Why read literature?

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Read the following short stories:
● Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”
● William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”
● John Updike’s “A&P”
● Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing”
● Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”
Next, write a 1,200 word essay nominating as “best” one short-short story from the list of short stories
that you read this week and also fill out the uploaded tutorial worksheet.

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).
You will also need to use no fewer than THREE scholarly sources to support and develop your ideas.
Ideally, these sources will come from the EBSCO database. As always, be sure to use in-text citations
AND a Reference page.
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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