LIT 2010: paper. 7-8 pages. First draft and revised final draft due 12/9.
This is an argument-driven essay. According to WAC guidelines, the essay should “build a case
for a particular analysis, interpretation, or evaluation of data that leads to…specific
conclusions.” Discuss three stories from our syllabus. Do not use outside research. The
essay should be double spaced, with one-inch margins. Select your own topic (subject to my
approval) or select one of the following:
**Discuss the distinctions between realistic stories (eg, Cheever’s “The Five-Forty-Eight”) and
experimental stories (eg, Coover’s “The Babysitter”). Present an argument that explains how
realistic stories differ from experimental stories–in terms of, for instance, plot, structure, style,
**Explain how plot functions in short fiction. Present an argument that examines the
distinctions among various kinds of plots–such as the linear (eg, “Taste”), the “frame” narrative
(eg, “The Tale”), and the minimal (eg, “A Very Short Story”).
**Examine depictions of the workplace.
**Examine depictions of death.
**Discuss the manipulation of time in short fiction. Explain how authors speed up, slow
down, or otherwise manipulate a reader’s perception of time.
**Discuss the use of non-fiction forms in fiction–from the business letter (eg, “I Can Speak”) to
the academic essay (eg, “Pierre Menard….”).
**Examine the evolution of war stories in the 20th century. Discuss any combination of three
wars–World War I (eg, “In Another Country”); World War II (“My Enemy’s Enemy”); the
Vietnam War (“Welcome to Saigon”); the Persian Gulf War (“My Favourite War”).
**Discuss the role of women in three war stories.
**Examine fictional depictions of real people (eg, Robert Kennedy), actual events (eg, the JFK
assassination), or existing works of literature or film (eg, Don Quixote).
**Discuss the uses of comedy, satire, or parody in short fiction.
**Discuss the presentation of film and television in works of short fiction.
**Discuss bodies of water–and/or the thematic significance of diving (“Forever Overhead”),
swimming (“The Swimmer”), and drowning (“Robert Kennedy Saved from Drowning”).