Plot and structure

Here we will discuss both plot and structure of the excerpt from “I Can Be Someone” by Jayne Bauling.

Plot

A short story presents a single event involving a few characters. In general, the moments that compose a plot are: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution.

The excerpt in your textbook is only the first chapter of “I Can Be Someone” by Jayne Bauling. Consequently, it only functions as an exposition, where the characters and the setting are introduced and the intrigue is set.

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Structure

We will now look at specific literary analytical elements, which can enhance your understanding of the text:

  • Point of view and narrator
  • Setting and time
  • Composition

Point of view and narrator

The short story is a first-person narrative, an account from the perspective of the protagonist, teenage Cebo. Consequently, we only have access to the narrator’s thoughts and limited knowledge as far as the other characters are concerned.

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Setting and time

The story is set in a private school somewhere in South Africa and it is meant to be read as a contemporary one. In the excerpt in your textbook, the action only spans over a single day.

The setting is mainly suggested using nouns and adjectives, describing how the characters dress and behave:

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Composition

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The text becomes more attractive through the use of certain compositional narrative elements:

  • In media res
  • Foreshadowing
  • Cliff-hanger

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