Since we were little, we have been exposed to lite reading. This is called a short story. Short stories are under the same genre as a novel, Prose, there isn’t much difference between both except for the length of the continuous pieces of the fiction writing.
Some of the best stories that we have read are the classics such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 101 Dalmatians or Hansel and Gretel. These stories brought a great impact during our childhood and some even started dreaming or having a goal.
Stories are a part of literature that can appear in many forms. It can be told in the form of storytelling, written in books or even be made into movies and cartoons. When we read a story, we will get absorbed into the scene, we understand what the characters want, and we can somehow relate to how the hero and villains feel.
All these allow readers to grasp the messages, moral values and be empathetic to the characters. There are immense things that we can get from reading, even if you just read short stories.
Are you intrigued in learning more about short stories? You can read more on SPM English Literature Novel questions too as it is an option to choose between both.
What is The Short Stories Question Format?
From 2020 last year, literature elements have been taken out from English SPM syllabus and have become independent subjects. This has given a chance for those who have great interest in literature to learn deeper into the subjects.
Plus, literature has been considered as one of the subjects that has a great impact in shaping students to be more versatile, nurture good values and prepare them for the real world.
For SPM English Literature studies, there are 2 novels and 6 short stories in the syllabus. You’ll learn either one novel or 6 short stories for SPM.
The total marks for Prose Section A is 35%. You’ll need to choose one question only and answer both parts of the questions. Part A carries 20 marks and Part B has 15 marks.
Here is the Performance Levels for Prose in the Standard Document for Curriculum and Assessment drafted by the Examination Boards of Malaysia.
|PERFORMANCE LEVEL ||PERFORMANCE STANDARDS GUIDE DESCRIPTORS (PROSE) |
|1||Pupils can: |
· identify setting, plot, themes and characters in texts.
· state positive or negative response to text.
· produce creative works with full guidance.
|2||· identify setting, basic plot development, themes and messages in texts. |
· identify and describe some character traits.
· identify some literary devices.
· communicate a personal response with hardly any reference to texts.
· produce creative works with some guidance.
|3||· identify the significance of setting, plot development, themes, messages and universal issues in texts. |
· describe the roles of characters.
· identify and explain the use of some literary devices.
· provide a relevant personal response with some reference to texts.
· produce creative works with limited textual evidence.
|4||· respond with clear understanding of the setting, plot, themes, messages and universal issues in texts. |
· describe the use of language, style and tone in prose.
· describe and analyse character development.
· provide a reasonably developed personal response with reference to texts.
· produce creative works with sufficient textual evidence.
|5||· show critical understanding of the setting, plot, themes, messages and universal issues in texts. |
· analyse the use of language, style and tone in prose.
· analyse and evaluate character development.
· communicate a perceptive personal response with reference to texts.
· produce creative works with relevant textual evidence.
|6||· show in-depth understanding of the setting, plot, character, themes, messages and universal issues in texts. |
· analyse and evaluate the use of language, style and tone in prose.
· show individuality and insight through a perceptive personal response with reference to texts.
· produce well -planned creative works independently with precise textual evidence.
(Source: Malaysian Ministry of Education, MOE )
What are the Short Stories That Will Come Out in SPM 2021 and the Sample Questions?
There are 6 short stories for English Literature:
- Sambal with Anchovies
- Embracing Your Shadow
- Thieving Daughter
- The Winter Hibiscus
- Turning Thirty
- Birds of Paradise
Here are a few sample questions that are taken from previous years SPM questions.
Minfong Ho: Turning Thirty
- Explain how Ah Liong compromised to keep the harmony within the family.
- Compassion is a virtue. Discuss this statement with close reference to two characters in the story.
- Explain how the Old One helps Rosa.
- An important lesson in life is to treat everyone with respect. Discuss this statement with close reference to the text.
Minfong Ho: The Winter Hibiscus
- Describe two memories Saeng recalls as she walks through the greenhouse.
- A child needs a mother’s love and support to go through life. Discuss this statement with close reference to the text.
Minfong Ho: Birds Of Paradise
- How do the birds react to Lani's desire to be different?
- If you really want to do something, you will find a way to do it. Discuss this statement with close reference to the text.
