Foreword to the Student video interview with the authors available online @ xxx
CHAPTER 1: READING A STORY IN ITS ELEMENTS
CHAPTER 2: GOING FURTHER : An Interactive ReadingAn Interactive Reading: Anton Chekhov, Rapture, translated by Patrick Miles and Harvey PitcherA young Russian man discovers alcohol, and the world discovers him. A Student Critical ResponseA Conversation on Writing with the Richard Ford, video interview available online @ xxxRichard Ford, OptimistsA Montana family at the table, the father strikes a terrible blow against the future. A Conversation on Writing with Amy Tan, video interview available online @ xxxAmy Tan, Two Kinds A young Asian-American woman in San Francisco wrestles with her identity.
CHAPTER 3: WRITING ABOUT FICTIONA Conversation on Writing with Jamaica Kincaid, video interview available online @ xxxJamaica Kincaid, GirlAn island girl’s mother talks and talks—but does the girl listen? A Student’s Critical Analysis Paper on Girl (three drafts)
CHAPTER 4: PLOT A Conversation on Writing with T. Coraghessan Boyle, video interview available online @ xxx T. Coraghessan Boyle, Greasy Lake A place we’ve all visited, some never to return. James Joyce, Araby A young Dublin boy’s quest to please a girl changes his life.Naguib Mahfouz, The Conjurer Made Off with the Dish, translated by Denys Johnson-DaviesHis mother sends him into the streets of Cairo with a dish to fill with beans…and a meeting with a street magician knocks him off course. Pramoedya Ananta Toer, CircumcisionAn old religious custom alters the way one young Indonesian Muslim sees the world. A Checklist: Reading for PlotSuggestions for Writing about Plot
CHAPTER 5: CHARACTER A Conversation on Writing with Gish Jen, video interview available online @ xxxGish Jen, Who’s Irish?An immigrant mother turns her family, and her own life, inside out. Katherine Anne Porter, The Jilting of Granny WeatherallA dying old woman relives her most memorable hour and days. Willa Cather, Paul’s CaseSome money from the till, and a train ticket out of Pittsburgh to New York City make for a striving young man quite a dangerous escapade. Jack London, A Wicked Woman Loretta thought she was a wicked wicked woman, but did the world agree?A Checklist: Reading for CharacterSuggestions for Writing about Character
CHAPTER 6: SETTING A Conversation on Writing with Barry Lopez, video interview available online @ xxxBarry Lopez, The Location of the RiverA modern westerner meets the strange truths of old maps and ancient traditions. Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher The cursed relationship of a brother and sister brings down the house.Eudora Welty, Why I Live at the P.O.Before TV sitcoms, there was Sister’s family down in Mississippi. Bernard Malamud, The Magic Barrel How to arrange love in immigrant New York—with complications a young fellow hadn’t figured on. A Checklist: Reading for SettingSuggestions for Writing about Setting
CHAPTER 7: POINT OF VIEWA Conversation on Writing with Z. Z. Packer, video interview available online @ xxxZ. Z. Packer, BrowniesA troop of young black girls find togethernes and estrangement in the world of camps and badges. Ernest Hemingway, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber An African safari yields dangerous results for animals and their hunters. Lorrie Moore, How to Become a Writer Or, Have You Earned This Cliché?Instructions on how to write, and how to live with what you write—a comedy of typing.Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper Diary of a woman confined to her room on rest cure—but is she alone? A Checklist: Reading for Point of ViewSuggestions for Writing about Point of View
CHAPTER 8: LANGUAGE, TONE, AND STYLEA Conversation on Writing with Aimee Bender, video interview available online @ xxx Aimee Bender, The RemembererLove alters not—though the beloved changes, and changes, and changes. Thomas Wolfe, Only the Dead Know BrooklynA trip into the subway, and the world of urban mythology, all of it wid a Brooklin aksent…Ha Jin, SaboteurThe Chius take a honeymoon trip to a provincial Chinese town, and an incident turns honey to ashes. Junot Diaz, How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or HalfieHow to solve a wonderful multicultural dilemma for a young multicultural guy.A Checklist: Reading for Language, Tone, and StyleSuggestions for Writing about Language, Tone, and Style
CHAPTER 9: THEMEA Conversation on Writing with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, video interview available online @ xxx Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Cell OneHer brother gets arrested, and the family erupts, and a young Nigerian girl learns some new truths. Stephen Crane, The Open Boat Four men against the sea, in an adventure off the coast of Florida. D. H. Lawrence, The Odour of Chrysanthemums The news is not good in a small English coal-mining town as mother and son wrestle with a terrible event. Jhumpa Lahiri, The Interpreter of Maladies A clash of cultures in the Indian countryside, attended by monkeys. A Checklist: Reading for ThemeSuggestions for Writing about Theme
