Distinguishing Between an Essay & a Short Story

Essay vs Short Story

Is there a distinction between an essay and a short story? In educational institutions, we often engage in writing essays and sometimes short stories. Essays can be considered as pieces of writing, while short stories are seen as artistic compositions containing a plot that unfolds a story. This highlights the primary difference between an essay and a short story. This article will explore the differences between essays and short stories.

What is an Essay?

An essay is a piece of writing that focuses on a specific subject. It provides a methodical account of the topic, with the writer examining various dimensions and presenting an analysis. Each essay has a straightforward structure, including an introduction, body, and conclusion. Through an essay, readers can gain a comprehensive understanding of the subject. The writer often presents factual information, different perspectives, attitudes, and even their own opinion.

In schools, teachers encourage students to write essays on various topics. The complexity and standard of the topic depend on the student’s maturity. For younger students, teachers may assign topics such as environmental pollution or the first day of school. For more advanced students, teachers may provide more challenging topics, such as capital punishment or the modern teenager versus technology. Essays allow students to articulate and present their ideas with clarity.

What is a Short Story?

A short story is a narrative that is shorter in length compared to a novel. It comprises a single plot, which forms the basis of the story or incident, and has fewer characters. A short story does not consist of multiple plots and a large scope but is limited. For example, a short story may revolve around a single day in the life of a main character. There can be other minor characters with whom the main character interacts, but the focus remains primarily on the main character. The thoughts, feelings, and ideas of the character allow the reader to understand their nature. Although a short story is brief in length, the writer can still create a powerful impact on the reader.

In a short story, the writer can use a variety of literary devices, such as irony and satire, to create specific effects. Another feature of a story, which highlights a significant difference between a story and an essay, is that a story contains action. This feature is not observed in an essay.

Key Takeaways

  • Definition: An essay is a piece of writing on a particular subject, while a short story is a narrative, shorter in length compared to a novel.
  • Experience and exploration: An essay provides a lengthy account of a specific subject, while a short story focuses more on an individual’s experience.
  • Plot and action: An essay does not have a plot or action, while a short story has a plot and characters engaging in various behaviors that contribute to the development of the plot.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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