One approach to reading narrative (whether short story or novel) is the story grammar approach. It is an effective way for the reader to organize her thoughts and to see the 'big picture' of the narrative. This approach requires and understanding of basic story elements. These include plot, conflict, character, resolution, climax, etc. Organized around some key questions, Story Grammar lays the groundwork for further analysis of the story being read. The questions, each of which should be answered in a paragraph, are as follows:
2. Where and when does the story take place?
3. Who is the main character, and how would you describe him, her, or it?
4. What is the main character's goal?
5. What problem gets in the way of the main character's reaching this goal?
6. How is the problem resolved?
7. What themes does the story highlight?
8. What is your reaction to the story?