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In the stories, The Meaning of Elephants and The Last Class, the themes are supported by the setting, character relationships and narrator of the story.

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Introduction

The opening of a short story is extremely vital as it is the first the words the reader reads that gives the reader their first impression of the story. The beginning of a short story also introduces and helps the reader to understand the key themes which the story explores. In the stories, The Meaning of Elephants and The Last Class, the themes are supported by the setting, character relationships and narrator of the story. The opening of a short story is important as it creates the setting which introduces the main themes. In the short story, The Meaning of Elephants, the beginning of the short story gives a brief description of Jack's setting in Jack's perspective, "the tiny world I'd suddenly been thrust into, Weedington (population 8547)". ...read more.

Middle

The character relationship between Jack and Emily is described in the first few sentences of The Meaning of Elephants. The first sentence "When Emily passed judgment everybody listened because Emily was top dog." Suggests that Emily has a high status in society and in contrast, Jack does not. From the first statement, the audience is able to understand that the theme of manipulation is created by the power Emily holds over the school. It also suggests that Jack and Emily's relationship is not quite friendly as Jack compares Emily to a 'dog'. In The Last Class, the author opens his story with Frantz describing his relationship with the teacher, Monsieur Hamel. Then text mentions that Frantz is "terribly afraid" of being late as the teacher is very strict. ...read more.

Conclusion

In The Last Class, the character relationship between Frantz and Hamel in the opening of the story emphasizes the change of perspective Frantz has on his teacher. The theme of change is also highlighted by Frantz's thoughts, "my grammar, my sacred history- seemed to me like old friends". The first person narration emphasizes the emotions Frantz has in response to the change to the change, when his teacher will no longer teach him French. The narrator gives a further understanding of character and character relationship of the stories which are important to support the themes. The opening of a short story is crucial to introduce, develop and emphasize the themes mentioned in the story. The opening must be interesting to captivate the audience and creates the general first impressions of the story. The openings of short stories help the reader to understand in depth about the explored themes of the story. ...read more.

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