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Select one of the stories that we have read so far in the class for your paper. Before you begin writing, I suggest that you review the readings in your text on writing about literature. Before you begin writing, I suggest that you review the readings in your text on writing about literature. You may also find this section from the Purdue OWL helpful: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/618/01/ (Links to an external site.)Your paper is an explication and analysis of the story, not a simple summary of the events in the text.First, develop a thesis that clearly states your interpretation of the story you have chosen. Then provide a thorough explication that illuminates how the evidence in the text supports that thesis. As part of your explication, select one aspect of a story from our text, and write an analysis of how that element of the story works to convey meaning, support the understanding of a character, or emphasize theme. You might consider a literary element or technique such as setting, characterization, or symbolism in the stories we’ve read so far. You may choose any story that we have read in the first part of the course. However, you should not merely parrot a discussion we have already had during a class session. The intent of this assignment is to get you to think carefully and independently about a very specific aspect of how stories work – and then convey that thinking and understanding to your reader.Remember to create a clear thesis. Remember to focus narrowly on one aspect or element of the story in your analysis. Remember to explain yourself fully and to illustrate with quotes and references from the story. This is an explication and analysis only, so focus on the text itself rather than outside research.Remember also that your purpose is not to summarize the story.Length: At least 3 full pages.Format: MLA. You should include proper citation to our text at the end of the paper.Also, please note that I can only accept your assignment submitted in the dropbox as a Microsoft Word compatible file attachment.
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Week 1
This week, we are discussing Kate Chopin (Links to an external site.)’s “The Story of an Hour
(Links to an external site.)” and “The Storm (Links to an external site.).”
Consider how the author use symbolism and irony.
One of the first moments of Chopin’s “The Story of An Hour, “in which Mrs. Mallard is different
from other women, is a hint of a different mind. The comfortable chair symbolized the liberation
of the imposed control of consciousness that Mrs. Mallard had hidden in her mind for so
long. The vibrant scenery outside the window and her sniffles meant that she would gain spiritual
freedom and genuine sadness at the loss of her husband. Ironically, when she was filled with the
excitement of being free and the beautiful vision of her future life and wanted to embrace her
sister, she found in such great joy that her husband was not dead, and her life was still
unchanged. Her most unexpected death came in such extreme joy and despair.
The story of The Storm, the arrival of the storm, causes many events and emotions to ferment.Mr.
Calixta’s unbuttoning of her shirt in the sweltering heat before the wind was a foretaste. The
description of the storm after Alce enters the room is a symbol of the memories that both of
them have turned inward, and it hints their subsequent impulses. Entry into the living room and a
description of Calixta’s bedroom symbolize her troubled marriage to her husband, her financial
situation, and her excessive concern for her children. The haziness of the old white bed with the
closed windows, which deliberately described, is almost subtle but sensitive and gives one a
sense of eroticism. Ironically, after the storm, the gentle rain and Calixta’s delight in the affair
gave both families a long-awaited pleasure, as if it were a moment of respite. But perhaps a more
significant storm awaits them.
Week 2
In week 2 (8/17 – 8/23), we will discuss Jack London (Links to an external site.) “To Build a Fire
(Links to an external site.)” and Ernest Hemingway (Links to an external site.) “A Clean,
Well-Lighted Place (Links to an external site.).” Pay careful attention to setting (Links to an
external site.) in both stories and to the use of dialogue (Links to an external site.) in
Hemingway’s writing.
Jack London “To Build a Fire” takes place on the main road of the frozen Yukon River. The frosted
white world, the biting cold, the dark sunless sky, and the thin lines of the main road all reflect
the power of nature and the cruelty of the environment. However, the man’s disdain for nature
and his desire to challenge the tavern man eventually left the arrogant man in the white field.
The man depicted by the author is a microcosm of the social environment at that time. The
struggle of the people at the bottom, the pursuit of the life of the upper class, the environmental
destruction brought by industrial development, and the contempt for nature are all that the
author wants to show the readers from this man.
The conversation in “A bright, well-lighted took place” in a cafe at midnight. The bar was clean, all
except for an older man who tried to kill himself last week, having a drink. Although the
environment was pleasant, the older man was lonely and sad. The old waiter felt sorry for him,
but the young waiter did not care. By describing the contrast between people and the
environment, Hemingway lets readers think the social status quo at that time. The fantasy life
makes people feel the happiness of nothingness, while in reality, people are struggling, the
loneliness of life is empty, and despair depresses people. Through this story, the author shows
readers the life of people after the war, and also expresses the longing for a bright and hopeful
life.
Week 3
John Updike (Links to an external site.) “A&P (Links to an external site.)” and Sherman Alexie
(Links to an external site.) “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona (Links to an external
site.)”
These two stories are very much “coming of age (Links to an external site.)” stories. What does
that mean? What do these protagonists learn along their journeys?
A&P
The first part of the novel contains a lengthy description of the three girls and the supermarket.
The stories are not at first cheerful, or rather dull, and sexually suggestive. In the end, Sammy’s
decision to quit was not just a spur of the moment, to act as a hero in front of the girls, but more
like the outburst of the long, boring, and depressing endurance in the cashier’s post. In Sammy’s
psychological activity in the novel, he realizes that he should make a stand on this matter, which
implies that he has had the idea of resignation before. In the end, he walked out with ease. He
knew that this reality was ruthless. He needed to survive and was also afraid, but he was still
happy with his decision and had expectations for the future in his heart instead of looking like the
cash register’s soulless.
This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona
Victor and Thomas had been best friends as children, but as adults, they had become opposites.
The death of his father reunites Victor with his childhood friend. A phoenix means to rise from
the ashes. Victor’s journey was also a rebirth. He recalled his childhood with Thomas, who had
also been a dreamer. But this journey with Thomas made him realize that he had lost his dream
long ago, became ordinary, and was struggling. Now he has the direction and motivation to move
forward again, and he has made peace with his past self, and his father’s memories become vivid.
Although they will not be friends, some things are actually like a seed, after planting, will sprout
in the heart. He may not be a dreamer like Thomas, but he has also learned that nothing stands
still, and everything goes on.

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