Saturday, February 2, 2013


This is a short-short story (less than 500 words) I wrote for my creative writing class. Following it is an analysis I had to write for it. Clocking in at approximately 462 words, this story shows a girl who takes a deeper look at her surroundings to find God. I would definitely encourage you to read the analysis at the end. Even as the author, it gave me an incredible insight into what the story is really about.


            I’m not a bad kid. No, sometimes, I just feel compelled to do… questionable things. Maybe I’ve just become restless; or maybe it’s “senior-it is” finally getting to my head (I can think of more than one occasion where I used, “Hell, I’m a senior!” to justify actions I wouldn’t normally do, like riding the elevator of a healthcare building 23 floors up into the air on the class trip! Needless to say, I wasn’t supposed to be in that building and I got in big trouble for it, but looking out across the city lights and how they twinkled like stars… God, it was worth it.); or maybe, deep down, I really do have a naughty streak—a demon clambering to get out.
            All I know is that nothing stopped me when I got that text from Josh at midnight,
            New message from: Josh.
            hey. u wanna go 4 a drive 2nite?
            I hesitated for a second, but reason gave way to a deeper instinct for adventure. And that’s how I got here—driving around town with Josh at one in the morning. He got his license recently; I think he was just itching for a little freedom. He has a restless spirit, like mine. As the car ducked in and out of the dirty light of street lamps, we talked about everything to the sky and back.
            After a while, all went quiet. Josh cocked his head, listening. He turned the dial on the stereo and Switchfoot’s voice came out louder, singing, “When I look at the staaarr-arr-arr-arrs, I see someone else!” He turned the volume back down.
            “Why do you think God gave us the stars?” he asked, “He certainly didn’t have to.”
            I didn’t know what to say. My gaze drawn heavenwards, I tried to make sense of my thoughts. The simple answer is, “because He loves us.” Or He wanted to give us something that would always point us to Him. Or maybe… suddenly an answer appeared before me. I know why it’s there. Not just the stars, but the whole universe, I mean. God gave us the stars, the galaxies, the universe, to remind us—humanity, prideful humanity—that no matter how much we master the earth, there will always be some things we can never master. Some heights we can never attain…
            I waved when Josh dropped me off at my house. The back door opened with a tiny click. I tiptoed across the threshold, stepping out of a divine world and into my old realm.
            As my head hit the pillow, I prayed, “Why did you give us the stars, God?” and drifted off into celestial dreams, where behind closed lids I saw tiny pinpricks of light--the stars. Such beautifully simple reminders.

How does the author create tension? What is the climax and resolution of the text?

            The author creates tension right at the beginning of the story when the main character questions her own actions and the reasons behind them. The initial references to demons and hell also add tension to that first paragraph. Josh and the main character’s restlessness also contribute to the tension.
            The climax of the story occurs when the character realizes the “real” reason why God created the stars. It is a humbling realization that eventually brings the character closer to God as we see her praying in the last lines. Though the story ends on an uncertain note, there is still a sense of peace and finality at the end of the story, even though the question is not fully resolved.

What is the main character’s relationship between the other two entities mentioned—Josh and God?

            There is nothing in the text to suggest that the main character has a romantic relationship with Josh. When he texts her late at night, there is a hesitation, or apprehension, but it is not clarified if she is apprehensive because she is afraid she will get in trouble or because something inappropriate could occur in the car, alone with a male. In fact, this is the only hint in the text that would confirm the main character to be female (because a male might not experience that kind of apprehension.) Whatever the exact reason for hesitation, the instinct for adventure is stronger in the end. It appears that the two characters are friends, perhaps on a d eeper level than most friendships. We see this in the similar restless spirit, their talking together about “everything to the sky and back,” and the philosophical nature of Josh’s question. We also see that they are at least on friendly terms when the main character waves to
Josh at the end of the venture.
            In the beginning, the main character seems very out of touch with God, as evidenced by her senior-rebellion, and suggestion that there is a demon inside her. This idea is also implied by her usage of “Hell, I’m a senior” and how she uses God’s name, “God, it was worth it.” She isn’t exactly swearing, but we don’t get the sense that she is addressing God either. We also see in her hesitation, that the “instinct for adventure” wins out over any sort of moral grounds she might have for not driving around with Josh. At the height of the story, she wrestles with the concepts of God and the stars, knowing the answer, but not really understanding them until she realizes that the stars are reminders more than anything. She still doubts herself and the world, suggesting that “maybe this is hell.” But in the final lines, we sense a return to God as she addresses him more directly as a result of her humbling

What symbols does the author use? How does she use foreshadowing in the story?

            Throughout the entire story, the author uses references to heaven/hell and the stars/sky to tie the piece together. She also uses words like: up, deep down, deeper, down, and heights to describe vertical space. The character entertains ideas of heaven and hell, demons, and divine worlds. These elements combine to create the foreshadowing and atmosphere in the story. In addition, the author uses the Switchfoot song to foreshadow the main character’s revelations. “...I see someone else.” This line foreshadow’s the character’s realization that God gave us the stars to point us to himself.

What is the effect produced by ending on an unsolved/uncertain note?

            In the end, we see the character praying, and asking God, “why did you give us the stars?” She doesn’t ask this out of doubt, but out of curiosity. It is this curiosity that lends the note of finality to the story, even though the question is not expressly answered. Leaving the question unanswered let’s the question make its mark on the reader’s mind. It makes the reader wonder the question for himself or herself. If the end had been more certain, providing an answer to an unknowable question, the reader would have no need to think about the answer to the question. It would squelch any curiosity the reader might have had and discourage them from seeking their own answers to questions.

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