Storytelling can be regarded as the foundation of contemporary literature. A narrative is a fundamental element of any literary, cultural, or historical discourse. However, a narrative shouldn’t be regarded as a simplified version of literature. For example, Alice Walker’s ‘Everyday use’ touches upon a great variety of issues, ranging from family values to the national pride and identity.
However, the distinctive feature of a narrative is the fact that the reader can relate to the character of the story. In ‘Everyday use,’ Dee as a central character of the story and proper understanding of her nature, her life, her challenges and ambitions id extremely essential for grasping the idea and the spirit of Walker’s story. The same is true about Emily Grierson from ‘A Rose for Emily.’ While the historical and cultural circumstances may be strikingly different nowadays, the same stories of love, loneliness, and commitment are familiar to all readers.
At the same time, a narrative should have a personal flavor. In ‘Sonny’s Blues,’ the story is told in the first person. This literary device adds more credibility to the author’s writing and makes the reader more compassionate and empathic.
In addition, a good short story should delve into the hidden (or often even unconscious) feeling of the protagonist. In ‘A&P,’ the author succeeds in conveying Sammy’s thoughts and emotions he experiences when the girls enter the store.
Therefore, a good story should be something a reader can refer to; at the same time, it should be representative of the bigger picture of social problems and developments; finally, it should be illustrative of the inner world of the characters.