Combining Individual Stories Into Larger Wholes

The inclination to combine individual stories into larger wholes goes way back into oral tradition. In the literary world this kind of story linkage is known as a short story cycle, or sequence (various other names exist but these have caught on). It is not a collection of isolated stories but collections of stories with common themes, imagery, and tone and often with common setting and characters. The boundaries distinguishing a collection of short stories from a cycle are often blurry. In his studies, Forrest L. Ingram has defined a cycle (he invented this term) as: “a book of short stories so linked to each other by their author that the reader’s successive experience on various ...

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can be picked out and read as an independent short story, its meaning intensifies and sometimes changes when read with its “neighbours”. The reader usually feels a sense of community developing as he reads on. In Sherwood Anderson’s book Winesburg Ohio (often referred to as a model of the modern short story cycle) the community is localised in a particular place, a small town. In this essay I will discuss this book as a cycle, and mention some of the theoretical writings on the subject. I will point out how the book is enhanced by the fact that the stories are interrelated and how individual stories suffer as a result of it.
In short story cycles, individual protagonists often appear in several sections to bring the stories together. In Winesburg many characters appear in more than one story, but one character, George Willard is present in nearly all. In almost every story, someone talks with or about the reporter. The local newspaper is something that links the people in town ...

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environment is not only external but internal as well. Like Anton Chekov and James Joyce, Anderson depends on “unity of feeling to create a sense of “storyness”, and [establishes] a sense of the seemingly casual out of what is deliberately patterned…” (p 211 Chekov and the Modern Short Story). I will explain what I said that about it being the reader that linked the stories. Poe said the short story needed an active reader who participates in the making of meaning. “In the short story sequence, the reader is called upon to expand and complicate this enterprise…[there is] a human need to find form; coherence, wholeness, and integrated sense will always beckon us” (p.113 Short Story Theory ...

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Combining Individual Stories Into Larger Wholes. (2004, June 10). Retrieved February 23, 2019, from
"Combining Individual Stories Into Larger Wholes.", 10 Jun. 2004. Web. 23 Feb. 2019. <>
"Combining Individual Stories Into Larger Wholes." June 10, 2004. Accessed February 23, 2019.
"Combining Individual Stories Into Larger Wholes." June 10, 2004. Accessed February 23, 2019.
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Added: 6/10/2004 02:31:03 AM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 3032
Pages: 12

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