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Women's Health and Well-being in the Short Stories of Gilman and Chopin



For this Assignment, you take on the role of a literary critic. The job of the critic is to read, question, and dissect the technical and substantive elements of a work of literature to gauge quality, effectiveness, and ability to convey information. Imagine, for the sake of this activity, that you are writing an article for a literary magazine on the short stories of two notable female authors. Your article provides an evaluation of each story’s ability to convey perspective on women’s health and well-being. To prepare for this Assignment: Review characteristics of a short story in the “Glossary of Terms and Techniques for Literature and Creative Writing” document located in this week’s Learning Resources. Define health and well-being. Do these terms have different meanings to different people? Compare and contrast depictions of physical and psychological health and well-being in the stories of Gilman and Chopin. Consider how the authors convey their perspectives on health and well-being. The Assignment: Write a 2-page analysis of Gilman’s and Chopin’s works on women’s experiences of physical and psychological health and well-being. Explain how your own definition of health and well-being can be applied to each piece. Note: Do not write a biography of Gilman’s or Chopin’s personal experiences. Instead, write an analysis of their writing using the techniques you have practiced in previous weeks. Evaluate the effectiveness of the use of literary techniques in each author’s story.

Glossary of Terms and Techniques for Literature and Creative Writing

literary analyses deal with theme, even if the analysis focuses on the methods by which that theme is conveyed.
Plot: The series of events that occurs within the work. Structure: A divisions, stanza and line breaks, repeated images, patterns of meter and rhyme, and other elements that create discernable patterns. (See also image, meter, rhyme, and stanza.) Setting: The time and place in which events unfold. Character: An individual within a poem, play, story, or novel. Characterization: The way an author develops an individual in the work. Conflict: A struggle between individuals, between an individual and some social or environmental force, or within an individual. Climax: The most dramatic point in the action, usually near the end of a workand usually involving the resolution of conflict.

Foreshadowing: Hints, within the work, of events to come.

Narrator or speaker: The individual in the work who relates the story. The narrator is not the same as the author. Point of view: The perspective from which a story is told. In the first-person (I) point of view, the narrator tells the story as he or she experienced it. The first- person narrator either participates in or observes the action. In the third-personpoint of view, the narrator tells the story the way someone else experienced it. The third-person narrator is not involved in the action. He or she may simply report outwardly observable behavior or events, enter the mind of only one character or the minds of several characters. Such a third-person narrator may be omniscient (all-knowing) or have only limited knowledge of characters and events.

Irony: A discrepancy or incongruity of some kind. Verbal irony, which is often tongue-in-cheek, involves a discrepancy between the literal words and what is. You received the insulting, it qualifies as sarcasm (Congratulatdramatic irony, the discrepancy is between what the speaker says and what the author means or what the audience knows. The wider the gap between the  and values, the more ironic the point of view. Satire: Ridicule (either harsh or gentle) of vice or folly, with the purpose of developing awareness, even bringing about reform.

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