Short stories can be said to resemble novels. In their simplest forms, both are works of fiction. However, it is often true that short stories usually tell much less than novels do. They demand that you understand and evaluate characters, events, and situations on the basis of fewer details and events. As a result, short stories are more similar to poems in that they rely on saying more in fewer words and expecting their reader to make meaning with more compact and limited words.

In discussing the reading process, focused use of language, imagery, setting, and Point-of-view can make the experience of reading intense. Furthermore, you may end up considering important human issues as you try to interpret the “glimpses” of life each story provides. Finally, because short stories often “tell less rather than more,” they offer you much to think about as you proceed to write about them.

For this week, we are reading the following short stories:

  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • Battle Royal by Ralph Ellison
  • The Gift of Sweat by Rebecca Brown

Assignments:

Once you have read the three short story, write your reaction to them off the top of your head, spending at least 10 minutes on each story.  Note any personal experience affecting your response as well as one or more questions that you have about the story even after you have finished reading it.  Remember that question-posing is a good way to prepare for a formal paper on the story, enabling you to identify issues worth writing about at length.