Project #1

So far this semester, we have examined short stories told in a variety of ways by different kinds of narrators. For our first assignment, we are going to use our creativity to retell one of these stories using a different kind of narrator. Additionally, we are going to write a short essay about the retelling that compares this new version to the original.

Part 1: Retelling

Choose one of the stories we have read so far this semester. Identify the narrative style used in that story, and choose a different style that you think would offer readers a different experience with the story. You will need to make decisions about what would change, and you will need to eliminate some details and add in new details. To do so, remain in the world of the story–that is, you can’t change the characteristics of any characters.

For example, you could switch from an omniscient narrator to a limited narrator, or to an autodiegetic narrator (we’ll add this term to our discussion of narrators). Or you might switch which character narrates. Consider what new limitations exist when you make that switch. This might change the thoughts or even the rooms the narrator has access to. Give your story an appropriate title.

You can retell either the entire story if it’s short enough, or you can choose a particular scene or series of scenes that make sense to retell. This portion of the assignment should be approximately 600-1200 words, or roughly 2-4 pages.

Part 2: Thinking about retelling

Imagine that we are collecting our new versions of these stories into an anthology. Attached to each story would be a short essay that provides the readers context for your story. This essay should compare the narration in the original version with the version you have written. The first paragraph of the essay should be the introduction, in which you introduce your topic and texts, and narrow your focus into a thesis statement. The thesis statement for your essay might be something along the lines of Although the original short story’s  XYZ narrator conveys 1, 2, and 3, this retelling uses an ABC narrator to highlight 4, 5, and 6. This is just a suggestion, but you might think about it as a model.

This essay should be approximately 900-1200 words (roughly 3-4 pages), must use quotations from both the original story and your retelling, and should make it clear to your classmates and anyone else reading the anthology the results of the narratorial choices you made. We will actually collect these texts electronically and make our anthology available on the OpenLab, so make sure you include work you are proud of–that means that it shouldn’t be something you write in one sitting and submit without revising, editing, and especially rereading!

Schedule (updated):

Part 1  draft due: M 3/9

Part 2 draft due: M 3/16

Parts 1 and 2 final versions and reflection due : W 3/18

Stories available for Project #1:

Questions? Feel free to ask them here using the comment section below.

9 thoughts on “Project #1”

  1. It’s just one of my ideas but one concept I have is to remake The Story of An Hour into sort of a first person narrative in the view of Mrs.Mallard. I’d like to keep the environmental setting details and turn the third person omniscient wording of her views into a newer, first person form. So pretty much, I want to dig into her mind and put it into exact words. As for pt2, I plan to compare the third person view to that of the first person view. For example, I’d reword the time where Mrs. Mallard was in her own world and context that to the actual third person version. This is just a concept for now and I don’t know if it’s clear or not but yeah, this is what I pretty much have as a starting plan.

    1. This sounds like a good plan to me. Remember that what we have in “The Story of an Hour” is probably more of a third-person limited narrator, with Mrs. Mallard as the only character the narrator has access to. In the scope of your project, though, that difference won’t be significant, since you’ll also be focusing on the interior thoughts of Mrs. Mallard. You might start by outlining the story revision and then the comparison, so that you make sure you have material for the comparison. I’m happy to answer other questions for you as well, or to meet with you in my office.

  2. So, I will be practically writing an essay with a thesis statement for part two of the project? Will the essay emphasize on a particular part of the story I retold?

    1. For Part 2, you will focus on how the narration in your version compares to the narration in the original version. We can talk further about how to structure the comparison. You will need to be specific, so it will emphasize particular parts of your retelling, but probably more than one particular part, as a good comparison will draw from a few different aspects of the retelling to put it in contrast to the original version. If you have additional questions, feel free to ask them here or come to my office to talk further.

  3. I am leaning towards using Tobe, the servant as a
    first-person narrator in the retelling of “A Rose for Emily.” For part 2 it will be interesting to compare how much we know about Miss Emily, her family and her emotions according to Tobe. I believe Tobe will have more insight than the member of the town who originally narrated the events.

  4. “The Story of an Hour” = 3rd person limited
    “A Jury of Her Peers” = 3rd person limited
    “A Rose for Emily” = 1st person plural
    “Young Goodman Brown” = 3rd person limited? objective?