- “Nothing ever stays the same forever, not even a tropical paradise”. Describe the changes in the tropical paradise by the end of the story.
- Individuality should be encouraged. Discuss this statement with close reference to the text.
Chua Kok Yee: Sambal Without Anchovies
- Explain how Nora is able to solve the problem between Pak Samad and Hanif.
- 'Nasi Lemak Pak Samad' is not merely a stall. It means different things to different people in the story. Discuss what it means to two people in the story.
- Do you agree with Hanif’s business plan? Why?
- What do we think of Nora?
- Is it true that love exists in everyday things?
Chua Kok Yee: Thieving Daughter
- The husband "...comes and goes as he pleases..." Explain the writer's intention for the husband's presence in the story.
- Whom would you sympathize with, Aisya or Kak Noor? Support your answer with close reference to the text
Chua Kok Yee: Embracing Your Shadow
- Describe the personality of the narrator in the story.
- A healthy relationship should be based on honesty. Discuss this statement with close reference to the text.
You may check out SPM English Literature Resource Materials for more literature questions and exercises
How to Answer Short Stories Questions?
The questions for literature will always revolve around the basic literary elements such as;
- what is the plot
- where is the settings
- who are the characters
- what literary or poetic devices used
- what are the themes and values
- what is the point of view
These are the fundamental parts of creating questions. Therefore, you’d need to understand all of these elements. When you are answering these questions, you should try to relate with the literary element involved, such as the story theme.
The themes for this short story are:
- Generation gap
- Coping with lose
- Tradition VS Modernisation
Meanwhile, the plot example in the Thieving Daughter is when the daughter received a dress from her mother to try on, but then the daughter cut it off. That event became the climax of the story. The climax usually is when there is a turn of events where it can be a surprising or heart-throbbing moment.
For short stories, we need to be able to analyse and review the literature. Example from the following excerpt.
“Morning, Mum” My daughter, Aisya walks into the kitchen. She is twenty-two years old, and has just started working in a bank after graduating from college. She has on a navy blue blouse, with a pair of black pants. Her face is radiant and fresh. She uses minimal makeup, and wears her black hair cascading down to her waist. She looks gorgeous.
Her beauty, youth, and vitality are familiar. She has got them from me. It is odd though, because I don't remember giving them away.
We sit at the kitchen table with plates of fried mee-hoon and glasses of orange juice in front of us. Her face is buried in the pages of the newspaper, an annoying habit she has picked up from her father. I twirl the mee-hoon with my fork, and bring it to my mouth. The mee-hoon is dry but soft, and tangy with just a hint of shrimp. It is good, and should be the focus of her attention, not the newspaper.
From the excerpt, you can analyze a few literary elements which are the character of the daughter as well as the mother. We know the setting (place) as where they are having their mee-hoon.
We know that the daughter and mother are both beautiful except for the youth. The daughter seems to be successful too as we looked at the daughter who has just graduated and already worked at the bank. The mother is also a caring mother as she worries the daughter is not focusing on the food but instead on the newspaper.
The point of literature is not what we see as black and white. However, we need to respect each and everyone’s opinion on how they look at the characters, either good or bad. This is how relatable literature is to the real world.
Remember, for all questions, you'd need to give evidence where and why you think that is the answer. Try it out. Fret not, literature answers are subjective. As long as you give a logical reasoning on the chosen relevant examples, then you should be fine.
On another side, when you hear the title Turning Thirty, you’d expect to read about a celebration or an happy or sad occasion on reaching 30 years old. However, you find a different plot for the story.
Therefore, literature isn't always so direct. This is why literature is very interesting as the event will turn out different from our prediction. Since English Literature has been a separate entity from SPM English, the course has now become an optional course.
It depends on the schools to offer English literature courses but some who do, don't have a specific English Literature teacher. Therefore, you will need to find another method to study. You can always self-study literature or set up a study group with friends.
However, if you are in need of an English Literature tutor, Superprof is able to help you out. We have a lot of experienced and good teachers that can always cater to your need. You can have a personal class online or offline at a very affordable price.
What are you waiting for? Register now with Superprof!
Meanwhile, check out the Complete Guide for SPM English Literature 2021.
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