This unit of study explores the development of the modern short story across various cultures and the historical period of 19th- 21st centuries. Students will examine, interpret and analyse the structure, conventions, values and literary devices of stories; they will explore techniques that stories employ for character development, plot and cultural reproduction. It will also involve an introductory study of literary genre and literary criticism as these apply to range of short story writers. Students will be encouraged to develop their own interpretation of the significance of the stories in light of literary criticism, and will reflect their own views and values as well as understanding the views and values of the author and their commentary on the society.

Unit details

Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate and discuss the development of a short story as a literary style;  
  2. Apply textual analysis skills to identify and discuss the components of a short story and the significance of its genre;  
  3. Analyse and assess a range of literary criticism on selected stories and authors; and  
  4. Provide an analysis of the views and values of short stories from a particular genre, historical period or author.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Essay A discussion on the development of the modern short story in response to a question provided in class. 30%
Presentation A spoken analysis in class, with a focus on short stories from a particular genre. 30%
Essay An analysis with a focus on stories of a particular author or a collection of stories on a particular theme or historical period 40%

Where to next?

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.