CHAPTER 10: SYMBOL A Conversation on Writing with Tim O’Brien, video interview available online @ xxxTim O’Brien, The Things They Carried On patrol in the jungles of Vietnam, bearing the burden of the past and the terrors of the future…Elizabeth Tallent, No One’s a MysteryThe end of her first love affair, over the speed limit, and under the age limit, in Wyoming…Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman BrownIn old New England, the dark woods at night prove to be filled with dangers and temptations.Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis Gregor wakes up one morning to discover he’s been transformed into an insect. What’s worse—he’s late for work! A Checklist: Reading for SymbolSuggestions for Writing about Symbol
CHAPTER 11: FICTION AS SOCIAL COMMENTARY: A Case Study on Joyce Carol Oates A Conversation on Writing with Joyce Carol Oates, video interview available online @ xxx Three Girls Is that…? Could it be…? Some girls at a used book store in NYC have a special celebrity sighting…Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? A teenage girl is courted by the worst possible suitor. Getting Started: A Research ProjectFurther suggestions for Writing and ResearchSome Sources for Research
CHAPTER 12: AMERICAN REGIONALISM AND SENSE OF PLACE:
Two Case Studies
THE AMERICAN WEST A Conversation on Writing with William Kittredge, video interview available online @ xxxWilliam Kittredge, Thirty-Four Seasons of Winter Two Montana brothers, and thirty-four years of work, fights, and thwarted love. A Conversation on Writing with Dagoberto Gilb, video interview available online @ xxxDagoberto Gilb, Romero’s Shirt For love of an old wool shirt, an El Paso man comes to terms with his difficult life. John Steinbeck, The Chrysanthemums When a visitor arrives to sharpen her knives, a California farm wife sharpens her understanding of herself and her marriage. Leslie Marmon Silko, The Man to Send Rain CloudsHow to bury an old Indian rain maker—with the help of the local priest or not?Sylvia Watanabe, Talking to the DeadOne generation of Hawaiians passes the knowledge to the next generation—but how to receive it?
THE AMERICAN SOUTHFlannery O’ConnorA Good Man Is Hard to Find Granny is trying to be a good woman, but how good do she or her family have to be to avoid death at the hands of the Kid and his gang? Revelation Insights into the Power and Glory of things come in the strangest places. William Faulkner A Rose for Emily A proud old woman, a small Mississippi town, and a terrible secret revealed. Barn Burning A father and son struggle about the question of a fire. Ralph EllisonBattle Royal This graduation day one black student discovers his hopes, and some awful truth about the powers that be. A Party Down at the Square A young visitor from Kentucky witnesses horror in a Southern town square.Getting Started: A Research ProjectFurther suggestions for Writing and ResearchSome Sources for Research
CHAPTER 13: VISUAL ARTS, FILM, AND FICTIONGareth Hinds, Beowulf: The Graphic Novel [Grendel’s Defeat]Beowulf [Grendel’s Approach and Demise], translated by CB Tinker Two Novel Adaptations:John Gardner, Grendel [Grendel’s first glimpse of Beowulf; Grendel’s demise] Michael Crichton, Eaters of the Dead [Ibn Fadlan’s first glimpse of Buliwyf; battle with the Wendol] Two Film Adaptations:The 13th Warrior (film stills of Grendel’s defeat)Beowulf: The Movie (film stills of Grendel’s defeat)Getting Started: A Research ProjectFurther suggestions for Writing and ResearchSome Sources for Research
CHAPTER 14: AN ANTHOLOGY Of STORIES FOR FURTHER READING A Conversation on Writing with Amy Hempel, video interview available online @ xxxAmy Hempel, San FranciscoWho has mama’s watch? A tumultuous wake after an earthquake of a death. Sherman Alexie, What You Pawn I Will Redeem An alcoholic street Indian rescues his grandmother’s dancing regalia—and himself—from near-certain oblivion. Margaret Atwood, Happy Endings How many happy endings can one story have?James Baldwin, Sonny’s BluesA black man from New York tries to be his musician brother’s keeper, but the brother won’t be kept. J.L. Borges, The Circular Ruins, translated by Anthony BonnerYou may be dreaming, but who is dreaming you? Raymond Carver, Cathedral A blind man leads a sighted man to new insights about life and love. Anton Chekhov, The Lady with the Pet Dog, translated by Avrahm YarmolinskyAdultery, and its aftermath, at a Russian sea-side resort. Zora Neale Hurston, The Gilded Six-BitsThe costs of a carefree life among black Georgia workers turn out to be more expensive than anyone thought. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World, translated by Gregory RabassaAn encounter with death leads a Columbian village to a celebration of life. Ursula K. Le Guin, The Kerastion She had made that instrument, the kerastion, the flute that is played only at a funeral. But can she hear its tune? Katherine Mansfield, Miss BrillEvery Sunday in the park, Miss Brill wears her fur—except an overheard remark makes this Sunday her last. Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street One man’s determined campaign to defy his employer, a city, and the world. Ana Menendez, Traveling MadnessA Cuban visionary takes off for the skies and his troubles balloon. R. K. Narayan, An Astrologer’s DayHe was as much a stranger to the stars as were his innocent customers, but one particular day his luck began to shine. Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, translated by Louise and Aylmer MaudeMatters of life and death, in old Russia, impinging on our own lives and time. Alice Walker, Everyday UseFor a Southern black country family, the times they are a-changing…but how much change does a family need?