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Short Story Discussion Questions Essay

Write a journal entry discussing one moment that you did something for/to someone that made you proud. Write another moment that you did something for/to someone that made you ashamed.

1. Briefly examine why you believe the author chose to create these characters, to have them perform these actions, to tell their tales from this particular point of view.

2. Examine your own views on the end result of the short story. What values or feelings in you are invoked?

3. What things seem important to the characters in this story?

4. What mood are we in at the end of the story?

5. Judging from the opposition of the story, we can ask what aspects of human life the author seems to consider important. Briefly discuss the following statement:

How as readers can we not escape the symbolic import of the action, nor escape the contrasting vision each story creates concerning human nature. (hint: use the literary analysis definitions to help guide your answer).

“The Rocking Horse” by D.H. Lawrence

1. Identify examples of personification found in the story.

2. Characterize the mother. Discuss how she is both a good and bad mother using specific examples from the text.

3. Who took advantage of the boy and what role did they have in his downfall?

4. The idea of ‘luck’ is emphasized in this story. Create a t-chart demonstrating who has good luch and bad luck. Use evidence to support your decisions.

5. How do you believe the mother will react to the loss of her son and the money she will receive?

“The Painted Door” by Sinclair Ross

1. Describe the setting of the story. How is it important to the overall story? Sometimes to create mood and atmosphere a writer will use repetition. How has Sinclair Ross used this device in “The Painted Door”?

2. What can the painted door symbolize?

3. Identify an example of irony in the short story.

4. What shocking realization does Ann come to at the end of the story?

5. What does light symbolize in the story?

“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner

1. Reconstruct the time and place of the story. Although there are questions about the timeline (we only know that her taxes were remitted in 1894), Emily’s youth is identified with the time and ideals of the pre-war Confederate South. Consider also that the story takes place in Jefferson, a small town in Faulkner’s fictional Yoknapatawpha County in Mississippi, which goes through a great deal of change in this time, leaving behind but still claiming to value the Old South. 2. Are there any passages or aspects of the story which leave you confused or which seem irrelevant to the plot? Are you reminded of any other stories you have read or seen on film or television? 3. At what points did you notice any foreshadowing of the ending? Did the story prepare you to expect something different from Miss Emily? 4. This story is told by “we”: who do you imagine this narrator (or narrators) to be? Young or old? Male or female? Both? What is their attitude toward Emily? How is this represented by their calling her “Miss Emily”? What do they remember about her? How does this shape your attitude toward her? Do you find yourself sympathizing with her situation as the center of the town’s attention (and gossip)? 5. Women of the Old South and of a “good family” were often put on pedestals as paragons of virtue and respectability and given special treatment as “ladies.” How do you see these attitudes at work in this story? How have they shaped Miss Emily’s life and how people view her? Why is she called a “fallen monument” in the first paragraph? 6. What does the title tell you about the story? Why is it not called “A Rose for Miss Emily”? “Celebration” by W.D. Valgardson

1. What is the purpose of the opening scene between Eric and Mabel in the kitchen? What kind of people are they? Why do you think they stayed together for 10 years? Why did Mabel finally decide to get the wood herself?

2. Why did Eric lock the door? Do you think he ever intended to kill Mabel? Explain. Why did he finally let her in?

3. What further insights into Mabel ‘s character do we get from her experiences outside the cabin?

4. Valgarson says that the children were Eric’s “particular pets.” Why then did he leave them in the cabin? What is his reaction when he finally realizes they are trapped by the blizzard? What might be the “single word” mentioned in the final sentence?

5. Do you think this incident will bring about a change in the relationship between Eric and Mabel? Explain.

6. To what extent does the author sympathize with either of the main characters?

7. Does the title of this story have more than one meaning? Discuss.

8. What are the advantages for this story in having an omniscient narrator?


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