survey of literature 6

“Point of View” (pages 226 – 236)

Chopin, “The Story of an Hour” (pages 127 – 130)
Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily” (pages 143 – 151)
Updike, “A&P” (pages 160 – 165)
Olsen, “I Stand Here Ironing” (pages 217 – 224)
Poe, “The Cask of Amontillado” (pages 249 – 255)

“Write a 1,200 word essay nominating as “best” one short-short story from the list of short stories that you read this week. Your essay needs to conform to basic essay standards and include an introduction, body and conclusion. Your essay must incorporate no fewer than three academic sources. For more information on how your essay will be evaluated, please review the rubric under Unit 1 Course Materials.”

You will need to use at least two to three elements of fiction in your reasoning to justify why this short-short story is the best. For example, do you encounter a character that you cheer on even though you may also scream in your head, “Don’t do that! It’s the wrong choice!”? Do you find a setting that feels like the place you should have been born? Does the dialog sound like a conversation you wished you had with another? Does the plot compel you to “not be able to put the text down” – you HAD to read every page in just one sitting? (And so forth).

To decide which short-short story is the “best” you will need to first skim all the stories provided and make some notes on your impressions. Decide in which order to read the stories. Then read each story.

Once you have read the stories and decided which one is “best,” re-read the “best” and make some notes about its plot, setting, characters, point of view, and style (sentence structure, diction, and tone). Use this question to help you: What is the theme of this story and how do the elements of the story work together to create the theme?

Once you’ve made your notes, you will be ready to draft and perfect your first essay for the class. Provide a thesis statement which incorporates at least three elements of fiction. A simple version of this would be: “Story A by Author B is the best short-short story because its setting, characters, and diction all show an easy-going, relaxed attitude that works perfectly to support its theme concerning the madness of modern life.” Note that this is just an example.

There is no right answer. Any one of the stories on this list is arguably the “best.” Your nomination will be accepted as long as you provide justification for your choice by referencing at least three elements of fiction (plot, setting, characters, etc).

Please draw from your existing knowledge of writing to put forth your best work on this essay. Note that while quotes and excerpts from the short-short story in question will help provide evidence for your reasons, the idea of this portfolio piece is NOT to summarize the plot (simply tell what happened in the story). Rather, talk about how the elements of fiction work together to create a memorable piece that you consider the “best” out of the choices given. Remember to put all borrowed phrases from the story in quotation marks.

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