been brainwashed by the corrupt regime. Instead of helping his fellow rebels, Jinn turns against them and captures the rebels to have them interrogated by the government leaders.

Mini Plot 3: Ana and Kai eventually escape their confinement and search for the leader’s location. At last, they run into P, N, and W where a battle ensues. They manage to take out all three leaders until Jinn stands in their way. Refusing to let his once rebel friends continue their mission, Jinn activates a button and is then taken out by Kai.

Mini Plot 4: Ana mourns Jinn as their victory is short-lived. They realize that button Jinn activated released an advanced AI system called Dominion that assumes control of the government. Ana and Kai fight their way out of the headquarters and are about to leave via the government leader’s personal hovercraft when Ana is struck by a bullet from soldiers rushing to their positions. Ana orders Kai to leave her and escape, telling Kai to let the other rebels know what has taken place at the headquarters.


  1. Surrealist or Fantastic:

This was one story plot that I had the most difficulty creating.

Elo is a college student who works at a movie theater. Despite her busy schedule, she doesn’t pay much attention to her schoolwork or job. One night while cleaning a theater room, she finds a pair of glasses next to a note that reads, “Take what you need, put it back when you don’t. It knows if you still have it.” The glasses allow her to view a blank white room with a table, and whenever she needs an item, the glasses flash white, revealing the item on the table.

Elo initially uses the glasses to cheat on her schoolwork by requesting papers that will give her an A, but she soon realizes that she must return the papers when she no longer needs them. This becomes a problem when one of the papers is so well-written that it is sent off to be published, and Elo can no longer return it. The glasses start to behave strangely. The table shifts positions each time she wears glasses and there’s an eerie sense that Elo is being watched, leading her to realize that the “it” mentioned in the note is coming after her.

Elo goes on a journey to find the paper, and she discovers that the glasses are controlled by a mysterious entity. In a race against time, she must find the paper and return it to the glasses before the entity can punish her. In the end, she succeeds and narrowly avoids the punishment. She then destroys the glasses ensuring whatever it was coming for her cannot find her again, and is left with a newly forced work ethic that will never allow her to take the easy way out ever again.


  1. Personal Anecdote:

This story is based off of a trip my family and I took to Arizona in 2021. My girlfriend was an animal magnet the entire drive to and during our whole trip.

Mel is an adopted boy of Margret and Hudson, with a unique gift that he’ll soon discover as they go on vacation for the first time as a family. With each stop, Margaret and Hudson each notice at different points strange occurrences happening with their adopted boy Mel. These instances involve Mel interacting with animals.

Starting from the drive to their first stop, Hudson notices a flock of crows flying directly above and to the side of their SUV that hold their position with each lane change and U-turn. Next, Margaret catches Mel sitting with a pack of six reservation dogs when they stop for food. Mel behaves almost exactly like one of the dogs, from the tilting head to the panting and barking. Lastly, when they reach their vacation spot and unpack, both parents find Mel sitting in a tree surrounded by a dozen or so cats with collars and name-tags meowing to each other into the night.

Margaret and Hudson sit down and talk to each other about what they’ve seen on this trip about their Mel and decide to confront him to understand what’s going on. Mel reveals that he was raised by animals and has been gifted the ability to communicate with them. He has been hiding for years from scientists who want to experiment on Mel and discover a way of communicating with animals for themselves. Both Margaret and Hudson must deal with protecting Mel from those who wish to take him away and use Mel for their own personal gain.


Thank you for reading! Here are some links to sources I used for these summaries:



These works are of my own creation with the assistance of ChatGPT to ensure they followed their relative plot structures.

Post #6: 5 Short Story Summaries

1. Classical Aristotelian 3-part structure:

Harvy, a hard-of-hearing middle schooler who struggles to trust adults, goes on a week-long school field trip to an isolated, snow-covered state park. Harvy grows suspicious of the tour guide when he notices his classmates begin acting strange. Everyone else seems happy and adores the tour guide–is he just being paranoid? What’s that strange whirring sound coming from the cabin’s basement?

