Homework posts on Lowe, Atwood, Glaspell, Chopin, and Faulkner

If you volunteered to post by end-of-day on Friday so that everyone can comment on your posts by 10:00am Monday, here are some ideas to get you started (choose one, or get inspired by one or two):

  • We really wanted to spend more time looking at the ending of Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour.” What do we understand about Mrs. Mallard’s desire for freedom in the story? Does she have freedom at the end of the story?
  • Think of the various details mentioned in Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers.” Point us to a few examples, including quotations from those passages. How do these examples become important details in the story? How do the men and women read these details specifically and details in general differently in “A Jury of Her Peers”?
  • Another way to consider the details in “A Jury of Her Peers” is to consider what the women do with details to understand the backstory as reading the scene; consider in a post the model for critical reading this short story presents. Alternatively, how is “There Was Once” a model for critical reading? What does the second speaker do with the Cinderella story, and how or to what extent is that something we should do when we read? What does it do in that story, and what could it do for us as we read critically?
  • If Margaret Atwood’s short story “There Was Once” and Anne Sexton’s poem “Cinderella” attempt to retell the fairy tale, what does Bia Lowe’s “I Always Write about My Mother When I Start to Write” do with fairy tales? We started discussing this in class. What aspects of fairy tales does it borrow, and what is the effect of this motif? Be sure to learn about what a motif is if you choose this option, and feel free to add it as your glossary entry for this week (but this only goes for one person, and the post’s author has priority!
  • What effect does the style of narration have on your experience of the plot or characters? Use two different styles to reflect on this, using any of the stories we have read this semester.
  • What connections do you see among the stories assigned from the start of the semester through Monday? Are there trends you can identify? Or contrasting situations/characters/styles that are worth noting in their difference? Be specific!
  • In thinking about William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” who is the narrator? is it a reliable narrator? Use evidence from the story to show why you say reliable or not.
  • What does gothic mean?  What is Southern Gothic, specifically? Wikipedia might be a good place to get a definition and explanation of what Southern Gothic is. How is  “A Rose for Emily” an example of this? You might add this term as your glossary entry word as well.
  • Finally, if you’re interested, argue for or against “A Rose for Emily” as a Valentine’s Day reading. What notion of love do you take away from this story?

These are just a few ideas that you might consider, and certainly not all of them will be addressed. I hope my suggesting them gives everyone ideas about other topics for discussion and other ways to read the short stories we have begun to cover in class. For your post, choose one of these topics, or venture off on your own topic, using any of these as a guide to make sure your topic is as focused. Use the texts to guide you, consider that your audience (mostly your classmates and me) will have read the same materials but might not have thought about them as much as you have or in the same way that you did, and enjoy sharing your ideas. On the nitty-gritty end of things, remember to include a title that reflects what you’re writing (it shouldn’t be able to apply to everyone’s post!), choose appropriate categories and tags (or add if you want a tag that isn’t there already), write at least 300 words, proofread, and publish! If there are links or media you want to include, please do.

Commenters: get ready! Everyone who isn’t writing a blog post will need to comment by 10:00am Monday, so make sure you’re ready with 100-150 words of insights and reactions to share with the class.

Feel free to comment on this post to ask questions or get clarification to understand this assignment better. I will answer, but feel free to answer questions for your classmates if you have the answer!


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