  5. Retelling A Rose ForEmily -3rd Person Omniscient

    WHEN Emily Grierson died, her whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old man-servant–a combined gardener and cook–had seen in at least ten years.
    It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been the best street. But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only her house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores. And now she had gone to join the representatives of those august names where they lay in the cedar-bemused cemetery among the ranked and anonymous graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who fell at the battle of Jefferson.
    Alive, she had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town, dating from that day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris, the mayor–he who fathered the edict that no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron-remitted her taxes, the dispensation dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity. Not that she would have accepted charity. Colonel Sartoris invented an involved tale to the effect that Miss Emily’s father had loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this way of repaying. Only a man of Colonel Sartoris’ generation and thought could have invented it, and only a woman could have believed it.
    When the next generation, with its more modern ideas, became mayors and aldermen, this arrangement created some little dissatisfaction. On the first of the year they mailed her a tax notice. February came, and there was no reply. They wrote her a formal letter, asking her to call at the sheriff’s office at her convenience. A week later the mayor wrote her himself, offering to call or to send his car for her, and received in reply a note on paper of an archaic shape, in a thin, flowing calligraphy in faded ink, to the effect that she no longer went out at all. The tax notice was also enclosed, without comment.
    They called a special meeting of the Board of Aldermen. A deputation waited upon her, knocked at the door through which no visitor had passed since she ceased giving china-painting lessons eight or ten years earlier. They were admitted by Tobe an old Negro into a dim hall from which a stairway mounted into still more shadow. It smelled of dust and disuse–a close, dank smell. Tobe led them into the parlor. It was furnished in heavy, leather-covered furniture. When Tobe opened the blinds of one window, they could see that the leather was cracked; and when they sat down, a faint dust rose sluggishly about their thighs, spinning with slow motes in the single sun-ray. On a tarnished gilt easel before the fireplace stood a crayon portrait of her father.
    They rose when she entered–a small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending to her waist and vanishing into her belt, leaning on an ebony cane with a tarnished gold head. Her skeleton was small and spare; perhaps that was why what would have been merely plumpness in another was obesity in her. She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough as they moved from one face to another while the visitors stated their errand.
    She did not ask them to sit. She just stood in the door and listened quietly until the spokesman came to a stumbling halt. Then they could hear the invisible watch ticking at the end of the gold chain.
    Her voice was dry and cold. “I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris explained it to me. Perhaps one of you can gain access to the city records and satisfy yourselves.”
    “But we have. We are the city authorities, Miss Emily. Didn’t you get a notice from the sheriff, signed by him?”
    “I received a paper, yes,” She said. “Perhaps he considers himself the sheriff . . . I have no taxes in Jefferson.”
    “But there is nothing on the books to show that, you see we must go by the–”
    “See Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson.”
    “But, Miss Emily–”
    “See Colonel Sartoris.” (Colonel Sartoris had been dead almost ten years.) “I have no taxes in Jefferson. Tobe!” Tobe appeared. “Show these gentlemen out.”

  6. Project#1
    Retelling of the story “A Rose for Emily” in First person narrator
    Two Men in My Life
    I am Emily and I live in a small town where my father has influent in old generation and he is also influent my life when I was in younger age by not allowing any young men in town to approach me. Because of him, many town people in the community believe I am pride and stubbornness. Some saw me as very distant person and living in the past. I believe I am a very strong person never change my mind and give up what I want to do.
    I loved my father because he was the only man that I met in life until he died and at the same time I hated him so much for bringing me up so lonely and not thinking long enough for my future if he was unable to accompany me one day . He believes that none of the young men were quite good enough to me. Now, I am all alone by myself in this old house with nothing left. How should I do with this big old house with no one to talk to? The complex feeling of love and hatred to my father strike me so hard that caused me sick for a longtime after his death. Although I have two cousins in Alabama, we were not too close due to the estate of my great aunt when my father was alive. Furthermore, they didn’t even show up at my father’s funeral and I am not close enough to them to talk about my feelings. The fears, the loneliness and sleepless night cause me sick for a long time but I do not want the town people to see my weakness since my family has a reputation in town and I don’t want people take advantage on me since I am alone and I have to protect the dignity of my family’s tradition and myself.
    I met him in the summer after my father’s death. His name was Homer Barron. He was a Yankee–big, dark skinned with a loud voice. He was a construction foreman who came to the town with the construction company for pavement of the town sidewalks. After I met him, I felt myself like a different person and the most enjoyable time of my life. The most memorable time for me was spending the time with him on Sunday afternoon driving in the yellow-wheeled buggy around the town despite of the gossip of the town people and the warning of the minister that I made a bad example to the young people. He also gave me the type of joy that I ever had and I was dreaming and planning of the upcoming my wedding.
    After the street sidewalk construction have finished, I thought he gave me opportunity to ask my two female cousins to leave the house and he will be back within a couple days for preparing our wedding. He did back in town after three days my cousins left.
    All my dreams and happiness were not last for too long when he said to me that he cannot marry me. He said he enjoys drinking with young men in the Club and he was not the type of marrying person. He is the man that I love most in my life after my father. I hate him as if I never met him in my life and at the same time I don’t want to lose him forever. I must decide to do something so he will with me the rest of my life whether dead or alive. I went to the drug store to buy the best available poison. The local law requires buyer to tell for which purpose use, but I don’t want to answer and just said give me the arsenic then I saw “for rats” on the package.
    I have prepared one room above the stair for our wedding. Inside the room, everything was set up for bridal including rose color curtains, rose-shaded lights, dressing table, man’s toilet silver sets, men’s outfit clothing including the nightshirt. I want the man I love to lay on my wedding bed for ever. I will have opportunity to fulfill my wishes to sleep next to him who is alive or not. Since my health gets deteriorating, I know I will not live longer soon. I will leave unanswered question as question mark for the poison that I bought and the corpse that people will find in one room of my house after I die because I don’t like to admit that I committed the crime.

    1. Good Afternoon Christina,

      I found it interesting how you changed the narration from third person narration to first person narration. It helped to know the different thoughts of the main character seeing that the original version was very vague when it came to the main characters thoughts and feelings. I also think that you should look over the grammatical component of your writing. There were quite a few of those grammatical errors in the first paragraph making it slightly hard to understand what you were trying to say. For example you stated “I am Emily and I live in a small town where my father has influent in old generation and he is also influent my life when I was in younger age by not allowing any young men in town to approach me”. Instead of the word “influent” you should have used the word “influenced” However, there is still other grammatical errors in this sentence that need revision. Also the transition to paragraph three was as if you jumped into it. There seems to be missing parts and readers who maybe haven’t read the story may not be able to understand. The structure of the writing also needs to be more organized. I know you are trying to condense the story, but again someone who may not have read the story wouldn’t be able to understand or follow. Also review the ending of your retelling because its slightly unclear. Other than that I liked your point of view and after revision it will be a great assignment.

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Principles of Narrative