2. Kishotenketsu 4-part structure:

An eldritch being takes on a human disguise and explores a human grocery store for the first time, reporting its findings back to a court of eldritch horrors.

3. Episodic structure:

Professional monster tamer Cynthe tracks down monsters that have been appearing and causing problems around the city. Each monster is unique and has to be handled differently than the last, so Cynthe has to get creative with solutions. One monster regularly reappears that blurs the line between monster and human–a shapeshifter that insists it’s a person.

4. Surrealist/fantastic mode:

Icarus has “survived” the fall and landed in the ocean, wood and cloth wings now in tatters. The servants of the underworld begin to descend upon him, trying to pull him into the afterlife. Icarus must find a way to mend his wings in order to escape the order of nature.

5. Personal anecdote:

A crafty child, alongside his cautious sibling’s help, builds a foam tower atop their mother’s queen sized bed. A balancing act goes wrong, leading him to fall and break his arm.

Narrative Traditions II

I explored “She and Her Cat” and “160 Characters.” They both explore living a “mundane” life, and so are relatable to any viewer. This is what makes them effective, Aristotle talked about how a story needs to be relatable. These stories explore mundane events and scenes but when these are strung together they create a relatable narrative, they could be anyone’s life, they could be yours. The conflict isn’t explicit or explored because you inject your own experience of living into the story, you know what conflict and struggles are included in living a mundane life so having a relatable story comes with its implied conflict. The cat story is a nice exploration of an outside view into human existence, the cat relates a superficial view of what living alone feels like, with the repetition of daily life punctuated by unexpected events but leaves the particulars for your experiences to fill in.

Week 3 Blog Post: Narrative Traditions II

Hello class,

This week’s short films depicted interestingly complex stories that differed from Aristotle’s definition of plot structure.

“…Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is complete, and whole, and of a certain magnitude… A whole is that which has a beginning, a middle, and an end.” (Poetics, pg. 14).

Whereas Aristotle described stories having a core conflict that creates the story, these films dive much deeper to where the audience might question what the story is trying to tell. They do, however, maintain the ability to tell detailed stories in a fraction of the time.

Meshes of the Afternoon was the first film I chose to watch, and boy was it a mind-bender. This psychological thriller of sorts depicts a woman navigating her own thoughts in a dream loop that ultimately ends in her demise. This short film makes use of visual storytelling through repeating scenes. There is no dialogue and no clear description of the central conflict. On top of this, there are elements of a narrative structure in the form of Freytag’s Pyramid. Throughout this story, there seems to be an internal struggle with the woman as she wanders through these time loops in her dream. Each loop adds another piece to the puzzle, or another step up and down on the pyramid. At one point, there are three different versions of the woman sitting around a table, occupying the same space. Each version appeared to be a personality type of the woman represented by their hand/facial gestures as the camera focused on them. This scene solidified my theory that this woman is facing an internal battle. A knife is shown throughout the film as well and it progressively gets closer to the woman to where she’s seen holding the knife in various loops. When a man is introduced, assumingly a partner to the woman, she stabs the man with the knife who in turn changes to a mirror, shattering to pieces on the ground. This scene could represent the climax of Freytag’s Pyramid and it seems to suggest the idea that she’s a victim of domestic abuse, or at the very least extremely unhappy with her relationship. Lastly, leaning towards the catastrophe of the pyramid, the man comes home to find the woman passed away on a chair, surrounded by mirror shrapnel. Each of these scenes utilize visual elements to progress the story without any sort of dialogue to guide the audience, in turn it makes the story unique in that it’s really left to the audience to decide on what’s happening.

