Choose one of the stories to write on
Study Questions for Final In-Class Essay Next week, you will be asked to write an insightful, narrowly focused, well-developed, well- organized, well-edited essay. You will be able to use your notes, as well as the story itself (printed out), dictionary, and/or thesaurus. For your essay, you will write about ONE of the following stories, which I will email to you. You will need to print one of them out, when you decide which one to write on: Margaret Atwood's “Death by Landscape": An older woman reflects back on a traumatic event when her childhood friend disappeared. Richard Ford's “Communist": A teenage boy is taken hunting by his mother's estranged boyfriend. Mike Meginnis' “Navigators": A father and son bond over an unusual video game... Stacey Richter's “The Cavemen in the Hedges": A young couple are in conflict over their relationship-all while their town is invaded by actual cavemen (cavepeople?). • George Saunders' "Sticks": This story is two paragraphs long. Perfect for this holiday season. You may prepare for the in-class final by considering the following questions: Did you notice any significant repetitions in the story? What is the deeper meaning/significance of a particular repetition? How does it help add to the meaning/significance of the story as a whole? Did you notice any significant strands in the story? What is the deeper meaning/significance of a particular strand? How does it help add to the meaning/significance of the story as a whole? Did you notice any significant binaries in the story? What is the deeper meaning/significance of a particular binary? How does it help add to the meaning/significance of the story as a whole? ?Pick one significant passage?and be prepared to explicate it (like essay #1). What are the deeper underlying meanings of individual words/phrases in the passage? What does the passage reveal about character, setting, symbol, etc.? What repetitions, strands, binaries, anomalies, etc., do notice? How/why is the passage significant to the work as a whole? What is the meaning/message/argument the story is trying to send or make? Why do you think the author is telling us this story (about family, about relationships, about parents and children, about coming of age)? Why should we study literature? Or should we? Does it (or can it) have any impact on our lives? Does it teach us anything important? Is it useful? What “message" does a particular story send, and how is it useful (or not)? Do you particularly relate to the story? In what ways did you identify with characters, situations, etc. Why? Did the story challenge your beliefs, making you consider a new and different perspective (on a particular issue or experience or on life in general)? At this point, these are just some brainstorming questions to consider. Take notes, pick out key passages, think about your interpretations, jot down outlines. I won't give you the actual essay question until the day of the final, but it will come directly from the questions on this list.