IntertextualityThe difference between short stories and novels extends far beyond the obvious, Short stories are often read in a single sitting and can be defined as a brief version of logical events usually revolving about a singular plot. Whilst a novel may retain many of the characteristics of a short story the format builds upon these basic ideas and concepts, expanding on themes and extending the plot and shaping the story through complicated interaction between characters. The process of comparing two texts is known as Intertextuality. By studying the novel 'To kill a mocking Bird' Authored by Harper Lee and contrasting this with the short story 'A blow, A kiss' written by Tim Winton The most pronounced section at the start of any story is character development.
The story 'A blow, A kiss' opens with Albie and his father travelling home from a fishing expedition in the front of a truck, Albie refers to his fathers warmth and smell as being 'enough' to subdue their earlier bad luck, Immediately a strong bond is realised between Father and son. Other than this the only other clues to the identities of this pair is the references to Albie's mother and the eventual evolution of their rural surroundings. In the novel 'To kill a mockingbird' Harper Lee has adopted a style most novels are written in. The story opens with Scout reflecting on events of the past, referring to developments in the story which are yet to occur. 'To kill a mocking bird' Is divided into two sections, The first is almost entirely devoted to the development of characters.
Scout describes in vivid detail every thought, look or sign of attitude that another character may be associated with. These vivid descriptions set Harper Lee's novel apart from the short story. Whilst 'A blow, A kiss' relies on the reader to 'fill in the blanks' from a stereotypical analysis of the father and son based on the small amount of evidence given as to their identities. In the novel however the realistic portrayal of characters and the dramatization of their thoughts allows the reader author to alter the readers perception of a character from a particular subculture, by doing away with stereotypes the author has more control and freedom over character development and hence the availability of possibilities for later actions to occur within the story.
Themes play an important role in the development of a story, themes provide conflicts and resolutions for the story line, themes allow for the reader to identify with aspects and ideals residing in the story. Due to the obviously brief nature of a short story the element of themes is usually singular and may refer to a limited number of other themes as reference to support the presiding theme. 'A blow, A kiss' is a prime example of this trend, The obvious theme in this story is about the bond between father and son and Albie struggling to make sense of the lack of that bond between another father and son. 'A blow, A kiss' also has underlying references to alcoholism and family values and the effects alcohol has on the family unit. The themes in Harper Lee's novel however evolve differently, The underlying theme resides about the inclusion of racism and prejudice within society. 'To kill a mocking bird' delves into several themes including; the maturing of Jem and Scout, respect for others, Acceptance of people who appear strange and reclusive only because they are misunderstood by the majority.
Because of the length of the novel this allows for the author Harper Lee to introduce more complicated and intertwined themes, for instance the during the process of Jem and Scout maturing they both begin to realise the harshness of their child fantasies of making Boo Radley 'come out'. Longer time in the book allows for these issues to be dealt with in a more in depth view rather than letting the reader identify with an already prominent issue within society and then contributing the views of the author but instead writing into the story a group of common issues that help the reader to understand the issue and offer a new perspective. The style in which the author writes his or her story reflects on individual styles and attitudes towards characters they create, and the story which unfolds. Harper Lees novel paints a poor picture of the situation of racism and societies expectations during the nineteen thirties. It becomes obvious that Lee despises the thoughts and morals she tackles with in the story. Her use of the phrase 'Shoot all the bluejays you want, If you can hit " em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird' In this story the symbolism of the mockingbird is directly related to the character of Tom Robinson whom although he has only worked honestly and offered a helping hand to May ella Ewell as he passed on his way home, Tom Robinson was persecuted by society because of his colour and because of the desires of a white woman.
The entire court room new of Tom Robinson's innocence but the bureaucracy of the situation did not allow the jury to clear Tom Robinson's name. This small but very important section of the book gives us possibly the most insight into Harper Lee's views on racism showing the reader the stubbiness of the court systems is her way of symbolizing the inappetence of another person based on their colour. Tim winton also writes a powerful piece on the in acceptance of the poor bond between father and son due to the abuse of alcohol. Tim Winton's views expressed in the story are obviously very anti-alcohol as this is evident due to the large factor of alcohol in the story, The bike rider is under the influence when he crashes and his father is obviously drunk when his son returned to him.
Tim Winton has effectively used the young boy travelling with his father in this story, the boys innocence has the effect of highlighting the problem and the misunderstanding of how father and son could fall apart from each other so easily. It becomes evident though that the bike rider is heading home, It seems the bike rider is the victim, he has followed in the foot steps of his father as far as drinking goes maybe to drown his sorrows yet the bike rider is obviously only trying to please his father. The reader cant help but receive the impression that maybe the writer has been involved in a situation similar to or symbolized within the story. Here is a common point that short stories and novels share, the sharing of a message through a writers story. Each writer shares their experience differently and so it is hard to make a differentiation between novel and short story. The positioning of the reader in a story although central to the main character also differs between short stories and a novel.
A short story generally told through the eyes of the main character the reader is given a picture of the story world by the way the character feels about and interacts with other characters in the story. In a novel how ever more complicated views are shown through dialogue and actions of interacting characters. The plot of a novel may continue with no direct reference to the central characters whilst an image of other ongoing situations is built. In the novel 'To kill a mocking bird' the story is told in third person but by one of the characters of the story.
Scout finch tells her story and as such we feel closer to her and develop and bond with Scout, sharing her anxieties and fear, often forgetting that the story teller is actually scout reflecting on events passed. This effective form of writing allows for the advantages of both first person views, thoughts and expressionism to be used without being confined, the third person element gives a fresh and broader picture of the aspects of the story. The short story 'A blow, A kiss' is similar, told as though from someone watching the story but describing the boy in such emotional detail that to pick the difference between the third person view and first person becomes difficult, the views used by Tim Winton enhance the feelings of the boy. In a novel a writer is given more of a medium to develop and disclose their opinions within their writing, In a short story the writers attitudes may seem forced and biased due to the short space of time in which they are fed to the reader.
In a novel however the author may drop subtle hints as to their true intentions and build a better and more influential case to portray their case. A novel appears to be on the surface nothing more than an extended version of a short story and although in a sense this is true the novel brings to the table its own unique style of descriptive and enveloping writing. The short story is often written to entertain and amuse, ending with a deceptive twist. The novel however is slower to develop and will embrace more values and themes dealing with the most complex issues in such away to entertain the reader the depth of a novel allows for bonds to be developed between characters and reader that are more purposeful than that of short story counterparts. Their are numerous differences between the short story and the novel yet as a story their common purpose to enlighten, entertain and inform unites these forms of literature as what can only be described as a story.