I found the film 160 Characters to be immensely interesting through its combination of text, narrative, and visual storytelling. The utilization of these elements evokes emotions from the audience while we interpret how the main character is feeling as she narrates her life through her texts and interactions with J. The conflict too comes from these narrations and text messages as we learn J is primarily leaving V to deal with their, but really her, newborn son.

Thanks for reading!


Narrative Traditions I

Fargo I think is unique in that it is told largely from the bad-guys’ point of view, Jerry and Carl. In this sense the protagonists are bad-guys and the antagonists are the good-guys. You are given insights and scenes of Marge and Wade but these are only to create plausible obstacles to the protagonists. The plot begins before the contents of the movie when Jerry sets up a meeting to discuss his plan of kidnapping his wife. But as soon as the fourth line we are shown that Jerry is not in control and that other characters will challenge him. This movie is not a tragedy in Aristotle’s sense, these characters are not better than common man, everyone is flawed, even the moral center of the film Marge takes time to reconnect with an old boyfriend when she is married, therefore Fargo is a Comedy that follows tragedian conventions.

“Comedy is, as we have said, an imitation of characters of a lower type, – not, however, in the full sense of the word bad…”

The characters’ situations all lead from good to worse except for Marge’s which remains the same. Each character’s reactions to each event follows their established character well, and Jerry and Carl show their losing of control by becoming more erratic. Even Wade’s choice to replace Jerry at the meeting shows that he is used to being in control and his choices leading to the best outcomes, and that bringing a gun shows that he plans for the worst.

“As in the structure of the plot, so too in the portraiture of character, the poet should always aim either at the necessary or the probable. Thus a person of a given character should speak or act in a given way, by the rule either of necessity or of probability;”

Post #3: Non-Aristotelian Plot Structures

Hey class,

Meshes of the Afternoon does not have an Aristotelian plot structure, as there is no one clear conflict that leads the story. The film instead uses the mystery of the story, the actions of the characters, and new clues to pull the plot forward. The camera follows the protagonist as she explores her surroundings and make connections as to what is going on and highlights important objects and patterns. The story captures the audience’s attention with the mystery of the appearing flower that seems to be dropped from an arm in the sky. It then pulls the audience’s attention to the state of the house–bread half-cut, a window open, the record playing left playing, and the phone left off the base despite no one seemingly being home.

Despite having a different, and certainly more vague, plot structure, there is still conflict throughout the story. Conflict is introduced with the reappearance of the knife and the mystery of the dream world. The protagonist finds herself chasing the flower and the mysterious figure over and over again as the scene repeats and she watches each new version of herself appear each cycle. Gravity and physics are not on her side, as she has difficulties moving around the house. She watches as the knife is placed in her bed. She fights with the logic of the dream world to try to stab her sleeping form and wake up. However, this just changes the dream. She is eventually found dead. These keep the audience’s attention and keep the action going.

The story makes me curious, and reminds me of stories like Alice in Wonderland that have seemingly nonsensical logic and a strange, other-worldly feel. Though the world and environment are well-established, the mysteries are left unexplained. The music, focus on shadows and hands rather than faces, and reoccurring knife give a tense, dangerous feel to the film.

The story has several patterns, and the film introduces new information with each loop. The flower, key, and knife are significant items that reappear throughout the story, and the protagonist travels to the same locations in the same order in each loop. The story presents information, presents a repeating pattern using that information, and presents new conflicts and clues into those patterns.


Week 2 Blog Post: Narrative Traditions I

“Aw geez!” may very well become a common phrase used in my vocabulary after watching the film Fargo. A film with quirky characters, graphic scenes of violence, and a creeping sense of dread as some characters continued to fall further down the tragic rabbit hole. After reading and noting Aristotle’s Poetics and being able to compare his ideas about Tragedy and Comedy to the characters in Fargo, it’s clear his thoughts remain prevalent to this day.

Character Driven Plot:

The spark that would ignite the plot of the movie can be narrowed down to one character’s action, that of Jerry Lundegaard and his sketchy deal with criminals Carl Showalter and Gaear Grimsrud. As a reversal, each character in the film must react around the situation they find themselves in because of Jerry.

