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
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
“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.
does the author create tension? What is the climax and resolution of the
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
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?
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
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.