Wrapping up “A Hunger Artist” and other Short Fiction

As we have now addressed all of the readings in this section of our syllabus, we can finish any remaining conversations and begin our preparation for the midterm exam. Posts due on Tuesday at 12:00pm and comments for Wednesday at 10am can reflect on the materials we have covered. Here are some thoughts for these posts:

  • We usually identify the narrator for each story. We didn’t for “A Hunger Artist”–so in a post, decide what type of narrator tells the story, and use quotations from the story to support your claim.
  • “A Hunger Artist” can be read as an allegory. What is an allegory, and what allegory do you see in this story specifically?
  • When we read “A Hunger Artist,” do we believe someone could fast in the way the protagonist does? If not, what do we do about its un-reality? Is this an instance in which we invoke a suspension of disbelief? What does that mean? You might compare this to other stories from our reading that aren’t as linked to reality as our real lives are. For example, how does the loose connection to reality relate to something like “Cinderella” in one version or another? Are there any other stories you’d consider for comparison?
  • More generally, are there two stories that you think speak to each other, and if so, what is that point of conversation? Include quotations from both to show why it’s helpful to talk about the two stories together.

Our midterm can include any of the stories we read, not just the ones in the public domain. Project #1, though, is only about the stories in the public domain (starting with “The Story of an Hour”).

For Wednesday’s class, we’ll spend a little time doing a peer review for Project #1. I have asked everyone to bring a draft (in whatever shape it’s in) of Part 1, and an outline (including a thesis statement) of Part 2. The goal will be to share ideas with others writing about the same story to get feedback about how to structure the comparison.

We’ll also have a lively review for the midterm exam, where we will brainstorm questions that will be on the midterm. Come prepared: bring your texts, re-read them, mark them up more, and be ready to think about connections and themes.

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