“…for it is by these that we qualify actions themselves, and these – thought and character – are two natural causes from which actions spring…” (Poetics, pg. 11).

Aristotle’s idea is perfectly depicted in the plot of Fargo with one character’s action causing the rest, including Jerry himself, to respond. In doing so, the audience is exposed to the flaws, strengths, and transformations (or lack thereof), of the characters. We instantly see the flaws of Jerry for setting up a deal to have his wife kidnapped for some money. Scheming, apathetic, and selfishness are characteristics that instantly come to mind. We see the two criminals, Carl and Gaear, vaguely like Jerry but much eviler. Marge and Norm throw our character expectations out the window with a pair of seemingly nice people. As the plot continues, we see that these characteristics of Jerry remain the same with worsening progression. The same goes for the two criminals, whose actions drive the plot in a darker direction. Marge uses her actions to steer the plot into its resolution, tiding up the tragic decisions of the criminals and Jerry.

Tragedy / Comedy

According to Aristotle, what would be the best way to describe this film?

“… Comedy aims at representing men as worse, Tragedy as better than in actual life.” (Poetics, pg. 4)

Fargo can be seen depicting both concepts through its characters. You have the Comedic elements of the two criminals who are despicable and the bottom-of-the-barrel when it comes to imitating a normal human. One could also place Jerry in this pool of characters as he two isn’t the best representation of a good person and never quite gets to his goal. Although Jerry could be seen through a tragic lens, having a good standing as a husband with a child and wife, respectable job, and a home. And through the tragic events he loses all of that to achieve his selfish goal. Through these examples, I feel that it’s reasonable to say Fargo is a tragic comedy.

Thanks for reading!



Post #2: Fargo and Aristotle

Hey again class,

In Fargo, the plot moves forward and pushes characters’ actions by putting many of them under massive amounts of stress. Jerry is worried about money and is desperate. Carl and Gaear need to pull off this job without being caught and arrested. Jean is in danger. Wade is worried about his daughter. Marge needs to find the culprits before they kill more people. The catalyst of the deaths in this movie begins when Carl and Gaear are presented with one minor problem—a state trooper pulling them over—which escalates the tense, but simple situation to a messy catastrophe. Jerry and Carl make rash decisions to try to fix their mistakes, only to make their situations worse. They push other characters to rash decisions as well via their mistakes. Jerry’s flaws are exacerbated as he is put under more stress, eventually leading him to covering up the murder of his father-in-law, Wade. Jerry is not equipped to handle the all the death, despite his actions leading to what caused it.

I see the movie Fargo as a good example of how Aristotle defines Tragedy. In chapter 6 of his book The Poetics, Aristotle defines tragedy as “the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself.” The movie Fargo imitates a real-world event that happened in Minnesota in 1987. Fargo also imitates the actions, life, and emotions of the invented story. The characters are presented with the high-stakes pressure of money and crime—it has very serious and significant elements like death. Aristotle also defines the six parts of tragedy as being Fable/Plot, Characters, Diction, Melody, Thought, and Spectacle. Fargo contains a Fable, showing the audience the incidences of the story, Character in presenting moral differences in each of the characters, Diction in the composition of lines, Melody in scenes where no words are necessary for the audience to understand, Thought in the characters expressing their truths, and Spectacle in the existence of the film.

Fargo also invites both fear and pity from the audience, as mentioned by Aristotle in chapter 9. Characters graphically die left and right—audiences don’t know who will survive in the end. This could lead to fear. Fargo invites pity for the characters by showing their fear, pain, humanity, and regret. Jerry’s voice becomes quiet and his body language turns inward when he asks if Jean is okay. Gaear, despite all his violence towards others, enjoys watching drama TV. These traits don’t redeem the characters, but do show the audience that they are human beings.